How to Eat at a Fast Food Place

Now, many of you will probably look at this title and think to yourself, “I can eat at a fast food place just fine, what kind of an unnecessary instructional is this?  What am I, an idiot?”

And in turn I shall inform you that most people have no trouble with this simple task.  The fact that you’re on the internet reading blogs tells me that you are probably a part of this majority.  But, as a fast food worker, I must urge you to spread the word to your misinformed counterparts.  Educate those who have neither manners nor common sense.

So without further ado, here are V’s Tips for Not Being a Colossal Asshole Next Time You Waltz into Your Nearest Fast Food Establishment:

1.  Don’t leave napkins on your table.

0085756_PE213579_S5

Even if you you have extra that you’re not going to use, don’t leave them on the table.  No one has ever walked into a fast food joint and made a bee-line for the table full of crumbs and the big stack of napkins.  No one’s thinks, “Oh good, napkins!  Now we don’t have to walk 5 feet to get our own, which we know for sure haven’t been contaminated by someone else’s dirty-ass hands!”

Please.  It makes the table look even nastier than it is, and the person who has to clean that table is going to throw them out anyways.

2.  If you have a problem with your order, be polite.

Taken from reddit.com

Most of the time, the employees want to do an A+ job. They don’t look forward to slinking over to the manager and sheepishly informing them that they’ve screwed up yet again and a customer wants to complain to them.

But, it happens. Sometimes it’s our fault, and sometimes y’all don’t make it any easier. (Please, please, please don’t change your order more than once. We’ve already entered it. The cooks are getting everything together as we speak.  It’s a done deal, my friend.)

In the event that you get a double cheeseburger with onions when you specifically asked for no onions, simply let us know and we’ll take care of it.  Don’t be a bitch. If you’re a bitch, chances are you’re going to run into way more roadblocks than non-bitches.  All of the managers at my previous fast food gig had a strict you-be-nice-to-me-and-I’ll-be-nice-to-you-policy. If a patron threw a tantrum (like the guy who, in a fit of rage, grabbed a gift card off the little gift card rack and whipped it at our manager’s head like a tiny malevolent frisbee), you were told that if you didn’t like something, there were exits located at both the front and back of the store. Other people who calmly explained what the problem was walked away with lots and lots and lots of free food, sometimes coupons for a free meal, etc.

3. Please, for the love of all things holy, if there’s a cup over the ketchup dispenser that says “Out of Order” don’t touch it! Don’t do it!  It’s a bad idea, both for you and me and the future of your children and if you do touch it, I hope one day you ignore another equally important sign and get mauled by a bear or electrocuted or something equally horrible.

Taken from steemit.com; By the way, don’t make the same mistake I did and Google “ketchup disasters.”

This is a real issue, people. Every. Single. Time.  Every single time the goddamn ketchup runs out, I run over and put my little cup over the top of it.

Two seconds later, I get an angry customer covered in ketchup splatters informing me in a snotty voice that “did you know your ketchup is broken?”

Yes!!!!!!! I did!!!!! You watched me put that cup on it, dammit. I saw you.  You watched me with your own two eyes test the dispenser, discover that it was empty, and get splattered by ketchup residue in the process. What did you think was going to happen, you stale-ass fruitcake brained Neanderthal?

Every time, I put out a little plastic container of ketchup packets and it’s heartlessly ignored in favor of an obviously malfunctioning dispenser.

4. Do let us know if there’s no toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Taken from nuk3.com

We’re sorry. Sometimes when it’s busy we don’t have time to check the bathrooms as often as we’d like, but if you take a moment to clue us in on the state of the bathrooms, God bless you. May you win a free order of fries on the little sticker cup game promotional thingy.

5. Don’t walk up to the first booth you see and demand to have it wiped down.

Taken from re-tales.net

Yeah, we know it has crumbs all over it. We can see that. But right now everyone is probably sprinting around the lobby, serving people, juggling orders, mopping up spills, and if literally every other booth is clean, we will resent you.

I can guarantee that if you put up a fuss and make an employee, say, abandon their post at the register when there are fifteen people waiting to order, just to wipe the only table in the entire establishment that’s dirty, we’re not going to go out of our way to wait on you.

