Am I dead yet? Well, by all accounts I ought to be balancing eye-pennies and stretching mouth sutures while my sewn-on tendrils drape down the satin insides of a pine box. Oh, but no. I'm merely displaced so that the other pests that occupy my domicile can be toxically exterminated by way of a circus tent apparatus draped over my house.
"Seems like an awfully dramatic way to deal with your crabs," my neighbor snides as giant rolls of covering material pile out of a moving truck and on to my lawn.
"I'm tenting as we speak," I look down toward where leg meets leg, hopefully … and hopelessly. This debugging will not require a tiny comb. What it will require, however, is a fumigation vacation, a prospect I've been oddly fascinated with for the past two weeks. Alan and I are pretending to go on holiday by checking in for three nights at the Hard Rock Hotel. He will work. I will not, choosing instead to take time off so that I might strap on some unseemly sunglasses, a sarong and a giant woven-brimmed hat. Then, in character, I'll assume an accent and stumble in heels down endless halls in search of celebrity, drunk-bumping along walls like a celebutante past her prime, hoping to fall into an empty space where I might sleep it all off. I've got it all figured out … for one night only.
Two days into our extermination excursion, just one $23 room service cheeseburger later, and I'm barely able to remember my intended script of middle-age depravity. The irony has descended into the dull hum of daytime TV news about a town I haven't even left and plastic-cupped, self-prepared screwdrivers to make the ticking of the clock go away. At best, I've outsmarted the minibar. And that's something, right?
Well, considering that last night's foray into resort-lobby mingle-pussing brought the sour taste of a corporate motivational affair closed off with velvet ropes, I hardly think I can be blamed. I'm lucky not to be shivering and biting my knees as a result of the absurdity: 200 or so airline employees elbow-to-gut in line-dance formation, led by two tiny Hispanics on a makeshift stage. "Pump that money, pump pump that money," they queened over a bumping dance beat, while a cross section of white middle America Wonder-breaded along to the best of their loosened-tie and wrinkle-free dress abilities.
I'm better off watching Tyra Banks in my own room, thank you. And huffing Raid.
In order to relieve myself from my self-imposed luxury-resort solitude, I've contacted my best friend, Taylor, and begged him to trek his way out here.
"We can go to, um, the park!"
"Um, OK … ."
A few jokes about the Florence Henderson situation flipping like a mullet on the back of my head, and we're on our way. Well, almost.
"They have Cyndi Lauper's dress on the second floor, and I'm totally not kidding," I bop.
"Um, OK …," he clearly doesn't wanna have fun.
But I do. I suggest that I break the glass, throw on the dress and wobble around the pool like I've misplaced my other prescription for Xanax. He suggests we head to the park. He wins.
We both do, really. Say what you want about predictable theme-park affairs, but the sheer clutter, clamor and overstatement of Islands of Adventure is worth the price of admission mostly because it's free for me and mine. We make our way around the swirly loop-de-loop of the park, hitting just about every ride at a record clip. A sort of childlike giddiness peculiar to gay people on weekdays overcomes us as we're yanked, flipped and drenched by any number of hydraulic gravity modifiers, and for the first time in a long while, we're both able to return to the spines of our existence. Meaning, we're primed and ready to make fun of people.
Some sort of unfortunate-faced Cro-Magnon oafs on by, all pierced and dyed to forever, and immediately we're fashioning our own brand of passive-aggressive, point-and-laugh Ambush Makeover.
"You really shouldn't draw attention to your face," Taylor checks for an inseam. "It doesn't seem to be working for you."
"Perhaps an 'I'm With Stupid' shirt would help," I clip a nipple ring.
We are very, very funny. And very thirsty. Although Taylor no longer partakes of liquor, he's kind enough to humor my self-medication and sidestep into a bar.
"Do you think they have a pot brownies-and-Diet Coke special?" I wonder out loud.
"Junkie," he shoots me down.
"What? It's like a sorority speedball!"
"No, you're a sorority speedball!" etc.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Taylor and I take a dip in the pool (where I expose my own clipped nipples for the first time since my friend Jessica's boyfriend's birthday party last winter … oh, the hilarity) and order a Cobb salad and cheese fries, because we're very cultured. In the periphery, the dreamy chef from The Kitchen restaurant is filming a TV show called Let's Cook; it's almost enough to make me want to eat. But not really. And although I hoped to encounter celebrity in some capacity, I'm content to push around my cheese fries and wonder, "What do you think Men at Work are doing?" (aloud, again).
And as if I had conjured him out of potatoes and Velveeta, lead singer Colin Hay takes a seat two tables over from us, flanked by none other that Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. Rather than pique my interest, this sudden development only makes my liver ache, as if I've inhaled some sick fumes of irrelevant '80s toxicity or at least partially digested a Vegemite sandwich.
"I'm tired, you?" Taylor rolls his eyes into the back of his head.
And perhaps a little dead.