Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Dear Bob Cassilly,

My guy, WHAT were you smoking when you created City Museum? Whatever it was, it was some good stuff. City Museum is like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life — in person or in movies/on TV. Not even “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” comes close to this crazy place.

When I moved to St. Louis, people kept telling me I needed to visit. However, I don’t like museums. (It’s true. I’m sorry. But I don’t think you do either.) Finally, my friend Kate said that it is not a museum in any traditional sense of the word. She tried to describe it, then basically gave up.

“You have to see it,” she said. “It’s … sensory overload.”

So I went. And she’s right.

City Museum is like a museum in the way that I am like Beyoncé: barely any resemblance in form or function.

It is a building that houses artifacts — artifacts presented in chaos. It’s a 10-story fever dream.

I’ve now been four times.

Why?

You created notable features such as:

• An actual school bus cantilevered on the top floor over the street

• A Ferris wheel on top of the building

• A 10-story slide

• A five-story slide (that has not been open any of the four times I’ve been)

• A cave system

• The world’s largest (maybe) pair of underpants

• Two airplanes

I can’t even begin to summarize what is there. And every time I go, I discover something new.

Dominic and Gideon were in town, and I said we were going. They, like me, are not into museums. I said, “Hold that thought.”

Neither of them could believe what you created. Dominic lamented that, at 6’2″, he is too big for some of the tunnels.

“I wish we had come here when I was a kid.”

I fully agree. This could have entertained them for HOURS, and they would have slept well. (Every parent knows a day that wears out the kids is a good day.)

Here is just a sample of what we got into at your creation.

A seagull disgorges Dominic.
Gideon finds a tunnel under the first floor. No, thank you.
Dominic goes where I won’t.
This is the entrance to a slide. Seriously.
The caged bird yells, “Take my picture!”
My hips don’t lie, nor do they fit in this opening.
Dominic makes it to the top of one of two castles.

Speaking of the castles:

I’m sorry, TWO WHAT NOW?

There were a few moments where I worried about their safety and mine. I was right to worry. From the actual City Museum website:

The do-it-yourself, trying-anything nature of the museum led, not surprisingly, to injuries and, also not surprisingly, to dozens of personal injury suits. Mr. Cassilly’s response was to post telephone numbers of lawyers at the door.

The kids and I developed the habit of them going first into some cave/tunnel/hole to do reconnaissance then reporting back about the viability for me.

This tunnel was not for me.
But this one was ok.

Yes, I used my own children as canaries in a coal mine.

I make no apologies. They were willing participants. And had a fabulous time.

I’m sorry you died an untimely death — a death that turns out not to have been a bulldozer accident. L’esclandre!

And I love that people who love City Museum can also live there.

It’s not for me (not enough windows or, you know, standard amenities), but I recognize the appeal.

So thanks, Bob, for never growing up. For creating a place so outlandish there is no equal.

Your fan,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Coronavirus:

Why are you still here? I hate you so much. I’ve managed to avoid you for more than two years (safety first!), but you finally got me.

How? I don’t know. You tell me!

Having an incubation period of 2-14 days makes tracking source difficult.

All I know is that I got my second booster Friday. By Sunday, I had a sore throat. I took two tests from two different companies. Both negative.

See? Negative.

On Monday, I felt like crap: headache, body pain. I was already scheduled to go to a new doctor to establish care.

Me: I got the second booster Friday and feel terrible today.
Her: That’s the booster. I wouldn’t have recommended you get the second one so soon.
Me: They recommended after six months.
Her: Yeah, but you don’t have comorbidities.
Me: Right.

The cough started Tuesday.

The runny nose started yesterday.

I decided to take another test.

Uh oh.

And then another from a different brand.

I was furious and mortified.

I spent my weekend living my best life as the infection vector I apparently am: garden tour and antiques fair with neighbors, dinner with a colleague, handyman direction on wall patches, “Stranger Things” with my sister, card games with neighbors.

So I had to issue various and sundry mea culpas.

It’s possible I was exposed to you on my flight home from Savannah: Two hours on the runway (weather delay), an hour at the gate (more fuel), an hour in the air. I was one of only three people wearing a mask (because, of course, you no longer exist 🙄).

I don’t know.

I do know that I had another busy week/weekend planned, including lunch for about 15 family members at my place. But now, thanks to you, I will spend the next 5-10 days on my own with just Leo Richardson to keep me company.

