Note: I wrote this last night, basically delirious, before I went to sleep. There are a TON of grammatical errors, and it doesn’t read that well, but I’m not going to edit this just so you can get the full effect of my state of mind when I typed this. I wish this was a joke.
As I type this, I’m lying on sheets of a giant king size bed somewhere in the middle of nowhere, also known as North Carolina. We’re living high class tonight- in the Royal Inn’s king size deluxe special! Except don’t let the name fool you. There is NOTHING royal about this place.
What an end to what literally has been one of the most unlucky, horrendous days ever. Friday the 13th really lived up to its reputation..
(DISCLAIMER) To anyone that has ever called me dramatic or high maintenance: I could not make this up if I tried. Not even in my wildest imagination could I weave such a fabrication of misery and despair.
SO let’s start at the very beginning. It’s 9 am, a beautiful day in Holbrook. The sun is shining, the beach is calling, but alas, its time to begin the 24hr road trip of death back to school, away from summer. Talk about not being excited to do something. But it’s time, and there’s nothing I can do.
9:30 am, Rudy and I are happily driving along 95S, blaring Waving Flags and TSwift. Time passes. All is well. I eat my first granola bar of the day. We’re excited to stop for lunch just out of NYC. In the mean time, we feast on trail mix. Hooray!
But then we hit it- the first traffic. 12pm lunch in NJ? Ha! Try 12pm sitting in traffic 4 exits away from the city! Four exits that would take us 1 (that’s ONE) entire hour to pass through. Why?
Now it’s 2:30, and we’re finally on the Jersey Turnpike. Starving, cramped, and exhausted, the first blue service center sign we see is our lighthouse, a beacon of hope in a time where we think that we could not feel worse. (We learned the hard way that this was not true, as you shall read later). We speed off, run in. There’s no real food. At least I get my Starbucks green tea and a banana. There is still hope.
Twenty miles later, we’re off again. This time, I’m celebrating the fact that there are smoothies! Delicious, cold, fruity smoothies! I wait in line for 15 minutes for a massive acai berry blend with every booster possible, overjoyed when it’s finally placed in my hand. Finally. The happiness at that point was overwhelming.
So can you blame me for screaming swear words in front of small children upon seeing the contents of my $7.86 cup sprawled across the bathroom floor 5 minutes later?
Whatever. There was no time to wait for more. Back to the car. It’s 3:30; we’re in dirty Jersey still, and the smell is horrendous. ETA in NC = 9:00 pm. Not bad. Rudy’s driving, because I’m delirious. There’s so much traffic. I’m so hungry that I become obsessed with the fantasy of a piece of warm bread with cheese. (BREAD and CHEESE. Prisoners are provided with these basic staples; was it really too much to ask?) It’s ok though. We’ll be in Virginia by 7 and we’ll get a delicious dinner at Panera!!! We pass the time motivating one another with descriptions of the delicious, hot feast awaiting us. Meanwhile, all I can think or talk about is my bread fantasy; everyone I’m texting thinks that I’ve lost it. In their defense, I probably have at this point…
Well its 7pm and we’ve entered Virginia. But wait- its stopped. No one is moving. But really, NO ONE is moving. Why? Where is everyone going? What are we looking at? I’m so hungry. Where is Panera? Where is a place to eat? Where is a bathroom?
The traffic is so awful that we miss the entrance to the HOV lane, in which we watch cars fly by us for the next hour that we sit in northern Virginia. We aren’t even at DC. We are going insane.
And then there’s a break! ‘Authorized Personnel Only!’ reads a weathered highway sign, cones block the small break in the median between the wide open HOV lane and the miserable lane of hatred and war in which we have been imprisoned. We don’t think twice. Of course I drive over it.
FREE. The next thirty seconds are glorious. We scream from joy. We celebrate. We’re FREE! And then we stop. Again. We’re not moving. Again. But now, we’re trapped with no way off. It’s 9:30 pm. We’ve had no dinner. We can’t get a hotel even if we want to. Oh and did I mention it’s been raining this whole time?
There’s nothing we can do but keep going. It’s North Carolina or bust for us tonight. Not until somewhere around Richmond, 4 hours after entering this god forsaken state, does the traffic finally break. FINALLY WE ARE GOING 50! It’s over! Except I still don’t understand why there was ever traffic to start. Who is driving down I-95S at 10:00 at night??? Where are they going?
But I digress. Somewhere, Rudy and I switch, and he’s driving. We’re blaring TSwift again, and I pass out in the passenger seat, dreaming of my warm piece of bread and cheese. Until he wakes me up. It’s 12:30. We’re in NC. It’s time to stop.
Well, what do you know? Just 10 exits ahead there are eight different hotels all clustered together! Should we stay at the Hampton? The Marriot? Ahhhh there’s so many choices! But it doesn’t matter- we are just happy that relief is near.
Hampton, we decide. But first, we stop at the gas station. Might as well fill up now (oh by the way, this whole time, my oil light has been on), and buy some milk for cereal in the morning. Plus, we decided waaaay back when in traffic to buy a scratch ticket. Our luck has been so horrible, we figure, hey nothing else can go wrong. $12 later, we realize THAT was wrong.