This is a fast food place. We are not waiters, but most of the time I’m happy to do something for you. An extra dipping sauce? Sure, I’ll get it for you. A to-go box? Let me run and grab one!

But I’m also very good at ignoring the customers I don’t like. We all are.

You will be blacklisted!  *ominous but upbeat music plays in the background*

6. If we don’t serve something, it’s not a personal attack on your happiness. Take it up with corporate, bud.

Taken from http://www.helpscout.net

I worked at a place that boasted a pretty simple menu. We only served 4 things. None of them were particular healthy.

Day after day after day I had customers squint at the menu for approximately ten years, then confidently order eight different things that we didn’t offer.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. We don’t have kale salad with quinoa, drizzled lightly with balsamic vinegar.  Why don’t you try some of our fries?”

The woman’s face would inevitably twist into a pinched grimace.

“No kale salad with quinoa and balsamic vinegar?! This is an outrage! I’m leaving!”

I don’t pick what’s on the menu. I just work here.  Complaining to me isn’t going to do an ounce of good. You think I don’t like mashed potatoes? I love mashed potatoes. But if I wanted to buy some, I would start by locating a place that actually sells them.

7.  Don’t come in 5 minutes before we close and stay for 2 hours.

Taken from theodysseyonline.com

This is possibly the most important point I’d like to make.  Do not do this.  Bad karma will come back to haunt you.  If you are a decent human being with a heart and a brain you will order your food to go.

I hate high school kids.  I know I was one not too long ago, but I hate them.  I hate my younger self because I’m sure I’ve done this is the past.  For some reason, only high school kids do this.  Maybe they don’t have anything better to do, or maybe they’re trying to avoid going home.

If you stay after close, we have to sit around and wait for you to leave before we do anything.  This means staying way, way, way later than we need to.

So get your food to go.  Eat it in your car.  Blast the radio.  That’s what I do.

Thanks for politely tolerating my rant!

V

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A Bump in the Road: My Experience with Mental Illness

[Trigger warning: this post discusses mental illness and self-harm.  If these topics are triggering, feel free to read some of my other, more lighthearted posts!]

It’s not a good day for me.

I’m sorry to be writing to you all under such negative circumstances, but I’m determined to be myself in this blog, and days like these hold a certain significance in my life.  Not only that, but if there’s a chance that one of my readers deals with the same issues that I do, maybe I’ll be able to provide some measure of comfort through this entry.  Who knows?

For a long time I’ve battled generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.  I was diagnosed with these only a short time ago, but when I look back on memories from my childhood I know that they’ve been a part of my life for years.

Taken from emotionalresourcecenter.com.  I was tired of seeing the stereotypical black and white photo of a person hunched on the floor, cradling their head in their hands.  So, please enjoy this frowny face in a sea of smiley faces!  Come on, give me a little credit.  I’m a writer, not a professional image selector.
It was the last two years of high school when things became nearly unbearable.  I was a constant irritation to my parents, I was a mystery to my friends, but the one I pissed off the most?  That would be me.  I couldn’t stand myself.  Every day I woke up in the same body, riddled with ugly scars from self-harm, and I felt like I could scream.  I fantasized about running away.  My group of friends got smaller every day, and with every broken tie I sank deeper and deeper into the hole that I was digging.  For a while I thought it was a temporary barrier, a bump in the road, but as time dragged on I had a feeling that it might be my grave.

I had a best friend.  She was gorgeous and lovely and the light of my life, when I wanted to sink into my sheets and never wake up, she came over and dragged me out of the house.  When I wanted nothing more than to sit down and stare blankly at the wall until I couldn’t remember where I was, she picked me up and drove and drove and drove until we were in a new and exciting place and I was laughing and the music on the radio was the perfect soundtrack.

Taken from pinterest.com
I fell madly in love with her.

And then everything fell apart.  She got a boyfriend, I was jealous, we started to drift.  There weren’t as many sleepovers or movie marathons.  I stayed at home more.

Don’t fall in love with your straight best friend, readers.  Don’t do it.  It will ruin you in ways you can’t even imagine.

