The Shore point Inn motel stands just the way I would have imagined a motel to be, thanks to Hollywood. They don’t have motel like these anymore, Nick, the motel owner, told me later. It has a sort of, mini tower for a sign board full of neon. They don’t allow it anymore — the signs to be this big and the rooms to be in the layout that they are. Wide, spread across in a “U”, with ample parking in between. In fact, there’s a term for this — Its “Grandfathered”. The rules are exempted for certain situations and Nick’s motel qualifies for it. Well, looking at Nick, he qualifies for it too. At an ideal age for Grandfatherhood, he takes care of this place like a baby.
Sloppy planning and bad luck worked out together for me to land here, at the Shore point Inn. Some guy at American Express messed up my hotel reservation and the usual place here that accommodates people from my office in India was full so a colleague had to do this reservation for me here. He chose this place because he drove by it everyday to work. At a little past midnight, as I returned back to my room after my first meal in a foreign land, I met Nick outside his office, cherishing the misty cool midnight breeze. We ended up talking for about half an hour, subjects ranging from Jinnah to Secularism.
3 days and a few more insightful conversations later, Nick knocked on my door at almost 8, one evening. It was a sight I won’t ever forget and it was one of the most pleasant surprises ever — He stood there holding a what turned out to be a big slice of Fillet fish, sautéed with garlic and lemon in Olive oil on a Styrofoam plate. Trying his best to be unintrusive, Nick handed it over to me and told me that he had thought maybe I’d want to try something American (well, Greek actually, but now American since the cuisine here is multicultural anyway). He owed it to his roots in Greece, his parents who came here and made a life. So, a fisherman friend got him a good catch, one of the best of the season and a prized possession — A Striped Bass. Classic New York Fish, made up by a Greek gentleman and served a generous part of it to an Indian, who was probably a couple of generations younger to him but nevertheless, someone who’d appreciate the gesture.
A couple of days later, one of Nick’s helpers who happens to be a young man from Mexico, Nick himself and I — we got our hands dirty while doing cement work. The wooden fence’s bonds along the Motel boundary had to be strengthened, as the days to come could be very windy. He told me how important this seemingly simple activity was. There he was at it again, taking care of his Motel like his own baby, with his own hands.
When I left Shore Point, I told him that I would keep dropping by. He told me he could tell me the places to visit around here and what lanes to avoid in New York. Honestly, I don’t think I would be using that information much. Visiting places around here could just remain a dream. Especially for someone like me who doesn’t know driving and a pathetic public transport system like in here. But Sunday morning cement bonding work and Striped Bass, in any form, could be enough incentive for another visit.
My first few days in America. And bonds were built.