Abilene, KS

To my guidebook`s credit, it didn’t know that the motel it had recommended would be under renovation when I arrived. I drive up and find myself in the heart of a construction site. I get out of my car and ignore the looks. My license plates stick out like a sore thumb, especially in this little city and at this motel where it seems I`m one of the few guests. I check in and begin to unload my car when I finally glance around at the men working on the roof, the men gathered around their trucks, and the men BBQ-ing in a parking space. Not only am I the only guest (aside from the construction crew), I am also the only woman. I feel like the last sucker that fell from the pinata. I keep thinking of Dorothy when she lands in Oz and says to Toto that she doesn’t think they`re in Kansas any more, but it doesn’t seem to entirely apply here.

I hear a truck pull up behind me and a voice say, “You`re a long way from home, aren`t ya?” I don`t respond but then realize he`s not going to move on until I do. So I give him my bare, sweaty, expressionless face. “Howdy,” he says. He looks at me, I turn back around, he drives on, and I spend the rest of the night in my room.