Leo, who also is not feeling well.

Leo, the cat who (likely) got COVID.

Gee, I wonder how he could have caught COVID. (Note: I am not kissing the cat. He was sleeping on my shoulder, and I turned my head for the pic.)

So thanks SO MUCH for your continued presence in all of our lives.

(Sarcasm is my love language.)

Your new BFF,
Typhoid Mary
‘Rona Beth

*Manic Street Preachers’ ninth studio album. Worth a listen.

Read Full Post »

When Vladimir Putin isn’t being an international jerk, he’s at Market Tavern singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Dear Hanley Market Tavern Regulars:

You sure know how to make a girl feel special. A little bit too special in a zoo exhibit kind of way.

When my friend Nick told me there was a “rough” pub in town that featured karaoke on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, I was agog.

Afternoon karaoke at a “rough” pub?

Yes, please.

Jesse’s Divide was opening for Nashville Pussy in Hanley, so I decided to go.

As they were playing on a Wednesday, I made a little trip to Market Tavern before I met my friend Hannah at the show.

I walked in to someone warbling a song I didn’t recognize. Then I realized it was supposed to be “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” That’s a bad AND good sign. It’s a good sign of bad karaoke.

Perfect.

I got a drink and chose a seat at the back of the bar where I could sit alone and not draw attention. Smart move.

It was in front of the men’s room. Not a smart move.

My first gentleman caller was a man with a fully tattooed face. Think knockoff version of The Enigma.

He asked me if was going to sing.

At least, I think that’s what he asked me.

He could have asked me if he could dismember me in the Gents, and I wouldn’t have known.

He was 102 and drunk with a very thick Stokie accent that was hard for these American ears to understand.

My view from the hostess stand for the men’s room.

My next new friend was a man with four teeth and four iron cross tattoos. Delightful! He also sported a Confederate flag wristband.

He wanted to know if I had a boyfriend.

I toyed with the idea of saying, “Yes. He’s a Jewish man of color from Poland.” I think I could have made him explode “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style.

An older woman at the next table came over.

Her: Are you alright on your own there?

Me: Oh, yes. I’m fine, thank you.

Her: You’re American!

Me: Yes. What am I doing in the middle of Hanley, right?

Her: Well, yes.

She went to the loo, and I checked my phone for word from Hannah. I suddenly felt hands touching my shoulders. I yelped and turned around.

Creepy George: I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.

Me: Well, you did. Please do not touch me.

Didn’t mean to startle me? Someone who doesn’t know you and has her back to you? What did he expect? “Hi handsome! Please come back to my temporary accommodation for stranger boning.”

When I went to the bathroom, I took my drink. Women know why.

Meanwhile, the show went on. It was definitely a crying-in-your-beer kind of vibe.

I Recall a Gypsy Woman” by Don Williams (!) was about the peppiest thing.

I knew it was time for me to leave when I heard what sounded like Fozzy Bear singing “Love on the Rocks.”

Leaving was cemented as a plan when my last gentleman caller insisted on a conversation:

Him: You’re an American.

Me: Yes.

Him: You’re drinking Guinness.

Me: Yes.

Him: I’m going to get you one, and I’m going to talk to you.

Me: (checks watch) I’m leaving in three minutes.

Him: Then I’ll take three minutes of your time.

My lady friend heard this exchange. “It’s because you’re new in here,” she said.

Yes. It was like Fisher Price: My First American.

I waved goodbye to her and the insistent fellow getting our drinks and headed out the side door.

Thank you all for giving me fodder for this blog.

I’ll be back.

Your new American friend,
Beth

* No one sang anything by The Carpenters, sadly.

Read Full Post »

Dear Sue,

You win.

Your water fitness class almost made me tap out. That would have been a first.

I don’t know if it is because it has been a while since I went to a class (<cough> six months <cough>) or whether it is because you are hard core.

Either way, I had jelly legs at the end of the class.

So thank you.

This pool is great for families (see water slides) but not so great for fitness courses in the deep end. I actually accidentally touched another participant because of the proximity. EEEK.

Not your fault.

I laughed when you shouted, “We always like men in here” to the man picking out a water noodle. To be fair, he did suggest he could be a shark among the mermaids (yuck).

And I appreciate that you gave the chatty ladies hell. (No, lady with pink hair, I don’t want to hear another word about your elbow, thankyouverymuch.)

