At the beginning of the Summer, Sarah had declared this to be “the Summer of Groupon” meaning that we would rely on the Groupon’s seemingly excellent deals to support our love of restaurants and traveling. The Groupon Summer hasn’t been working out as smoothly as intended. Due to a variety of reasons our previous experiences had been full of financial ripoffs, terrible food, and unforeseen circumstances that almost always ended in disappointment and me sarcastically yelling, “Summer of Groupon!” in a way that mirrored the success of George Costanza’s “Summer of George.” Despite all the bumps along the way, Sarah and I were eager to experience our final adventure of the Summer: a meteor shower cruise and overnight stay in Plymouth, MA.
The Summer flew by and we soon found ourself driving in torrential downpour towards an Air B&B in Plymouth, with the knowledge that our cruise was cancelled and we would have to make the best of things in an area known for its beaches and cool outdoor activities. Obviously not the best start to any vacation especially when considering it was beautiful weather all week while we worked inside.
We arrived at the house we would be staying at and were shown around. It seemed like a really awesome place; screened in porch, fire pit, balcony that would be perfect to eat cereal on, etc… Of course, none of these amenities are best enjoyed when it is raining sideways outside.
We were famished after surviving the traffic-ridden commute so we made our way to the Blue-Eyed Crab, which is located in Plymouth Center and the only place Sarah and I had gone to before. We journeyed through the rain, attempted selfies with an umbrella in hand and bought a overpriced tourist sweatshirt because it was so cold and rainy and those aren’t two words that usually come to mind when you think “beach vacation.”
In an attempt to seek immediate shelter and entertainment we made our way to the Kingston Mall in search of an indoor mini-golf place that also happened to glow in the dark. That sounds pretty cool, right? And it may very well have been had it not gone out of business and left only it’s digital presence as an epitaph of what once was. The rest of the mall was disgusting and dilapidated. Most of the stores served as time capsules for the late 90s, which was equal parts entertaining and depressing. Most of the signage for the independently-owned shops that comprised the mall consisted of Microsoft Word clipart and tacky fonts with extreme drop shadows under them. Classy stuff.
Crushed by the lack of mini golf and uncertain of what to do with our day, we found ourself wandering curiously into the mall’s arcade. I dumped five bucks into a machine and we played ski-ball and some 64-bit Jurassic Park game from 1998 that kicked ass. Sarah played Dance Dance Revolution too, but I obviously didn’t take part in that one.
Hidden in the mall’s depressing food court existed a movie theater. We decided to see Boyhood, which was really good. While there, Sarah purchased an cherry Icee that size of her head (which admittedly isn’t very large.) We had been making the best of a day that was doomed from the start.
After the movie things started to go downhill. Sarah’s normally pale and pinkish skin had turned a light green hue. I knew immediately what was happening; this afternoon’s questionable clam chowder and her cranium-sized Icee had begun World War 3. As we exited the mall Sarah’s steps grew slower and slower until eventually she had stopped in place and was leaning over the mall’s trash can in oscillating motion. I watched from behind as her body made constant violent thrusts towards the trash can. Maybe my imagination was still very much in the Jurassic Park universe, but I likened the motion to a Prehistoric bird’s attempt at a mating dance. I figured, “Well, this is it. She is going to puke in this stupid mall and no one will even notice cause I bet way worse things happen here daily.” I took out my phone as I impatiently waited for it to happen. Much to my surprise, she recovered and with hands still grasping the trash can she quickly yelled “Happy vacation! Woo!”
After a quick refresh at the house and confirmation that the only dinner Sarah would be eating was Saltines and Pepto Bismal, we journeyed out to find a pizza place that was still open so that I could eat dinner.
It was in the bathroom of the Plymouth House of Pizza where I assume some sort of gastrointestinal exorcism occurred. I watched Sarah stumble weakly toward the bathrooms like how someone recently deceased might wander towards the bright light. Her sullen appearance masked the the faintest glimpse of joy and the hope that everything might end there. Unfortunately, it did not.
