Let me tell you, my Salem trip for 2012 was one disaster after the other! I mean a disaster on top of a disaster on top of a disaster! I’m not making this up! It sucked, SUCKED from the first moment I stepped into my hotel in Salem! But I’ve gotten ahead of myself here. Let’s back up a bit. So here we go….
This trip has turned me into the bitter hag you see before you. I learned a lesson right away and that is to not fly out of Houston, Texas early on a Friday morning in October. Like I get to the airport, cool so far. There’s a pretty long line checking in but it’s moving right along. NO CHECK BAGGAGE FEE for me! Yay! Thank you United Credit Card! Continuing on, hoping for a uneventful Security experience but NO! They tell us to move along to another security area just up those stairs, down that corridor, up the escalator, turn to the right, take the elevator up 2 floors, turn right again and then make a left and walk for about 2 miles, then go through the glass doors – the ones marked with a big ass “B”, go down the hall to the left, board the tram, take a short ride across the ramp, disembark said tram but do it quickly, then enter the door in the middle on the left and then get in the line on the right and be sure to have your boarding pass and drivers license on the ready. I see that the line stretches all the way around the terminal and I get at the end of it and I stand there blinking. Can’t you just picture it? Hopefully, I stare forward, waiting my turn.
Why is Security so traumatic? I guess once you’re fully dressed, it’s a real pisser to have to take off shit that you’ve just put on. So here I am struggling to get shit off. I see a shoe fly over everyone’s heads over there, a belt is tossed up in the air across there, someone’s hair extension flips in the air like an olympic diver, 2 men are having a tug of war with a bag, another shoe flies, a tiny old lady is tossed this way and that! Oh my, poor dear. Whoa, you touch me, you die! EVERYTHING IN THE PLASTIC TUB EXCEPT USED TAMPONS. These should ALL be disposed of in the tiny restrooms on the airplane. Open laptop/camera bag. Take out said laptop. Ok, walk through. No, don’t walk! The bitch stands in front of me wagging her fingers at me. Ok, walk, no wait, wait! Well, for cripes sake! Ok, walk, WALK THROUGH! Whew, I made it. That was HARD! Suddenly I feel free – like liberated. Checking, barely enough time to get dressed and a pit stop. They are already calling the flight! Shit……. run! Ignore toilet paper stuck to shoe. Gawd, don’t you just hate that? Now entering the airplane, this plane is packed! I mean standing on the wing room only! This makes me uneasy. I get to my seat and see that someone is sitting there in my window seat and his lady is in the middle seat. Crap, I want my fucking window seat but with the airplane as packed as it is what with the people behind me waiting to be seated, I agree to take the aisle seat and he’s got my window. Not a happy camper at all. Now tell me this, why oh why do the people sitting next to the windows insist on keeping the shutters closed? I look around. Not one glimpse of the outside. Not one! The whole way! I love seeing the fall trees as we get close but this time I’m stuck watching “Dark Shadows” which I cannot hear a word of WITH the earphones. Is it my imagination but since United took over Continental, these airplanes really suck? The Captain must be sensitive about this and announces that United has bought new airplanes but we are NOT on one. No shit, boss. Oh dear, enter foul mood!
We finally land in Boston and I can’t get out of that airplane fast enough, but yes, everything is as a remember it. I can feel the dark clouds lift. I grab my bag and go outside and there’s my ride! Works every time! I like my driver. He takes me around the long way and through some of the towns that surround Salem. Gave me a good tour he did and it didn’t cost extra! It is SO beautiful here. Interestingly, Salem and the surrounding areas are literally cut from solid rock. It looks like rocky mountain tops that were somehow cut to allow for cities. I bet it’s ancient mountain tops and I bet they are really high and these cities sit on the tippy top of them. This area is surrounded by water, just imagine how tall these mountains are under the water. Freaky!
And now the trouble begins. The shit begins to fly. The shit hits the fan! The fur begins to fly. It’s a bad day at Black Rock! Ok, I’ll stop. You get the picture. Proceed…..
The first thing is that there’s a hint, just a hint mind you, that a monster storm called Hurricane Sandy may have been following me to the northeast. Aww, I ain’t scared. I’m going to Salem and that’s that! And I do and here I am. We roll up in front of the Salem Waterfront Hotel and with ghost tours dancing in my head, I get all my stuff and walk in. I’m glad to be here …… but that won’t last long!
HA! WHAT A TIME FOR AN INTERMISSION, HUH?
