I'm gonna take my sweet ass time with this because, well, I don't have much else to do and there's a lot to unpack. A few mornings ago I was lying in my very stiff and too-small "Trading Post Inn" bed wondering how long the stiffness in my neck was going to last when I spotted a slip of paper that had found its way under my door in the night, with log in info for this blog, inviting me to share my experience. Had I written anything at the time, it would have simply read "This place sucks and I don't want to be here," but I was not so bored that I was going to spend all day on the computer writing negative reviews. And besides, the wi-fi situation in this little corner of Old Orchard Beach is positively medieval.
Obviously, by now I'm a little bit more aware of why people would be sharing their experiences here online so things have changed
So how did I, the quintessential California boy get here? It's a not-very-interesting story, to be sure.
I work, or should I say was working for a production company. We had booked some time to scout locations for an upcoming wilderness drama for one of the big streamers -- I won't bore you with the details -- when the writers strike happened. Personally, I support the WGA 1000%, even if their strike has a knock-on effect on my job, but I've come to dislike the job anyway and have been thinking of changing industries (to what, I had no idea... but I guess the universe heard me manifesting that.) So production got canceled and we got stuck with some non-refundable "all beds must be filled" reservations at Old Orchard Beach's rustiest, mustiest inn for Memorial Day. The stays were raffled off and the lucky winners were me, Rona, Jacks and Steffi -- not too many people signed up because I guess when you live in LA, a beach getaway on the other side of the country doesn't have much appeal, but the idea of heading to a slower, more bucolic setting with less smog, away from the chaos of life in the industry appealed to me.
I like to think I have a zen heart even though my exterior is (was) anything but. At 6'7 with long blond hair, I get called "Thor" a lot. I'm muscular, I have tattoos running up and down my arms. People make a lot of assumptions about who I am because of what I look like. And hey, some of that may be accurate: the muscles don't just happen, and a lot of my time is spent rock climbing, biking and base jumping. But I also melt anytime I see a random dog, and I like to curl up with a good book.
I think Rona may have had some of these preconceptions about me -- that I'm some kind of insensitive misogynistic meathead -- because she was really frosty to me when we first met, but she actually became one of my closest friends around the office (or "office" as the case may sometimes be, with Zoom and all.)
I just asked Rona, if she would not mind describing herself visually for the benefit of you readers. Her response: "Fat and gay." To clarify, she was a little stout and curvy rather than "fat"... and with short dark hair, thick glasses and a penchant for checked button-down shirts and pants, I suppose she definitely wore her sexuality as an aesthetic. Jackson "Jacks" Kirkman is a goofy guy who always has to be the center of attention, and Steffi is a fair-haired Insta-influencer type: thin, great body, etc etc. When Jacks and Steffi became an item a few weeks in advance of the trip, we were basically obliged to place "People who were sleeping together" in one room and "People who would not be sleeping together" in the other.
Up until yesterday, we were having a really nice time. During the day we explored the town, meandered around the beach, drank and got goofy, and then at night it was like an extended sleepover with my best bro: bored games, cheesy movies, drinking games. Saturday was actually my birthday -- happy 27th. We went out to the bar and after a cutesy little cupcake with a candle for me to blow out Rona basically insisted on wingwoman-ing me, adamant that one of us had to get laid before this trip was over. I was flattered but while I did end up getting a number from a very nice woman, I wasn't that into it. I went back to her place, and we made out for a bit, but I ended up seeing myself out.
Of course, if I had known what was headed for us, I might have thought differently.
I came back to the room and noticed Rona already snoozing. I sat up on my phone for a while but noticed I was feeling a little woozy and a little itchy/irritated/tingly. I thought maybe it was a reaction to something I had eaten or drank, so I popped and antihistamine -- the feeling didn't quite subside but it did help me zonk out.
And then in the morning, everything had changed.