When we arrived back at the house all we wanted to do is lie down. And that’s when it happened; the final blow to the backbone of our vacation. Sarah pointed skeptically to the bed at a small moving speck. “What’s that?” she asked in the least alarming voice possible as to not scare me. It was a bug in the bed. And while yes, I am very afraid of bugs due to an unfortunate incident with them infesting my bed as a child, it was simply not any bug. We had Googled “bed bugs” and not with the same paranoia that one Googles “itchy throat” and then believes the corresponding WebMD article’s claim that they are going to die in exactly 43 minutes. We had regretfully matched Google’s image results for “bed bugs” with the same bugs that were hanging out in our bed and burrowing through the sheets we were supposed to be sleeping on.
Sarah didn’t want to confront the lady on the situation and had hoped to disappear silently in the middle of the night and never speak of the events again. Somehow, she managed to feel bad in this. Far worse than the lady who insisted we sleep in her bug bed after we came in soaking wet from our rained out beach vacation. In my mind I have a standup bit where Sarah gets robbed and feels horrible that she didn’t have more in her wallet for the criminal. “I only had 6 bucks in there. I really wish I could have given him more. I bet he needs that money a lot more than I do. If only he had asked. I would have got to an ATM and given him at least a 20.” This all supports the notion that Sarah was born with insurmountable amounts of guilt and lays sleepless each night blaming herself for problems that are out of her control (ex: the inevitable death of the universe, global warming, the confusing season finale in Lost, etc…)
Freaked out, defeated and hesitant to wake the lady whose house it was, we decided to make the journey back to Boston. Sarah drove because it was raining and I have nighttime blindness and getting old sucks. Five years ago, if you had given me a list of places that I would retreat to should I ever encounter bed bugs, I can guarantee you that Dorchester would not be on that list. But, thats where we found ourselves going. And it never felt better to be back in Sarah’s bed, which we constantly refer to as “the cloud.” We left the lady whose house it was a message explaining the situation.
The next morning when we woke up I saw Sarah’s phone go off while she was in the shower. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t some guy calling or I would have gotten all tough guy overprotective boyfriend and been all “Im a kick your fucking ass. Bro, you talk to her again and I’ll kill you.” Jk. I wouldn’t do that cause I’m not lame and also I was 95% certain it was the Air B&B person so I answered it. I figured I’d do Sarah a solid and deal with the awkward and inevitable conflict. The lady on the phone was immediately accusatory and defensive and kept insisting that her house was bug free and that we had done something wrong. “My house is clean! We don’t have bugs! We have never had bugs! NO bugs! People have stayed here before and we have never had this issue.” I wasn’t really sure what to tell her. We weren’t trying to scam her out of anything, we didn’t imagine the bugs and we certainly didn’t bring the bugs with us, which also seemed to be implied on the phone.
The lady become increasingly more defensive, which I can understand to some extent. Without kids this Air B&B truly is her child and me telling her she has bugs in the house is the equivalent of telling someone that their only child, whom they love so much, is “sort of an asshole.” She then hung up on me despite the calm and sincerely apologetic tone I maintained throughout the conversation (again, why was it that I was apologizing for her bug infested beds?)
She later retracted her hostility under the guise of several non-apologetic apologies such as “I’m sorry you feel as though my house was unclean and filled with bugs.” and “I’m sorry you feel as though your vacation wasn’t going right from the start and you had to leave early” The implications being that we planted the bugs there (we sent her the photographic evidence of them hanging out on the bed) and that we left in the middle of the night because our vacation wasn’t working out (which although true, she didn’t know anything beyond the fact that it was raining and the cruise was cancelled.)
The moral of the story here being: we suck at vacations and are only going to stay in hotels from now on even if they smell just like Kitty Litter like that one in California did. And also, when life gives you lemons try to get your shit together and don’t puke in the trashcan of the Kingston Mall cause ya know, that’s pretty embarrassing and it would be a hard one to live down.