One day last summer, we had a fight.  It was one of many similar arguments.  I can’t even remember what started it, I just know that it happened at the pool in her apartment complex.  All of our friends were there.  They stayed by her, I sat on the curb by the parking lot by myself.

And then I went home.  I went home, I went into my medicine cabinet, and I grabbed a bottle of pills.  My palms were sweating.  I slipped it into my pocket.  The bottle made a harsh rattling sound that reminded me of hard candies.

Taken from lhsfna.org
I spent that night in the hospital, high as a kite.  I couldn’t move, I could think but I couldn’t speak, I stared with empty eyes at a merry-go-round of hellish hallucinations.  When it was over a large, intimidating nurse came over to me and spat, “Don’t you ever do something so stupid again.  Don’t you ever do that.”

I shivered but said nothing.

That was the worst night of my life, by far.  My eyes still get misty when I think of my parents leaning over me in that hospital room, asking, “Why?” over and over with tears running down their cheeks.

Things got worse before they got better.  I tried living with my best friend in college.  It didn’t work out.  I ended up in the hospital yet again, this time spending a brief period in a psychiatric unit.  That was where I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  And, it turned out, borderline personality disorder.

This one came out of left field.  Borderline personality?  There was only one me, I didn’t feel like there were different personas all crowded into my brain.  But that’s not what borderline is.

Borderline personality is characterized by having an unstable sense of self, volatile relationships with others , impulsiveness, emotional outbursts, black-and-white thinking, etc.  People with borderline feel emotions more strongly and more exaggeratedly than other people.

Taken from sondranderson.wordpress.com
For instance, I’d have a fight with my best friend and it felt like the world was ending.  I’d be sure that this was it, this was the argument that signaled the beginning of the end of our friendship,  she obviously hated me and never wanted to see me again.

Ironically, this type of thinking was probably a big contributor to the actual, literal end of our friendship.  But I didn’t know that.

If you think you might have borderline personality disorder, I encourage you to research it and go to a professional in order to get diagnosed.  I am not an expert.

Taken from twitter.com
Furthermore, a large percentage of those who engage in self-harm have BPD.  So I guess I fell into that category.

Anyways, today is not a good day.  I’ve drastically improved since everything went down last year, but I still have days where I don’t like what I see in the mirror and I feel like a failure and who am I kidding?  My writing sucks and I’ll never get published and I might as well just fucking give up.

I guess that sums up today:  I want to give up.

But I won’t.  I can’t.  Without writing my life is infinitely boring.  I know it’s cheesy, but I feel like writing is what I was put on this earth to do.  And even if it isn’t my calling, that’s too bad.  I’m going to make it my calling.  Take that, universe and fate and God and whoever else calls the shots around here.

Taken from kwaminyamidie.com;  This is basically what life feels like right now.
Also:  The search for a literary agent isn’t going very well.  Lots of rejection letters.  I’m constantly revising and editing my novel, so hopefully that will pay off soon.  We’ll see, I guess.

And now it’s time for:  V’s Tips on How to Keep it Together if You’re Struggling with a Mental Illness!  These tips won’t work for everyone, but they’ve worked for a real live person who’s going through some Stuff and Shit, so maybe they’ll work for you, too.  Many times I’ve come across advice on the internet that seems to have been written by someone who doesn’t know what it’s like to have a mental illness, and it’s not very helpful.

1.  Get the hell out.

Get out of the house.  Just leave.  Go somewhere new, where you don’t have access to things that could hurt you.

2.  Surround yourself with people.

They don’t have to be your friends.  I know for me, sometimes I didn’t have any friends that I could hang out with.  Just go to a public place and watch people.  Lose yourself in their lives.

3.  Listen to happy music.

I’ve found that when I’m sad, I want to listen to sad music.  This is a terrible idea.  Listen to something happy, and it’ll start to lift your spirits too.

4.  Escapism.

This is where good old-fashioned American escapism comes into play!  Go to the movies.  If you can’t get to the movies, watch one at home.  (A happy movie, of course.)  Read a book.  Play a fun video game.  Do a crossword puzzle if that’s your thing.  Read Calvin and Hobbes.  Do anything that will make you forget what’s going on.  There’s nothing wrong with trying to forget your feelings until the wave of emotion passes and you’re in a better state to deal with the situation.