Oh so very, very wrong.
Well, the Hampton is full. And the Marriot. And the Holiday Inn. Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Fairfield Inn- booked. All booked. Each time I ask for a room, a different toothless southerner gives me the same rude response, aka ‘are you stupid? You can’t get a hotel around here this time of night.’ Really?
Explanation: “It’s the weekend! People are on vacation!” (Read: you stupid kid, you should’ve booked in advance, cause evvvverrryone wants to stay in our great town.) Vacation? Ummm WHERE? WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! Who the hell packs up their car and thinks, ‘Gee, I think I’ll take my family down to a random shack hotel off of I-95S in Hickville, NC for the weekend! We can go to the Waffle House and maybe even…” Oh wait. There’s nothing else. Trust me, I ask. Actually, most of the people I ask seem flat out confused that I would even question their validity as a hot tourist destination- even though none can provide even just one example of a nearby attraction…
According to Rudy, this is all Obama’s fault. Leave it to him make this political…
ANYWAYS, it’s 20 miles to the next set of hotels. We’re literally delirious, on the verge of tears. It’s 1:00. Booked. Booked. And booked. They call other places. Booked. Our best bet? The EconoLodge- 25 miles south.
Rudy was not having it. He called ahead at other Hamptons as far as 40 miles away. Booked. Guess we have no choice.
So here we are, literally, in the middle of nowhere. Sketched out. Oh hey EconoLodge! I have to convince Princess Rudy it’s our only choice. I mean, it doesn’t seem TOO bad- they have free breakfast at least? Except, oh wait, they’re booked too.
Here’s where it gets even more thrilling. There’s one other hotel next door: The Deluxe Inn. It seems kind of sketchy, so I ask the nice lady at the EconoLodge her opinion.
You know there’s something not right about your hotel when the old woman with the faded tattoos, who works at an EconoLodge that still uses a corded phone suggests you might rather sleep in your car than the Deluxe. Fml.
We’re at a loss. Here we are 2 am, tired, exhausted out of our minds. We can’t sleep in the car; there’s no room. We can’t keep driving; we’re still 12 hours away. Could we survive a night at this run down excuse for lodging?
Determined to check it out, we pull up. Last January, Cahill made me watch a horrifying movie where a psychotic killer murders ten stranded people at a random hotel in the middle of nowhere. I am 99% sure this is the same hotel. The drug deal I observe from the gas station parking lot across the street really seals the deal for us. And the broken sign. I call Cahill for advice, practically in tears. He says to stay. Princess Rudy might actually be crying (I might be too actually); we fight about it, but eventually both give in to the inevitable. I pray that there are no axe murderers here tonight.
Decision made, we pull up. Too late. Last room was just booked. WHY. It’s 2:30- forget warm bread and cheese. All I want is a bed- ANY bed!
Well there’s ONE more place, the man at the last desk tells us: The Budget Inn. We follow his directions. If there was an axe murderer at the last one, there are at least three here. Trash lines the walls of the rooms; the light flickers. Rudy tries to convince me, but I jump out, determined to book SOMETHING, before we can question it. He runs after me. I open the door, a fly buzzes across an empty lobby- and then the smell: the most rancid smell ever in the history of smells. I scream and slam the door, run back to the car, Rudy wildly yelling behind me, “WHAT was that?! WHAT WAS THAT SMELL?! THERE ARE DEAD BODIES!”
I couldn’t drive away fast enough.
Road again. I’m going to get in an accident, I’m so tired. Speeding, more pavement, middle of nowhere- finally! More hotels. Please God!
But the Hampton is booked. And the Quality Inn. But there’s one other place…
And that’s how we ended up here, at the Royal Inn. The man gave me the CREEPEST smile when he informed me that he gave us a special KING size room. Oh God really? We’re not trashy prostitutes! I just want a place to sleep! But great. Now Rudy and I get to share this diseased bed together. So romantic.
I can’t describe the filth we are in right now; to everyone that complained about the Hampton in NJ last May: that was a palace. Even last August’s molding dump of a hotel in Myrtle Beach seems nice compared to this. There’s mosquitoes, broken AC, no refrigerator for our milk (surely gone bad by now anyways), NO WAY TO MAKE TEA. Fifty friggen dollars they stole from me, and they didn’t even provide shampoo in return.
3:00 am. To anyone that ever said Rudy or I were high maintenance, I’m sorry, but after this day- this horrible, horrible day- you can never say that again. Ever.
Perfectly miserable, its almost funny, almost unreal. I hate being negative, I really do, but this is just incredible. All I can ask is, “why?”
Please God, let tomorrow be even just a small bit better than this. I will do anything. I might even consider being a nun. Except not really, but I’ll give you my first born son or something? Can you PLEASE just show us some mercy tomorrow?
Or, at the very least, can you make Rudy stop snoring? I really need to get some sleep…
1. Also, just remembered that while we were stuck in traffic, we went to take a picture as proof for everyone back home, only to discover a water bottle had leaked in my bag and ruined my camera. Gahhhhhhh!