My Worst Vacation

No blog's complete without a vacation post. Especially a miserable vacation! I had one of the worst in my entire life around five years ago with my friend, Casey.

Casey and I met in 1989 when I interviewed for my job at PG&E. They set up me up for three days at a nice hotel and arranged for me to meet with a top real estate broker, Casey. Actually, Casey's mother was a top real estate broker in San Francisco who employed her daughter. Despite the fact that I'm over a decade older than her, we bonded immediately. She was an animated ball of fluff and enthused to show me the choicer high-end apartment selections for San Francisco.

I hated them all.

One month later, I flew into San Francisco where they placed me in a corporate apartment in the Marina district close to Fisherman's Wharf. The walls were constructed out of plaster of Paris. At night, I was entertained by the sound of my neighbor masturbating. I dreaded going to the toilet - I could hear his piss hit the side of the bowl and knew, no doubt, he heard everything going on my side. I was accountable for the plastic furniture which melted and broke. As did the bedroom dresser which one morning split apart like a banana.

The manager of the building offered me an insider's price of $110,000. Smirking, she said, "There's absolutely no vacancies in San Francisco. This is a steal!"

"Assuredly it is," I remarked.

"We'll even toss in the furniture!"

I promptly phoned Casey. Once again, she took me all over the choicest places and each one I felt was sub-par. Until I peered at her listings. "This one sounds real interesting," at a 2,000 sq ft duplex loft apartment with my dream: TWO bathrooms! Not only that, a laundry system and walk-in closet. I was euphoric.

She said, "No, it's in the worst neighborhood - Tenderloin."

I laughed. "I come from New York. Nothing could be that bad."

It was.

In a city with 0 housing, I should've been suspicious why this gorgeous apartment was available. I fell in love with the brand new duplex loft with 25' high ceilings, maple kitchen cabinets and wood floors and immediately put down a $5,000 deposit. It was my dream apartment. Really. I dreamt of that place for a decade! Until after I purchased it. That's when I found out it faced a project. Which didn't bother me at all.

I was 43 and arrogant like hell. After all, I'm a New Yorker midst all these Californians. Tenderloin, known for its homeless and prostitutes, mainly trannies and dopers, loved my NY accent and attitude. At first, they all tried to panhandle me. When I snarled, "Get the fuck away, I'm from New York," they never bothered me again. Although they dogged every single person who came into that hood as well as my 11 other neighbors in the $20MM apartment complex. Instead, I got myself some new friends. Outside of Casey, of course.

I saw her a few times thereafter. Mostly at bars where we had adventures full of hilarity. My life was quite busy as an executive and I traveled at least 4 days a week. Hell, I commuted weekly to Houston for months. When I left San Francisco, I used Casey to sell my place.

It took 4 months to sell in a boom economy with 0 housing. No one wanted to buy a gorgeous place across the street from a project. Casey's sales pitch was, "It must be safe! A forty-four year old single woman lived here!" She neglected to mention I was from New York.

Over the following seven years we kept in touch intermittently. There was a flurry of excitement in her life when she dated one of the Counting Crows, a lead San Francisco band. Suddenly she phoned, "I'd love to visit. Can I stay at your place?"

The timing sucked. It was peak period at work in early September and no way could I take any days off. I explained my situation and she said, "Not a bother. I want to play tourist by day as this is my first visit and will join you at night."

Two weeks later I picked her up at the airport. I barely recognized the woman. She was rail thin when I knew her and in front of me was quite a huge, albeit exceedingly pretty, matronly woman. I was at least 15lbs heavier (that damn 15 lbs comes and goes!) as well. We chatted animatedly during the long drive up to my summer place where we spent the weekend.

Then I drove her to my apartment in Astoria and we plotted her itinerary. I explained, "I'm up at 6 and out by 7. I won't be able to see you until 7 at night or later." I gave her the keys to the apartment, explained the subway, provided detailed maps and went on to work. We had a blast every night going to the theatre a few times, dinners, a concert. She came up to my office and several men were smitten because she was exceedingly pretty. Casey's a giggly sort of woman and very silly. She's funny and simple and very easy to get along with. We had a terrific time.

