It was once known as the Aloha Surf Motel. I loved that sign, more so than the sun it saluted every morning. Everything about the way it was delicately styled – it was a common species amongst signs – on the motels and hotels along the highway. I always thought signage fonts were seriously fun and spoke of the atomic age. Futuristic, playful typography – dreams of the Jetsons. That’s what charmed me to move here all those years ago. It was an exciting time – exploration and discovery – the hospitality industry that throbbed coast with every summer storm. For me, cleaning rooms were like a perpetual holiday. I used to work at that little motel before the place had seen better days.
It was a swinging little joint in full plumage, clients would roll in, lured by the drum of the surf. Holden Kingswoods would be parked down the street – their boards on top – like some compelling advert selling a smooth brand of cigarettes. The guests came to be bludgeoned by the waves towards the stringy light and clambered out caked with sand, shearing off them like feral glitter – let me tell you plush pile carpets in a beachside motel is a dream only to soldier crabs. Blistered and luminescent, guests would stagger back, drunk on the sun only to dissolve on sandy mattresses. I once had Americans on the wave circuit tell me “Aloha” is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion and mercy – not the grindingly cheesy greeting I’d give to guests. They said there isn’t a word that comes close to it in English. If feelings for my forgotten and decrepit friend are true, I would believe that.