I know that wasn’t a lot of tips, but if I’m going to be completely honest, there’s not a lot that could help me until I got on medication.

Taken from samahospital.com
That’s another thing:  There is absolutely no shame in going on medication.  It changed my life, guys.  I was scared at first, but my meds didn’t take away my personality or dull my emotions or turn me into a completely different person.  It just gave me the push I needed to be happy again.  It quelled that uneasy feeling I always had in the pit of my stomach and allowed me to just relax.  For the first time in years, I could sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing and not feel like I was going to burst into tears, or have a vague inkling that something bad was about to happen.

If you feel like it could help you too, once again, see a psychiatrist.

Thanks for listening to me,

V

P.S.  I’m currently watching Scream Queens to cheer me up.  It’s a fabulous TV show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who’s an Emma Roberts fan.

My mom wanted to watch it with me, but I think it would be weird.  Too many gay characters, too many attractive actresses, too many necrophilia jokes.  She wouldn’t be able to handle it.

But, Chad Radwell?  Chad Radwell is a stellar character.

Taken from tumblr.com

Disney Developments

Breaking news!  I’ve officially been able to pre-register for the illustrious Disney Dorms.  I’ve set my sights on Chatham Square because out of all the research I’ve done on housing (believe me, it was quite minimal but I digress…) Chatham seems to be the best for someone who doesn’t own a car.

Let me categorize the information I’ve been able to find:

  1. Vista Way is supposedly a little ghetto, since it’s old, and lots of parties/general debauchery goes down there.  Don’t get me wrong, I love debauchery and whatnot, but I don’t want to get fired.  Disney doesn’t mess around when it comes to misconduct.  It is close to the grocery store, so that’s a plus.

    Vista Way, taken from aujord.me
  2. Patterson Court is the newest of the dorms; it was completed in 2008.  It’s also expensive, and there’s no bus stop (if you don’t have a car, it’s a 45-minute bus ride to get to work every morning).  The nearest one is a fifteen-minute walk over in Chatham Square.

    Patterson Court, taken from hannahsdcp.blogspot.com
  3. Chatham Square is your best bet if you don’t own a car, due to the fact that the bus stop is right outside.  It’s located right across the street from Mickey’s Retreat, which is basically a clubhouse for Disney employees.  There’s all sorts of good stuff there: a pool, all different types of courts (tennis, volleyball, basketball, etc.) picnic area, not to mention it’s located on the edge of Little Lake Bryan!  You can bet I’m going there on my days off.
    Chatham Square, taken from racheldoesdisney.wordpress.com
    The marina at Mickey’s Retreat, taken from flickr.com

    4. And finally, there’s the Commons.  The internet is unusually quiet about this location, and that might be because up until recently it was only open to international students.  It’s the most expensive out of all four complexes -but just barely.  The room with the highest rate in the Commons is only four dollars more per week than the one in Patterson Court.

    The Commons, taken from collinsrace1.wordpress.com

    If you want a little more detailed information on the Disney Dorms, I’d visit here or here.  These were my most helpful sources.

    I’m anxious for them to place me so that I can hopefully get in touch with my roommate(s).  With luck, I’ll be put in a room with only one other person, since that’s what I’m used to and frankly, three seems like it would be a bit cramped.

    Even though a random person isn’t ideal, I’m confident that I’ll be able to get along with almost anyone.  If they party?  Great!  We can hit the town together.  If they like to study, that’s fine too.  We can hit the books together.  I’m pretty good at adapting.

