Of all the alter egos I am likely to possess in a lifetime, this will never be one of them:
Instead, and regardless of the fact that I am unfortunately too young to ever have been one in real life, disco queen is much more my style:
Both of which are alter egos I actually did in fact try to possess for a time in my late teens/early twenties. Alas, I am tone deaf. So out with the rock star dreams and in with university attendance where I mucked about with Art History and Photography while wallowing way too much under the seemingly disparate influences of Helmut Newton and Barbara Krueger. They are punk. I was not.
The point is, you’ll never catch Moi hippie-ing it out. I would in fact rather stab myself in the eyeballs repeatedly with a thistle-coated smudge stick than spend my days floating along in floor length broom skirts and over sized peasant blouses while proclaiming to friends and relatives that they are now to refer to Moi as Star Child or Moon Woman. Hell, I can’t even smoke pot. All it does is send me on a crazed quest to divest my local 7-11 of its entire supply of Cool Ranch Doritos (and vast tubs of processed guacamole while we’re at it), all the while glancing in a paranoid dither over my shoulders for the cops.
So you can imagine my surprise when, after an hour and a half of hair pin turns up Highway 15 into the Heart of Darkness that is the Gila Wilderness (during which Moi alternated between being sick to her stomach and terrified for her life despite S.B.'s European race car driver expertise), we pitched up expecting this:
But instead got this:
the ne plus ultra of hippie digs. And our home for the next three million, I mean three, days of our Gila Wilderness explorations.
Talk about funky. And I don’t mean funky in a fabulous disco queen kind of way, either. I mean funky according to the Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition: “Smells way too much like patchouli.”
Which is just fine if we're paying, say, $30 a night. But NOT fine if we're paying three bazillion times as much. For the price of what we would most likely spend to stay at a fabulous island resort, S.B. and I found ourselves unceremoniously installed in a two-room “suite” boasting a narrow bed as lumpy and aged as this guy:
a shower curtain decorated with just about every strain of mold known to God and MIT chemistry grads, floors so crunchified that I never once was without at least flip flops, and dust so thick on the lampshades and table tops it must have been there since Billy the Kid waddled around along the banks of the Gila River in his diapers.
Well, as S.B. says: That’s the Internet for ya.
It allows photos like this:
to suck you into signing up for hot springs paradise, where every morning is redolent with the smell of brewing coffee and freshly baked bread and the evenings are spent under a cottonwood canopy enjoying a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc and complimentary cookies.
When in the really real world, you get:
1. Absentee owners who seem to care not so much about running a hospitality business as they do about tripping themselves off on their own last minute whim adventure while leaving their guests to fend for themselves. Hell, I made my own coffee.
2. Hot springs? More like moldy-rocked pools a sizzlin' along at five bazillion degrees Fahrenheit so that you had not a chance in hell of soaking yourself without permanent scarring. That’s because, oh yeah, the owner, who usually regulates the pools’ temperatures, was MIA.
3. Not so much a charming bed and breakfast as a kind of glorified frat house, where friends and neighbors come and go as they please, mainly into the very same hot springs for which YOU’RE paying mucho dinero but in which they get to soak for FREE – and who are immune to scarring because soaking and getting stoned is ALL THEY DO IN LIFE, and they've therefore built up quite an immunity. As well as an aversion, it seems, to clothing. So not only is your mucho dinero-ed space being invaded by hippies, it’s being invaded by nekkid hippies.
Looks like the concept of customer service is something else that doesn’t make it up the Highway 15 pass very often, either.