I approach the front desk and there’s this guy working there. He’s young, nice looking, cold, aloof, and he takes my American Express card and rings it up and announces that there’s not enough on the card to cover my whole stay at the hotel. What?! My whole stay? Yes, he says. I say to him that normally since I’ve already paid for one night deposit, the hotel doesn’t usually tally out the bill until at checkout. I’m completely prepared for that and I normally pay like that. He now informs me that that is not how it’s handled and I will need to cover the whole bill right now and we are $800 short. Well, I say I was expecting to use my payday in a few days to clear out the bill, so the $1,300 that’s on my American Express should fix things quite nicely until I check out. No, he says, we won’t be doing it that way and he just stands there looking at me. The next move is mine. So to say I was embarrassed is an understatement. I was very angry at this guy but I can’t just walk out like I want to. Finding a room in Salem during Halloween week is impossible! Now the very real idea of being homeless in Salem looms ahead of me. So I panic (always a solution) and begin pulling out my credit cards of which I was depending on for food and spending money. With each card chipping away at that $800, I still don’t quite make it. I’m sweating now and completely mortified and distraught. I do think this guy is enjoying watching me squirm before him. And then finally the girl that is working the front desk along side of him has had enough and she suggests calling the manager, who, the guy says is not in the hotel presently. She then suggests that he let me check in for the night and we could work it out in the morning. She’s fed-up with him and so am I! And then as I gather myself, face in a full red flush, the girl lamely tells the guy, “Oh, give her her Halloween Bag” and he grabs said bag from a pile of them behind him and hands it to me. I squeek, “Thank you” and creep away to the elevator like the low-life bitch that I am…..
By the time I get to my room, I’m fully mortified and hurt. I never expected something like that to happen. I’ve stayed here before, I’ve never had that problem. Not even at the Hawthorne Hotel, which I will be going back to now! I settle in my room and I get on the Internet to check my money and I realize that every credit card I gave to that guy now has a hold on it to be sure that the hotel gets it’s money. I now officially have NO MONEY while I’m here in Salem. I tried to use a card to pay for a tour and it was declined! I am in trouble, I begin to cry. What do I do? And they are going to want even more money in the morning. What the fuck am I going to do? Payday is not until next week! Oh, I’ve got myself into a fine mess. I can’t eat, take tours, I’ll be homeless…… 1600 miles from home and all alone……
And then I remember my tiny Las Vegas friend. The one I went to Las Vegas with. I swore to her that I would NEVER ask her for anything. She’s had so much loss in her life and I don’t want to affect her negatively in any way… but what can I do? So I pull myself together and call her. I’d rather have someone push pins under my fingernails than do this but I must. I explain my situation to her and she is very gracious and gives me her credit card number while I apologize profusely to her. I promise her that the credit card won’t be used, I’ll just give it to the hotel so they will shut the fuck up. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I run downstairs with the card number and give it to Sir Tight Ass and all is well with the world.
My other saving grace is my Wells Fargo account. Wells Fargo allows cash advances in emergencies and if this isn’t an emergency, then I don’t know what is. I get an advance and now I have some cash in my pocket. I love you Wells Fargo. You have saved me once again. My experience in Las Vegas is still very much with me and Wells Fargo was right there with me…… even at midnight! Thank you! And now there will be peace throughout the land…… well, sort of!
So you don’t know what happened in Las Vegas? Oh, you will, you will!
Okay now, can I get on with my vacation, huh? So now the tour is out but I am starving and it is Friday night in Salem. I pull myself together, stop crying, and go to my favorite pizza place in the Mall. Wow, it’s really crowded. I put in my order and sit and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and friggin’ wait! I notice the couple next to me waiting and I ask if they had been waiting long. They say, ya, about an hour. What? An hour? Sheeiitt. I’m hungry and really begin to worry here. Do you do that? You start to worry about getting your food and your whole world reduces down to just that one thought, will I ever get my food? You watch them, maybe that’s mine he’s working on over there. No, that went to those people. Well, they’re still working back there. No one is standing around doing nothing. Oh there maybe? No not mine. I look at my watch, man, this trip’s not going so well. I just want to eat my pizza. I look at the people next to me, they are still waiting. Why do we want others to suffer along with us? Somehow it makes us feel better. Wait, wait, waiting. Maybe I should leave. I’ve been here…… Oh! My number was called! Wow! Shit! Wow! I got my pizza, I got my pizza! Isn’t it funny what bad luck reduces us to….. and the people next to me, still waiting. Dang! I dive in and feel bad for them all at the same time! Their pizza finally comes. I now notice that he’s carrying some bongo drums and she’s carrying a saw, you know, one of those old timey flexible ones? Oh, I know, they’re a street act. You know how when you flex the saw and run a violin bow across it, it makes this weird sort of music? Ya, I’ve seen that and when they opened their case, it was FULL of cash. Ya, that’s what they do and now they can eat. Good, very good. It doesn’t take much to make me happy now as I eat my pizza with my tear-stained face. Oh pulleeeze!
I eat as much pizza as I can, grateful for small favors. Oh stop…… I now take to the streets of Salem and try my hand at some night photography. I usually really suck at it but this is actually looking pretty good. I’m using my tripod and people are walking up behind me and admiring my shots. Wow, I’m liking this! Here’s a couple of shots I took. Pretty good if I say so myself. I likee.
I walk around a bit more. It’s cold and I’ve had a very trying day. Guess I’ll go back to the hotel and have a hot, relaxing bath. And I do and as I get ready for bed, I am reminded of what a weirdo I am. I move all the good pillows to the side and select the smallest, flattest pillow I can find and sleep on that. Probably a throwback to my vampire days. Those wooden coffins just didn’t have enough room for pillows. G’Night!