    Much love,

    V

    P.S.  Here’s a poem of mine.  Just thought I might share it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    “Don’t forget about that day

    You know the one

    The time you smelled like sunscreen, sea water, salt and sand
    The air smelled fading sun
    Your legs are heavy and your chest is full
    You take a deep breath and your ribs expand until it feels like they might crack
    But it’s fine
    You’re not in pain
    Your lungs are simply overloaded with the fragrance of an evening well spent
    You’re not worrying about the rent that’s due or how you need to buy a new pair of running shoes
    You were running today
    Barefoot, on the beach
    Hard, wet earth under your feet
    The waves washing over your toes like the Lord bathing his disciples
    Baptizing you in foamy water
    You can feel the grains of sand in your hair
    It’s stiff and knotted but you can only grin because what the hell were you doing all day long if you’re not a mess when it’s all over
    Scrapes on your palms
    Blisters on your soles
    The gentle rolling motion of the sea still buoying your mind
    You float, suspended
    As your worries are upended
    Swallowed up by the thin sheets of sleep
    Until we meet again, my friend”

P.P.S. I just saw the Ghostbusters reboot and can I just say that I’m definitely a fan?  Jillian Holtzmann is a lesbian goddess and I 100% support the idea of an Erin/Holtzmann romance.

And seriously, who doesn’t love a crop top with overalls?

The Life and Times of a Bona Fide Homosexual

Hi there!  Today I’ve actually been semi-productive, if you can count ordering an early ballot as productive.

It literally takes five minutes, but I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back because it’s a step in the right direction.  In all seriousness, voting is important, everyone should do it (especially if you’re an American citizen right now), yada yada yada.

Taken from imamsonline.com

Oh, and I did go to church for the first time in forever.  It was purely to make my mom happy, but let me tell you, stepping foot in church was odd.  I felt like I was going to burn the second I sat down.

Why?  I’m gay.  Now, I know you can be gay and religious, but I’m not that kind of gay.  Once I accepted the fact that I fancy the ladies, my ties with Christianity were as good as crucified.  (Ha, ha.  Hopefully God doesn’t smite me for that one.)

Taken from carloswhittaker.com

I don’t think I ever truly believed in the Bible, anyways.  My sexuality just gave me a good excuse to duck out the back door.

After dozing off during a sermon about forfeiting all worldly pleasures in order to follow Jesus, Mom and I went to the movies.  We saw Nerve, the new thriller with Emma Roberts.

Taken from sarahscoop.com.  Just look at those eyebrows!  Dave Franco who?

Let me give you one word of advice, dear readers:  If you are a closeted gay girl, don’t go see Nerve with your mother.  It will be highly uncomfortable.

At least, it was for me.  There’s a scene where Roberts has to streak through a department store.  I could feel my face get beet-red, because my heart was doing little flip-flops and I was sure that Mom could feel the gay vibes rolling off my body in waves.

Don’t make any sudden movements, V! I told myself sternly, using every ounce of self-control not to grip the chair’s armrests in panic.  Just be cool!  God, why can’t you just be cool?!

In retrospect, I’m sure I could’ve just made a passing comment about how hot the guy in the movie was (he was streaking too), but that didn’t occur to me at the time.  And really, how could I possibly be paying any attention to him (Dave Franco, that’s his name, I just looked it up) when Emma Roberts was rapping Wu-Tang Clan and getting a tattoo?

Taken from blogarama.com.  How is she so cute?  How?  My tiny gay heart can’t handle it.

Honestly.I was not prepared for that level of adorableness from Emma Roberts.  And I thought it couldn’t get any better than when she played the narcissistic mean girl in shows like Scream Queens and American Horror Story: Coven!  In the words of Madison Montgomery:

Taken from http://www.reactiongifs.us

At one point my mom leaned over and pointed to another character, whispering, “He’s cute!” to which I replied with a strangled, slightly hysterical sounding, “Yeah!  Yes, ha!”

Stuff like this happens a lot when I’m with my family.  (I’m comfortably out to all my friends, just not my parents.)  Just the other day, we were all in the car and “Same Love” by Macklemore came on the radio.  Nonchalantly, I switched the station.  And “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry started playing.

Are you kidding me?  I was furious.  How could the two gayest songs in recent pop culture have been on two different radio stations, simultaneously? 

Taken from reddit.com

I swear, every time gay rights or the word “lesbian” is uttered on TV, I break out in a cold sweat.  It’s not great.  I should probably work on that.

I should also probably come out to my parents.  I’ve had girls over before under the guise that we’re just friends, and if I thought a three minute Macklemore song was stressful?  Let’s just say I was definitely not prepared.