Anyway, as that great sage Arnold Schwarzenegger said: “I’ll be back.”

Sincerely,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Kara,

I was SO HAPPY to see you Saturday night.

In general, of course, but also because you too wanted to wear a mask to see our brother Lodell play in his Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band.

Diamond Music Hall was SOMETHING ELSE.

I had no idea this place had COVID repellent. They need to bottle it and sell it.

I mean, CLEARLY they have some kind of protection because there were 4,352 people inside and no mask in sight.

Yikes!

I walked in and started hyperventilating. I told Lodell that he’d be the last person I’d see pre-infection.

It was a super-spreader event, for sure. Great for the band to have so many fans. Not great for my health.

But you showed up and normalized mask wearing.

The fear is real.

I am grateful.

I’m also oddly grateful to the nearby couple who decided a Southern rock show was a good place to practice the dance moves they learned after Bible study.

They were fascinating.

And Freebird USA put on a great show.

I’m a fan.

I’m willing to go out again, but only if you are with me in mask solidarity.

Deal?

Your sister,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Missouri Drivers,

I’m so glad I learned to drive in Atlanta where Nascar has nothing on I-285. If I hadn’t, there’s no way I would have been prepared for you.

Perhaps you didn’t get any drivers education. Let me help.

Pro Tip 1
People getting onto the highway need to be able to merge. Let them in, for crying out loud!

Pro Tip 2
When someone has his/her/their turn signal on, that means the person wants to get over. Oh but wait, none of you seems to know what that is.

Pro Tip 3
The turn signal is a lever on your steering wheel that, when activated, lets other drivers know you want to make a turn or get into a different lane. You are in the Show Me state, so show me your freakin’ turn signal.

Pro Tip 4
It’s helpful to other drivers for you to pick a lane and STAY IN IT. Weaving in and out is annoying and dangerous.

Pro Tip 5
The posted speed limit is not a suggestion. It’s the max. It’s right there on the sign!

Maybe y’all drive this way to avoid all the potholes and road damage.

Seriously, these roads are about as bad as the ones I had the misfortune of driving in Antigua. That’s saying something.

Please, for the love of God, think of your fellow drivers.

I thank you from the bottom of my wheel wells.

Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear People with “Just a Cold,”

Maybe you do have a cold. But also, you might have COVID. Let’s recap the Omicron symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose

That’s right: Also symptoms of a cold.

So before you get around anyone, TAKE A COVID TEST. They are available in stores (you can use your FSA/HSA), and there are free testing sites all over the place.

If it’s positive, ISOLATE, FFS.

And let’s be clear: You shouldn’t be around anyone if you have a cold either.

It’s because of one of you that my son and sister in law had a lonely Christmas.

Gideon hung out with some friends. Two days later, he didn’t feel well. Typical cold symptoms. We sent him to his room. Tested him: positive. Then Eddie, Dominic and I tested ourselves: negative. We waited a day. Tested again. Negative. Waited. Tested. Negative.

Only then did we feel like we were safe to be around other people.

Even though we didn’t have any symptoms.

See how that works? Protecting others?

We just tested again to be safe.

Waiting for results
Still negative

But Christmas 2021 is the one Gideon will remember as the one where we made him wear what amounted to a HazMat suit to open his gifts.

Poor Positive Gideon

I haven’t ever gotten Coronavirus [knocks wood], and I don’t plan to get it. I’m not taking chances.

The bottom line: If you think you have a cold, get tested anyway. Don’t be a Typhoid Mary.

Somehow this manages to sum up this Christmas.

Kthxbyeeee,
Beth

* To the tune of this classic.

Read Full Post »

Dear St. Louis Wildlife,

I’m going to have to ask you to stay in your lane.

Spiders, please stay out of my basement.

Squirrels, please stop looking in my bedroom window.

Birds, please don’t come into my house.

I got home last night and opened my front door to get the mail. One of you flew in uninvited. Then had the nerve to fly upstairs.

My dustmop and I followed.

Luckily, your fowl emissary was smart. He (she?) settled on the floor. I gently placed the dustmop on top of him (her?) until I could grab a hand towel. I wrapped the scout in the hand towel, and we both went outside.

My niece said she thinks it’s a House Sparrow (which would be appropriate) or that I’m a Disney princess.

I had to make your rep skedaddle by flapping the towel.

But why? There’s nothing for any of you inside. No supply of worms. No room to fly high. No comfy nest.

