Friday, October 24, 2008
I do so wish I'd learn to ask questions before making a plan.
When I came to Arkansas over Labor Day, I was ever so slightly uncomfortable at the hotel where I stayed. When I first went to my room, the door (which opened to the outside rather than a hallway) was ajar. It was rather late at night and it didn't seem like a good idea to walk into an unlocked room alone. I recruited a manager, who accompanied me. We both felt sure the cleaning staff had simply not closed the door all the way, but I ended up dozing through the night with one ear tuned to the metal steps outside my door.
I did not want to stay in the same place on this trip. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to stay in a B&B. You know: hosts, a small number of other guests, kind of homey. Comfortable circumstances for a woman traveling alone.
When I arrived this afternoon, one of the owners was here, a lovely woman named Sandy. She showed me the house with great pride and satisfaction in the work she and her husband have done to it. So far, so good. Until she mentioned that I'm the only guest tonight AND she and her husband do not live here.
Next I walked around the tiny town a little and discovered it's practically empty. Boarded up. Shuttered. Out of several dozen buildings, only the bank, two cafes and a small grocery store are occupied.
Having dinner at the cafe later, I was uncomfortably aware that everyone in the place took note of the stranger eating alone. One wild eyed, wild haired, wild bearded man watched every trip of fork to mouth. He looked like someone with a story and I really wanted to strike up a conversation with him, but something about his seriously dirty face, hair, and clothing stopped me.
Now I'm alone in a two-story, hundred-year-old, unfamiliar house. Boards creak and groan. Windows rattle in the wind. The heat cries as it wanders through the old pipes.
Walking up the stairs I bumped into a wall and my little digital voice recorder turned on somehow. Nearly jumped out of my skin until I realized that the strange fuzzy noise was coming from my purse.
If this were a scary movie, I'd be screaming at the screen, "Run, you idiot. Get out of there now!"
But this is not a movie. It's my life. And I'm sure I'll be fine. I'm also sure that the next time I get the itch to go adventuring, I'll do something equally foolish.
Right now, I just want to get the chance.
EDITED TO ADD: alive and well this morning. Off to the Races. Stories later. OH, the stories for later.!