Deep down, I think my mom knows.  She never asks me about boys anymore because I think she’s a little scared of what my response will be.  Once she found a flyer for an LGBT club under my bed and with a trembling voice said, “V?  You don’t think you’re -gay or anything, do you?”  Hell, she even called my therapist and asked her if I’d mentioned any lesbian activity.

Taken from imgur.com

(My therapist was horrified at the question and answered her with the standard I’m-not-allowed-to-disclose-any-of-the-information-that-my-clients-tell-me-in-our-confidential-sessions speech, but she does know about the aforementioned lesbian activity.)

I want to come out to my mom.  I really do.  But I don’t know how, and at this point in time I’m not sure if she wants me to come out, either.  She’s a small, very religious lady.

If I did come out, I think it would be once I’m halfway across the country at the Happiest Place on Earth.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments!

Until next time,

V

Back to School Jitters

Hello, my good friends!

[Crickets chirp]

I know, I know.  It’s been a while.  But, in my defense, I’ve been very busy avoiding the inevitable, shrugging off all my responsibilities, and being dragged kicking and screaming into adulthood.

All in a day’s work, for an eighteen-year-old, I’d say.

Gif taken from photofunky.net

Even though I’ve taken great care to push any and all stressful situations out of my mind this summer, my departure date for the Disney College Program is getting closer and closer.  I can almost feel the humidity.

In fact, I just finished up registering for two collegiate courses offered by Disney: Corporate Communication and the very intriguing Creativity & Innovation.  I’m thrilled that I was able to actually log into the registration website (www.dorms.disney.com seemed to have a lot of traffic today, considering that I tried to get on the minute they opened enrollment this morning) and sign up for the classes I wanted, but I’m less than thrilled that both classes start at 8:30 am and last for four hours.  I’m not a morning person, and I have the attention span of a gnat.

Gif from gifsec.com

But I’ll suck it up!  No sense in complaining about something you can’t change.

Actually, the early classes might be a blessing in disguise.  That way, I’ll have all afternoon to work.

What I’m even more apprehensive about is the possible avalanche of Disney homework assignments.  I need to work at least 35 hours per week if I want to get full credit for my internship.  By the end of the program, I have to hit 540 hours total.  If I don’t, I’ll lose credits and therefore lose my scholarship at NAU.  Yikes.

Taken from pinterest.com; This is basically who I’m going to turn into.  Especially because I’m almost positive that I’ll try doing homework by the pool at some point, and we all know that’s not going to end well.

I really can’t afford for these classes to take a big chunk out of my availability, and I also don’t want to be drowning in assignments while trying to work full time.  Even so, I’ve been emailing the Disney people like crazy with every little question I can think of and they’ve been extremely patient and helpful.  With luck, I’ll get a boss who’ll do their best to help me sort out any scheduling issues I might have.

I’ve been scouring the internet for any information I can on the Disney classes, but with no results.  Not a single blog entry, or Tweet, or Huffington Post blurb.  That being said, I’ll make sure to keep all of you future DCP hopefuls in the loop on how the classes pan out.

Now, the only big thing I need to do before I leave is register for housing.  Unfortunately, I can’t do this until about two weeks prior to my arrival date.  This makes me nervous.  What if there isn’t any available housing?  What do I do then, sleep in the supply closet of the Haunted Mansion?  (Do they still have that ride?  It was my favorite as a kid.)

Taken from playtivities.com;  Possibly my new home in Orlando if the whole Disney housing thing doesn’t work out.

Oh, well.  I suppose at this point all I can do is wait.

From what I’ve seen online, the Disney apartments look really nice.  Costing around $100 a month, the come fully furnished and include utilities as well as internet.  I’m under the impression that you have to share a room with another person (Just like freshman year, yay!), but then again, I’ve been wrong before.

I don’t mind this arrangement as long as my roommate’s not a total asshole, but like most people, I’d rather have my own space.  For one thing, I never know how people are going to react to the fact that I’m gay.  It certainly makes for an awkward conversation where it’s easy to offend someone.  (“I’m gay, but don’t worry, you’re so not my type.”)

Taken from realitytvgifs.tumblr.com; This is hopefully what my roommate will not be like.

For now, I suppose everything’s peachy.