Although I had my doubts about her. She always reeked of alcohol, yet I never saw her drink any. I'm not much of a drinker as I really don't like the taste of alcohol and it does give me gas. That pervasive odor did give me pause.

Upon her return, she phoned me. "I had such a good time. Say, can you take a week off and join me at my mother's time share in Las Vegas in February?"

I never went to Las Vegas. Everyone I knew had a blast there. The one sticking point for me is that I don't believe in gambling. The thought of tossing money away at slots, dice or cards never appealed to me. I rarely play Lotto or those scratch off cards. Except when I commuted to Vermont. For $2, I always won $50. The odds were better as Vermont wasn't heavily populated. Besides, my entire life has been based on gambling: I worked in trading rooms. I gambled that my consulting company would succeed and my books as well. One gamble I won, the other has yet to be determined. Right now, the odds are against me.

"Well, I don't know..." I hesitated.

"Listen," she said, "Mom gave it to us for free and it's a two bedroom apartment."

I figured, why not? If I didn't like Vegas or the experience, at least it wasn't going to cost me. That was the first bad decision.

We arranged to meet in San Francisco airport where I'd switch airplanes and join her to Las Vegas. On the flight out, I was seated next to this attractive man. We had a terrific conversation. He, as well, was en route to Las Vegas on the same connecting flight to join a bunch of friends for a get-together. He invited me and of course Casey to several of their planned parties. The vacation seemed to start off well.

At San Francisco airport, though, I didn't see her. We had an hour before boarding and she was no where in sight. I phoned her and no response. I repeatedly phoned her. I bumped into the guy.

"Did you find your friend?" he inquired. He couldn't wait to meet her after my description. Two party girls in Las Vegas!

"I don't understand what's going on," I replied. "She's supposed to be here." I wandered around the airport and then returned to board. I phoned her again and this time she responded, "Yeaaah, Ah'm here," I heard. "Raight behind ya."

I whirled around and in front of me was a sight. She wore a taupe raincoat, buttoned a la Norton Nork. To those of you who don't know that reference, it's when you miss buttons or place the buttons in incorrect spots bunching up your clothing. Her long, silk blond hair stood up in patches. This was worse than bed head: it looked as if her head got caught in a vise and someone applied glue on top. Her eyes bugged out and when she smiled, her front tooth was gone. She perfected the consummate bag lady appearance.

"WHAT THE FUCK?" I shrieked. Meanwhile, the guy, now standing on line took one look at her, looked at me and grimaced. My heart sunk. I knew that no fucking way would this be a party weekend.

"I overslept," she slurred.

"You're fucking drunk!" I screamed. "How could you do this? Wait - it's 7 in the morning! Who gets drunk at 7?" At that point, I reconsidered my grand vacation and debated flying back to New York.

She reeked of booze. She reeked of body odor. Then, I made the second bad decision of my life: I decided to go as planned.

We boarded the plane. I passed by that guy, now seated, who avoided eye contact. I sat next to her, livid. She attempted to apologize in a very loud voice. "Quiet," I hissed.

Of course the plane sat there. After an hour, she lamented real loud. "Shut up," I insisted.

"Why aren't we going?"

"Fuck knows, Casey, and shut the fuck up."

Her voice got louder. Murmurs arose from other passengers. "Why the hell aren't we going?" she shouted.

The flight attendant came over. "Ma'am, please quiet down."

"What's going on here?" she drunkenly shouted. "Why aren't we flying yet?"

"We shall soon."

"I'm going to report you!" she insisted.

I sat there and muttered my father's catch-all phrase, "Oh boy."

"Ma'am, if you want to carry on, we will have to escort you out."

She quieted. Only for a moment. And then she started in again, this time shouting out veiled threats.

I turned to her and yelled, "Carry on, Casey, go ahead. They'll escort you out and hopefully you'll be arrested and go to jail."

Other passengers piped in. "Let her go to jail!"

That did the trick.

During the flight, she cried and apologized. "I've this problem with drinking. I always did. But now I can't control it."

I fumed. And thought about ditching her there. And then realized how much a hotel cost in Las Vegas. I reasoned, while I'm there, I'll proceed with the program and do what I want to do.

