Ten hours later, I wake to the smell of crappy instant coffee drip drip dripping into the mildewy pot of the coffeemaker next to the TV. I take a deep breath in through my nose and am punished by the cheap crystals.
"Gaahhh," I grunt, disturbed at such a disturbing aroma.
"You up, babe?" you call from the bathroom, your voice nearly overpowered by the sound of the hairdryer.
"The crappy coffee? Is it the smell?"
"...gaahhh." I sit up at a ninety-degree angle and rub the sleep from my eyes and the stench from my nose. My feet plant themselves on the adjacent floor and the morning light throws sunshine into the room like a bucket on water on a campfire.
"Yuh wun suh cuffeh?" The toothbrush in your mouth would probably be more intelligible. You spit into the sink. "You want some coffee?"
"No thanks, babe." I stand up straight, hands on my side, embarking on a routine of mental calisthenics (physical ones don't belong in a Super 8).
"How'd you sleep?" you ask.
"Whew," I sigh, equal parts content and restless. "Like a narcoleptic log."
Your head peeks around the corner of the bathroom. Your hair is tied up in a towel hanging like a high-rise above your head. "That's good, right?"
"Yeah," I smile. "It was good."
I shuffle to the sink and grab my toothbrush, dropping a kiss on your neck and applying toothpaste.
"You have morning breath," you say.
"It's the morning."
You laugh like clouds. "It's eleven thirty."
"Eleven thirty...in the morning." I brush ten hours of sleep from my teeth and tongue and gargle.
"Do you want to go somewhere for breakfast or do you want to drive through somewhere?" I ask, mid-gargle.
"Where are we going?"
"Uh, somewhere with pancakes?"
"No," you laugh, "where are we going? Like, in the car."
"Oh." I rinse. "That."
"Do they have pancakes there?"
"Yeah," I say, taking off my pajamas pre-shower. "Bacon, too. Thick enough to use for corporal punishment."
"What if I want french toast?"
"Then baby, we'll get you some french toast."
"Yeah, but," you begin, your head cocked in mock skepticism, "what if they don't have french toast?"
"Then we'll fly some of those freedom-hating surrender monkeys to french it up for you." I kiss you on the cheek, leaving a small toothpaste print on your newly-scrubbed face.
"Aw, you got toothpaste on my face. And it's newly scrubbed!" You yank the towel from your head and shake your hair like a golden retriever that just got through the sprinklers.
"That," you say, "is revenge."
"Revenge I can handle," I tell you. "I'm gonna jump in the shower and then? Wagons west."
"West? Where are we going?"
"Darlin'," I say, stepping into the shower, "where's the only place west of western Nevada?"
"Are we going to California?" you say with a smile warm enough to make the desert beg for a glass of water.
"You've got such a big heart." I turn the knob for hot water. "Reno wouldn't be enough for you. Twenty minutes?"
"I'll be ready in eighteen." You skip to the room and I hear the TV turn on. Something daytime.
The shampoo/conditioner isn't all I was hoping it would be. It dries out my already dry hair and I can't tell how much of that is the bottom-of-the-barrel toiletries supplied by an establishment as classy as this or if it's the sand-magnified heat forcing its way through the glass window. But it doesn't matter.
Because we're going to San Francisco.
I'm finished in four minutes--I hurry because I can feel the hot water running out, which seems ironic, given the landscape--and I ruffle my hair dry. Throw on some clean shorts, big jeans (shoop, shoop ba-doop), and a plaid snap shirt (the only kind worth wearing when you're On The Road). When I step out of the bathroom, you've already got your bags slung over your shoulders.
"Back to the road?" you say with giddy anticipation.
I can't help but grin at thinking how beautiful your eyes will be when they catch the light of the beach.