Ciao!

-V

P.S.  Sorry for all the gifs.  I forgot they existed and then I got pretty psyched when I remembered they were a thing.

 

Checking In, Checking Out

I’m coming to you live from my dorm room where I should be fast asleep, getting some much needed rest before finals week.  I think we both know that there was a fat chance of that ever happening.  Right around finals I always seem to become quite fatalistic.  Que sera, sera and all that jazz.

Because I can’t think of a good segue, I’ll just jump right in.  A few nights ago I went on another urban exploring adventure to an old motel about an hour away from campus.  It was right smack in the middle of nowhere so I knew cops weren’t that big of a threat, but the location was next to a busy highway and a gas station.  To me, it would definitely be worth the risk.

I’d seen the motel on the way back from a spontaneous day trip and I hadn’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since.  There were three buildings that made up the property and I thought they looked beautiful, what with the reddish-brown and turquoise color scheme.  At first I wasn’t even sure if the motel was abandoned, but after a little research I determined that it shut down about 5 months ago.  The only real clues that it was closed for business would have to be the absence of cars in the parking lot and the tall weeds sprouting from all the cracks in the pavement.

Here’s an aerial view of the main complex from commercialsearch.com

I was kind of scared that we’d end up busting into a room and frightening a weary business man who was in bed watching an old rerun of Seinfeld or something.

Nevertheless, I still headed out there one evening with my coworker and her boyfriend.

I was excited because my lock picking set had just arrived in the mail and I couldn’t wait to try it out.  The practice lock it had come with posed no real challenge for me.  I was confident that the motel doors would be quite simple to pick, as long as there were no deadbolts.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t been able to practice as much as I would’ve liked.  There aren’t too many locks in the dorms aside from the ones on your neighbor’s doors.  My own dorm lock was quickly picked by yours truly, but I broke it in the process.  Oops.  (Luckily I was able to get it replaced for free, since I claimed that it suddenly stopped working out of the blue.)

Either way, I figured if I couldn’t pick the locks on the doors I could always just do the old credit card trick and we’d get inside just fine.

When we arrived at the motel it was nighttime and a storm was brewing.  Total horror movie weather.  I half expected Freddy Kruger to be waiting for us at the bottom of the motel’s pool or something.  But no, there was only a hubcap, a bucket, and an life preserver in the sludgy green water.

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I was a little nervous when we pulled into the complex because there were two cars in the parking lot.  The truck had a flat tire so we reckoned that they hadn’t been moved in a while, but I didn’t want to startle anyone who might have been living in one of the vehicles.  We didn’t see another soul that night, thank goodness.

The porch lights were all still on… it was eerie.

The first attempt at breaking into a room proved unsuccessful.  Apparently my lock picking skills weren’t as good as I’d hoped, and the credit card trick was useless.  I think I’m going to invest in a bump key for next time.  Andrew* finally just took a screwdriver and pried open the door.

Most of the furniture was still there, but the rooms themselves were a mess.  Some had carpet torn up, some had the air conditioning units ripped out of the walls, in one we found a big ball of insulation in the bathtub, etc.  There was a TV on every single nightstand.  That really made me wonder.  Why was this motel abandoned in such a hurry that these things weren’t hauled away or sold?

Perhaps the creepiest moment came when we walked into the third or fourth unit.  There was an armchair positioned in the middle of the room directly in front of the mirror.  Not the TV, the mirror.  I got chills up my spine when I saw that, but I’m easily spooked so I tried to just brush it off.  We poked around for a few minutes, then turned to leave.

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I grabbed the doorknob and twisted.  It refused to budge.  I fiddled with the lock.  Still nothing.

“Uh, guys?” I said in a shaky voice.  We had two seconds before I busted a window.

Luckily, Andrew remained calm and jimmied us out of there with our trusty screwdriver, but I’d been rattled.

We poked around a little more (and discovered some lovely graffiti), but decided to leave once Claire* said she found evidence that someone might be living in a room.  Apparently there were bags of clothes and blankets in one of the units.

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All in all, it was a nice urban exploring trip to distract me from the exams that are coming up.

Hope you’re having a great week,

-V

P.S.  I’ve submitted the manuscript of my latest novel to several agents, so hopefully I’ll hear back from them in a few weeks.  I’ve already gotten a few rejection letters but I’m not discouraged!

Actually, I participated in the Twitter event where on April 19th, marginalized writers were encouraged to tweet a pitch for their novels that had diverse characters and themes with the hashtag #DVpit.  (My book is about teen mental illness and features a queer protagonist, so if that’s not diverse I don’t know what is.)  If a literary agent liked your tweet, that meant they were interested in your idea and wished to receive a query letter from you.  I didn’t expect much, so I was ecstatic when an agent liked my tweet.

My fingers are crossed!

 

*Names have been changed

Why I’m Probably Going to Die Young

If I don’t get arrested fairly soon, there’s a good chance that I’ll get murdered. One of these two unfortunate occurrences will happen to me. I guarantee it.

And one way I can guarantee it is by doing Incredibly Stupid Dangerous Things. I’m a college student. College students are invincible, right?

Wrong.

Lucky for me, I haven’t had to find this out the hard way. Yet. Stay tuned, though, since it can’t be long now.

One particularly grand lapse of judgment I had came one night when I was bored out of my mind.

Take some advice from me: if you’re ever in college and bored out of your mind, get a hobby. A nice, productive hobby like knitting or partying! Don’t follow in my footsteps.

I proceeded to go on an app called Yik Yak. If you’re a student yourself, you’ve probably heard of this app. It allows you to post anonymously, and your messages can only be see by people located in your immediate area. It’s especially popular on campus because, well, everyone’s in the same place.

Image from play.google.com
Yik Yak can be used for good. You can vent on it, encourage people on it, hell, once I even scored two pieces of bread from someone in my dorm because I asked on Yik Yak.  I made a fabulous sandwich that day.

There is a sketchy side of this app, like most things in the world. People frequently try to hook up on it and sell drugs, among other less favorable activities.

Yik Yak is also a way for people to make anonymous threats, unfortunately.  Image from statepress.com
As I was scrolling through my feed, I came across a post that was asking if anyone wanted to go to an abandoned town with them. I looked it up and it was 40 miles away from civilization. I was willing to bet that there were already like, 4 bodies buried there somewhere. Maybe a serial killer who skinned and ate cats had made the town their home base. At the very least there was probably a hungry animal or two hiding out in the buildings.

But, like I explained to you in my last entry, I have a penchant for urban exploring. So, little five-foot-nothing me replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes! Take me!”

Most plans I’ve tried to make on Yik Yak fell through, so I was sufficiently surprised when the guy actually showed up.

Oh, it was nighttime by the way. I felt like I was in a bad horror movie.

I walked over to this guy’s Honda CRV and peered in the window. I didn’t see any tools, blood, or dismembered body parts lying around, and there was a Star Wars bumper sticker on the back window. Everything seemed okay.

As soon as I slid in the passenger seat I said, “I have pepper spray. So. You know.”

“I know what?”

I blinked.

“Don’t try anything.”

“I wasn’t planning on trying anything. I was more worried about picking up a dangerous girl who might murder me and leave me for dead.”

I busted out laughing. Me? Secretly I hated carrying pepper spray because I knew in the unlikely event that I’d have to use it, there was a high probability I’d end up spraying myself.

Image from funnyjunk.com
Anyways, I went to the abandoned town of Two Guns in the middle of the night with a complete stranger. You can see why I’m going to die young.

Please enjoy the following pictures documenting my poor life choices.

Much love,

-V

Taken inside of the abandoned gas station. I also found a lot of documents from ancestry.com in here. I wonder what someone was trying to find in their family history.

This is part of an abandoned zoo, where the owner was allegedly killed by a mountain lion.
  

The main part of the gas station

An old cage from the abandoned zoo
P.S. Later I went back during the daytime, so here are a few more…

I think this was some sort of tiny hotel, since there was a pool and what looked like a pool storage shed or restrooms located next to it.

Inside the tiny hotel

Here’s the front of the gas station.
Inside the tiny hotel
Taken from the bottom of the pool
This is the back door of the tiny hotel

Possibly part of the old zoo