"And Mom figured that it'd be good if I were with you as you're a good influence."

My head exploded. Her fucking mother got a free week without a drunk Casey. Right then I realized that nothing in life was for free. Not even that apartment. I wanted to kill her mother.

"Why don't you go to rehab or AA?"

She waffled. Fuck her, I thought. If she's that much of an alkie and she doesn't do anything about it, nor her mother, fuck it. She's not my problem. I reconsidered, she was for this trip.

"They do have AA meetings in Las Vegas. You may meet some nice men."

Casey was man crazy. She then told me a wild story about living with a guy for the past year with no sex. I gathered they had a drinking relationship. She was with him the night before.

Upon arrival at Las Vegas, we took a cab from the airport to the apartment. I paid. Turns out Casey didn't have much money. The free apartment deal became a lot less appealing.

"Well, I'm not going to pay for you, Casey," I said. I felt under no obligation to this drunken wreck who ruined my first vacation in a year.

"Well, we're going to be on budget," she insisted.

"Fine with me."

Luckily the two bedrooms were across a hall from each other. At least, in that way, I got some privacy and could hole up. Let's just say I couldn't ditch her. She never removed that ferkakta taupe raincoat.

"Say, Casey, what happened to your front tooth?"

"The cap fell off."

"There's no tooth underneath!"


I had an inkling it was related to the fights she had with her drinking sexless bud. I didn't want to know any more.

We went to all the hotels, saw the shows, walked around. The entire time her conversation consisted of wailing about no money and dating the guy from the Counting Crows years earlier. Turns out he took her to Vegas several times. She had fond memories of several hotels we visited, recounting way too much information for my taste. I guess it would've been fun to hear if it weren't slurred from a woman who resembled the homeless missing a front tooth garbed in her perpetual taupe raincoat buttoned a la Norton Nork. At the very least, her hair looked great.

She frequently ditched me to go to bars. She had money for that. A lot of money for that. Which, in itself, was a good thing. The moment the bag lady left my side, tons of people flocked to me. I met interesting folk from around the country and we talked and had a great time. Until she reappeared. They fled.

"Why'd they leave?" she asked, drunk to the gills.

"Possibly something you said," I retorted.

During that week, she never said a word about drinking and would not bring up the subject. It didn't matter, she was constantly drunk. Her suitcase was filled with booze. She nipped from flasks.

Several times I called the airlines for the next available flight back. There was a whopping surcharge for the flight back. Guess many others had situations like mine. I couldn't shake her. She stuck to my side like a tick. Except for her drinking forays. I was exceedingly thankful for that!

I rented a car to go to Hoover Dam. "I don't care whether you're interested or not, Casey. This is for me. You can stay." She went.

I had the time of my life at Hoover Dam and took all the tours without her. Once again, I met interesting folk. Afterwards, she poured herself in the car and I drove to many other places where I left her in the car while I went exploring. We had a giant falling out at a restaurant where she expected me to pay for her meal.

"What the fuck's wrong with you, Casey?" I yelled. "I rented the car, paid for gas and now you expect me to pay for your meal?" By then, I felt like sending her mother a bill.

It was the longest week of my life. I ditched her in San Francisco airport.

A month after I returned home, I had a date over. We talked about many things and for some reason I mentioned my vodka collection. "I've 5 different vodkas that they don't sell in the US," I bragged. "My friends brought them over from Poland and Russia."

"I thought you don't drink," he said. "Didn't you say it gives you gas?"

"I really don't. They're for guests. And someone gave me a giant bottle of Jagameister for those infrequent times when I have people over."

I opened up the freezer and pulled out one bottle. It was empty. I pulled out the four others. Empty. Then the Jagameister. Empty.

He looked at me quizzically. "I thought you said you don't drink."

"I don't!" I went ballistic. "That bitch!"

His eyebrow raised a few notches.

"I had a girlfriend over for a week. She drank me outta house and home. Which explains why she reeked of booze." I fumed. I wanted to send her a bill.

Needless to say, Casey's problem for the last time became mine. It made quick work of that guy.

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This blog and its posts are a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everybody should go to Vegas once so they won't have to ever go back again.