There are some things that slip from this earth unnoticed and unremembered, lost until some sound or smell brings their memory back in vivid detail? That’s what happened last night when I tried to retrieve a favorite pen from behind the clothes drier. I climbed on top of the running drier and “Shazam ” I was transported back 40 years. Back to when motels offered rooms with “Magic Fingers” vibrating beds.
None of the snooty, five star hotels had this creepy luxury. Only classy “Norman Bates” motels with that buzzing, flickering neon “vacancy” sign had vibrating beds. The kind of hotel where a big greasy guy in a sleeveless tee shirt met you with your key. A real key, with a big plastic tag that displayed your room number. If you lost the key you might come back to the joy of finding some stranger in your room.
“Around back,” greasy man would grunt above the sound of the oscillating fan. This guy almost always lived in a spooky room behind the front desk. You could hear the TV and smell mushrooms or something.
Around back, the rooms themselves smelled like a combination of ashtray and Lysol. Whatever doubts you might have had about the quality of the motel were melted away when you saw that vibrator bed. You knew you were ‘uptown!’ On the nightstand was a box with a slot for a quarter.
Park yourself on that bed, slip a quarter in the slot and some machine under the bed would shake you into a stupor for fifteen minutes. I loved the sensation as your body was reduced to a useless puddle of flesh. Think Jabba the Hut, only melted.
Motels don’t offer the vibrating bed anymore so If you long to know this sensation, curl up on your clothes drier while it is running. It is best to do this when no one will walk in and question your sanity. If you are caught you can always claim that you are trying to retrieve a pen from behind the drier.
Back to my story. On one particular afternoon, I checked into a hotel, fell exhausted onto the bed, and shoved a quarter into the shake and bake. I could hear the soothing sound of vibration, but something was wrong. I couldn’t feel anything. I tried to lay down harder, a fruitless endeavor by the way. Still I felt nothing. The machine stopped and I found another quarter. I flopped around on the bed hoping to jump start the thing, I slapped the little box a couple of times. After four quarters I finally rolled onto the floor and looked under the bed. The entire vibrating apparatus had fallen from its mount and was merrily dancing on the floor by itself.
I was I was jerked back to the present by the sound of Diane’s voice. “Why are you curled up on the drier?” She sounded a bit frightened. “I’m trying to retrieve my pen,” I said. “It’s around back.”
Have you ever been transported back to remember things that no longer exist?
What are your memories of those old motels?
Does ANYBODY remember the vibrating beds?
Do you by any chance have a quarter I could borrow?