Stay outside!

This is not the first time you outside critters have been lured by the great indoors, though. In my first apartment in Savannah, a rat came up from the dumpster outside. (I lived above a famous Southern restaurant. Loads of food waste.)

Luckily, my friend Brenon was on patrol with an ax handle. He went ham. Sorry, Remy.

That was the same night my immediate downstairs neighbor dealt with a bat from the chimney. And the neighbor below her had a random cat in heat show up.

Rat. Bat. Cat.

What’s up with that?

Anyway, you stay in your habitat, and I’ll stay in mine.

Thanks!
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Netherworld:

For some reason, I’ve never had a burning desire to visit you. I guess I prefer “real” haunted houses/places.

“Fake” ones rely on jump scares, which are too much like pranks for me.

However, when your children — whom you haven’t seen in almost two weeks — want you to go with them someplace, you say, “Yes.” Or at least I do.

Our group consisted of three moms and five teenage boys, ages 15-16.

Someone needs to shave.

Here are the things that I found scary upon arrival:

  • The ticket price. It was $30 each. Yikes!
  • The porta potties outside didn’t have lights inside them.
  • The lack of masks indoors. COVID isn’t gone, y’all!

Once inside, there were other things to scare me:

  • Just as I started to walk in, the dude pulling back the curtain stuck his hand in front of my face. I screamed from shock. Then giggled because HOW DUMB?!?
  • A huge animatronic demon face bum-rushed me and shoved me into a wall.
  • The floors were designed to match the “rooms.” Squishy flooring to represent grass in a cemetery, for example. What’s scary about that? The broken-ankle potential. I don’t need that again.
  • There was a corridor of clowns. HORRIFYING. I loathe clowns.
  • Each of the two haunted houses ends with a chainsaw-wielding madman. Or three. I loathe chainsaw-wielding madmen. (That comes from a certain movie seen at an impressionable age.)
  • One of the boys’ friends putting on a badass act. “What? I can’t help it if I’m not scared.” OK, then, Buzzkill.

I did have a good time, though. One of the best things was the boy banter.

Dominic: Gideon, be careful they don’t put you in one of the exhibits.
Gideon: What?
Dominic: “Oh, here’s another skeleton.”
Dylan: More bones, all Fernbank style.
Gideon (laughing): My superhero name can be Bones.
Dominic: I feel like this right here is a villain origin story.

I’ll probably see you next year.

Happy Halloween!
Beth

Read Full Post »

Missouri State Penitentiary: They’ll leave one light on for you.

Dear Jenny,*

Thanks for the tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. You took 28 people on a wild ride through the site’s terrible past. More than 168 years of torture at the hands of the government and factory owners. Delightful!

The tale of the young woman starved in the “blind cell” was more horrifying than the prospect of any phantoms, as was the experience of being in there — especially knowing that of the thousands of keys needed for the prison doors, there are only four left. Four!

What was as incredible as your stories was the fact that I was the only guest wearing a mask.

Not only is COVID not gone, but I’m not interested in breathing in 168 years of lead paint, asbestos and general prison dust.

Thanks, but no thanks.

And it’s not like anyone was social distancing either. Not even the ghosts.

While you were at one end of Death Row talking about shifting floor shadows, I was having my own spooky moment.

I moved to the back of the tour to get away from a lady who insisted on being right at my elbow. I wasn’t alone. There were about four or five people on my left, with everyone else on the right.

You made us all put away our phones, and you turned off your flashlight.

It was so dark.

But I felt fine. I was surrounded by people, after all. I FELT THEM near me.

But then my left side got really cold. Just my left. My right was warm.

The guy on my right took out his phone.

In the light from it, I realized there was NO ONE STANDING NEXT TO ME ON THE LEFT SIDE.

So that was fun. 😬

I’d like to say I captured the presence on my phone. But no. This is just me trying to put my phone away.

I was glad when the tour got going again.

The last stop was the gas chamber — same as it was for 40 inmates.

No ghosts here, which is surprising.

I was also surprised to learn that residents nearby were told to leave their houses for four hours when an execution was scheduled.

Cyanide in sulfuric acid is a bitch.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge. We all learned something and some of us even got the ghost add-on package.

Your creeped-out guest,
Beth

*I cannot hear this name without hearing it the way Tom Hanks says it as Forrest Gump: “JEN-AY!”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »