We drove for hours in what felt like evacuation traffic yesterday afternoon to get to St. Francisville, where we were headed for some R&R and a bike ride to fundraise for diabetes. We should have taken the traffic as a sign to turn back, but we didn’t.
Hours earlier, I had called the B&B where we were staying to ask some questions and got a chilly reception from the woman who answered. I should have taken that as a sign not to go, but I didn’t.
We arrived at the B&B, Butler Greenwood Plantation, I went to the main house and the woman said, “You don’t have a reservation,” before I could get the kink out of my driving leg or say hello. I said we do, my name is Rachel Dangermond. She looked behind me to where Tatjana was getting Wolfie and Loca out of the truck to give them a quick spin so they could stretch and pee, and said, “You did not make a reservation for dogs.”
I said I did, we reserved here because we could bring dogs. She said, “The dogs are not allowed on the porch, or near another cabin, and never to be off leash.” I said, don’t worry. She said, “They are not allowed on any porch.” I said, they’re not going on a porch. She said, “They are on the porch!” I turned and saw Tatjana walking them – Loca headed in one direction sniffing and Wolfie headed in another and I called to her “Don’t let the dogs on the porch!”
Tatjana narrowed her eyes at me. I should have taken that as a sign to leave, but we didn’t.
The woman went on to say the dogs had to be on a leash three times as if she had Tourette’s syndrome. I said, no problem and smiled. Then she proceeded to lecture me on where the dogs could be – in front, in back, never on this side, never off leash, never by another cabin. I wanted to turn around and get back in the truck and come home, but I smiled and said thanks.
She proceeded with more rules – “Are you going to leave the dogs in the cottage by themselves when you go out to dinner?” No, we aren’t going to dinner, I said. “No dogs are allowed on our furniture.” My dogs don’t get on furniture, I brought their beds. Still smiling.
Then I asked her how far the high school was because the bike ride on Saturday morning started from there. She said it is a half mile down the road but you cannot bike there because of the road construction. I sighed, went back to the truck and drove towards the Gazebo cottage.
I got to the cottage, half crippled by my psoas that had constricted to a leathery knot, we unloaded the truck and put everyone in the makeshift yert or gazebo as they wanted it to be known. There were stained glass church windows hermetically sealing the yert into one claustrophobic, airless, sightless prison. Outside, on the wraparound porch, there was one plastic chair on it – one lonely chair – remember the rule of relaxation and nirvana? two chairs. Another portent.
I tried to take a deep breath. Tatjana tried to calm my nerves. We decided to have a beer then take the dogs for a walk – to the front (allowed), on leash (allowed) – so they could unwind as well. I had this feeling that instead of booking with relaxonthebeach.com like we did last weekend, we were now booked at stressonthepond.com.
Then we walked to the front, under the spooky mossy oak trees. I was musing how the last owner of Oak Alley had all the moss removed from the alley of oaks because they scared her. Lightning bugs were igniting everywhere and charmed us out of our mood. We then came back to the yert and went inside.
The claustrophobia started again.
The dirty sponge, the roach, the dogs panting and circling, all wound up, the two burned tortillas till I got it right and finally made us a wrap, the feeling that we had no place to sit, to unwind, to see outside. The peacock roaming the grounds squacking loudly and shaking the dingle berries on top of his head back and forth, as if he too, wanted out, had gone nuts here at stressonthepond.com.
I set the alarm and got my biking gear together. We lit incense. We ate our wrap. Then T put me in bed and gave me such a deep massage I fell fast asleep.
But I awoke at 3AM, my heart racing, anxiety attacking me from all angles – I hate this place! I don’t want to ride my bike on roads that are being torn up! Fuck the doyene of Butler Greenwood and her plantation rules (read: it ain’t a plantation, the yert/gazebo is kitsch-o-rama, our house is way better). I had tried to zen her back, smile, not let her ruffle my feathers, give her the benefit of the doubt (bad day?), but now all I could think in my own Tourette’s fashion was we’re so outta here!
I write this from home, safe on the bayou, all of the family – Bam Bam, Wolfie, Tatjana, Loca and me are SO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT THE LALA, we kissed the ground we entered. Coincidentally, I was wearing a tee shirt that said DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS?
Then this was my horoscope:
May 30, 2009
Mutual respect may feel like a dying art today when you are forced to deal with someone who uses arrogance to get their way. Luckily, the encounter will be fairly brief. You can try to teach them a lesson if you really want to, but it might be much more amusing if you just let them behave the way they want to and just walk away, laughing. You cannot be responsible for the behavior of other people, so do not let yourself get caught up in it.