The Tropicana

November 9, 2007

I totally stood you guys up yesterday. I promised a post, and I never delivered.

I'm feeling a lot like the absentee uncle who promised his seven little nephews a fishing trip to Florida, but pissed all of his money away on Bud Light and Marlboros. So instead, he takes them to a seedy local motel where they use dental floss and paperclips to fish for Orange Crush cans off the bottom of the pool.

How embarrassing.

Speaking of shady motels, we have one right behind our apartment complex--you can clearly see the florescent sign from our master bedroom window. It's called The Tropicana, everything about it is painted pastel pink, and for some reason, my friend Beth and I walk past it every single morning.

It's not like The Tropicana is on our way to anything--there are six-thousand and one routes we could take to avoid the hot-sheet dive--but every single morning, we strut by with our high-end strollers and casually assess the goings on.

Our next step is to start carrying binoculars.

We've seen a lot of typically trashtastic things at The Tropicana--old wood-paneled caravans held together with nothing but duct-tape and string, dollar-store thongs littering the street like Big Mac wrappers, and the obvious aftermath of a high school rager.

We've seen a variety of disgusting things at "The Pink Palace" as well. A raccoon hopping off the reception desk and scurrying out the front door of the lobby comes to mind.

And, of course, we've seen a lot of strange things, too. Like a prostitute dressed as a stereotypical librarian, a man driving off in a head-to-toe gorilla suit, and a maid exiting a room with a clear trash bag full of basketballs (?).

But yesterday morning, I saw the first thing that ever really bothered me at The Tropicana. It was two unsupervised children playing alone in the parking lot. They looked to be about nine or ten years old. One was a boy and one was a girl, and they were having a contest to see who could jump further off the trunk of a beaten-up purple Dodge Neon. The contest seemed to be pretty competitive, and the little girl had quite obviously inherited the majority of the jumping genes.

The fact that a parent or caretaker would leave two children alone in the parking lot of a pay-by-the-hour dive is nothing short of infuriating. At the very least, they're exposing those kids to the hustle and bustle of illegal and immoral activity. At the very most, they've inadvertently converted those children into unsuspecting, vulnerable, and friendly little targets.

I watched, as the man who owns the nursery next store waved the kids over and put them to work tossing overripe pumpkins and big, wilted mums into the nearby dumpster. They were excited to help, and I know he was relieved to have them out of harm's way.

As I walked down the street and began to head home, I felt grateful that the boy and the girl were safe for the next little while. But I couldn't help but wonder--if they were lured away so quickly with a pile of rotted-out pumpkins, how easy would it be to lure them away with candy bars or video games?

It's a really, really terrible thought.
(sorry for the doomsday post--but it's been on my mind)


Bahston Beans said...

Speaking of fond childhood memories, I posted my 7 fun facts and one features your fine self!

chattypatra said...

You are right to be outraged. I would have called Social Services, but that's probably because child abuse brings out The Hulk in me and I have a zero tolerance policy.
I'm sure that, had the pumpkin man not lured them away, you would have taken action. Now I *have* to Mapquest this place. Ha!

Also, you have inspired me to blog about a true incident from about 15 years ago. You'll see.

Oh, and you may be Mrs. Doomsday today, but I was Miss Gloomydoom on Tuesday, so we are even!

RunningCrazyAfter3 said...

Ugh, that is just beyond what I can even comprehend. There is a little dive bar that a friend of mine does happy hours on Fridays at and I was there with her one day with the owner walked in, while her 4 year old was LEFT IN THE CAR IN THE PARKING LOT....FOR OVER AN HOUR!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so disgusted that I won't even go back :X

chattypatra said...

runningcrazy...that reminds me of something I watched on TV the other night. MSNBC was doing one of those shows where they bust men who troll for young girls online. One of them showed up at the house where the police was busting the pedophiles and he brought HIS 5yr. OLD SON! It was disgusting! Ugh.

Heather said...

Egads. Unfortunately I have a similar story: one morning on my way to work I saw a women walking barefoot down a very busy road (with a sidewalk though). She had a baby in her arms that was probably 6-8 mos. old. It was about 50 degrees out, and the baby had a long sleeve sleeper. That's it. No coat, hat, gloves for the baby. No blanket. I'm pretty sure the woman was high on meth, she had few teeth and seemed to be grinning a lot and just seemed totally out of it. Here's the worst part: I did nothing. This haunts me.

Anonymous said...

all those stories make me SICK! That is terrible how some people treat there kids. *shake my head in a disgusted way*

P.O.M. said...

Ick. It sounds like a creepy scene from a movie. Not the kind of movies you watch, but the other kind.

Penny said...

The parents are morons. Irresponsible morons that should have the schnit kicked out of them. What is WRONG with people?? I just feel awful when I see children neglected in any way, no matter the degree. And it infuriates me to no end.

On a lighter note, congrats on the Blogger award! I wish you would have won the funniest blog award. There will be others to win!

Jess said...

Aw, too bad you had to mention the sad state of the neglected children at the end. I was enjoying myself thinking that maybe you and your hubby could use a night there -- you know, a little role playing?

Anonymous said...

That IS a scary thought! I used to be allowed to play alone outside in the city, but that was back in a time when things were safer. Eeek!

Michemily said...

That man should get the "It Takes A Village" award.