October 19, 2014

Big Sur

It’s October, which means it’s my favorite time of year: Ghost Story Blog Post Time! As you probably know by now (assuming you've been a loyal reader from the start…if not, see past Halloween posts) I have had some peculiar experiences in the past. Some can be chalked up as my conscious psyching me out, others I have undoubtedly ruled as “haunting experiences”. I think this one errs on the side of “haunting experience”, let me know what you think:

Moving to Monterey was one of the scariest moves of my adult life. Unlike Santa Barbara and San Francisco, I was not in college, so I had to rely solely on my "winning personality" to make friends and meet new people. Thankfully after I have a drink in my system I become 'Little Miss Chatter-Box'; a month into living in Monterey I had a pretty solid group of friends, most of whom I’m still close with today. That first month though, that was torture. It was incredibly quiet and I spent way too much time going on adventures alone. My roommates were great and always inclusive, but they had their own lives.

One Sunday I decided to take a drive to Big Sur, specifically to a small store I had gone to once on a childhood vacation. I really didn't know much about it aside from remembering it sold Dream Catchers and Native American Art. I had no clue what it was called, or how far down the scenic highway it was, but I was determined to find it. 

I lucked out with the perfect weather for my adventure. The sun was shining and it was virtually wind-free; naturally I stopped along the way to take photos of the breathtaking scenery.

One of many photos from the drive.
A little while past Bixby Bridge I found what I was looking for. The store was at Big Sur Station, just beyond a bustling campground; it was also already closed for the day when I arrived. I’d driven all that way for nothing. I also really had to pee.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g240329-d145296-Reviews-Big_Sur_Station-Big_Sur_California.html#photos

There was an old gas station on site and what looked like a restaurant on the other side of the parking lot, also closed (I still have no clue why they closed early that day). I decided to wander around a bit, in search of a bathroom or large bush that would hide me the open road. As I got behind the small building I discovered a breathtaking waterfall and small footbridge, all surrounded by a lush forest. I was floored as to how the small store had somehow shielded this beauty from the street. I also realized that if this gorgeous view was shielded, so was I. As I began to crouch down behind the store I heard a woman say, “I wouldn't do that if I were you, there’s poison oak everywhere”. I jumped at the voice and looked around confused, there was no human to go with the voice. “Hello” I called out rather shakily, and got no reply. I glanced all around me, there wasn't a soul in sight; I did, however, notice poison oak a mere two feet away from where I was about to squat so I said, “thanks for the tip” more to myself than anything.

Suddenly there was strong gust of wind accompanied by a crackling laughter, engulfing the air around me. I felt as though someone had positioned surround sound speakers directly next to my head. My body shook and I jumped a mile. Rather than wait and see what the source of the sound was, I high-tailed it to my car. Once safely in my vehicle I threw the car into reverse and glanced in my rear view mirror as I began to back up; that's when I saw her. She couldn't have been much older than me with long black hair and bright green eyes, wearing a simple white dress.  Her piercing green eyes bore into my rear view mirror, staring directly into my wide eyes, hers were unblinking. I froze momentarily, paralyzed with fear, before realizing I was still reversing my car and getting closer to her by the second. I hit the brakes and stared back at her, unsure of how to proceed, there was something off about her, something uninviting. She did not want me to be there. I slowly took my eyes away from the mirror and turned my hear to peer over my right shoulder, to look out the rear window of the car. There was no one there. I frantically looked all around me, she had vanished into thin air! I quickly put my car in drive and hit the gas, refusing to look in my rear view mirror as I drove out of there.

I drove for what felt like forever to the next open establishment, a small gallery a while down the road. After finally using their restroom I began chatting with one of the women working there about local ghost sightings and weird happenings. She told me she had heard stories from campers about a woman who appeared while they were staying at the campgrounds; usually in the dead of night. She rarely spoke or had any interaction with the campers, she just wandered through the campsite as though she had someplace to be, or a mission to fulfill. Campers reported trying to follow her and stated that "although her white dress shined bright in the moonlight, she seemed to always disappear as she neared the woods near Big Sur Station".

Big Sur Coast Gallery & Cafe

I never returned but I've always wondered why she chose to speak to me; to laugh at me; to haunt me; to save me from Poison Oak.

July 11, 2014

I'm back East!


After nine very interesting years in California, I have moved back to Connecticut. As much as I loved the time I spend on the West Coast, and the incredible people I met over the years, I realized it was time to put my grown-up pants on and accept a real job, using the skills I went to college for. It was a hard decision, but at the end of the day I realized I was not destined to work at a gym my entire life. If I ever find myself with enough patience and free time to write more than a few pages for a blog post, I’ll write a book about my experience working at a “Wellness Center”. Until then, my faithful readers will have to get me drunk to hear the stories first hand.

I’ve been back in Connecticut a short time, but the differences are already staggering and significant. I wrote a post a while back about the Farmers Markets, complaining that they are practically non-existent in CT. It seems that this is no longer the case. While they are substantially smaller than the ones I frequented back West, they are indeed a weekly “thing” here. My first day back I wandered to one down the street and stocked up on my local produce. I ran home and whipped up a big salad, only to find the vegetables tasted like dirt. I scrubbed the crap out of them and they still tasted like dirt. I now buy my produce at Whole Foods; specifically the “Grown in California” crops.

Another big observation is the lack of liquor availability and the staggering prices at the tiny stores that bare the same name. For those of you who know me well, (I mean, why else would you be reading this crap if you didn’t know me well, right?), I am big on the whole consuming alcohol and partying thing. After the Farmer’s Market disappointment I decided to take a drive around the area to get my bearings. I found that the drugstore “CVS” has popped up on every corner, much like Starbucks have in most other regions of the country. I was stoked. I pulled over and parked at the first CVS I came across and ran in eager to stock up on their version of 2-buck-Chuck and discounted Tequila. I wandered around for a bit and couldn’t find the alcohol section, so I asked a clerk. She looked at me like I was the token ‘crack-head patron’ and told me, in a rather snarky tone I might add, “We don’t sell Alcohol”. So, I got in my car and drove a block down where I found another CVS; they also were a dry store. Turns out, they don’t sell alcohol at the drugstores here, but don’t worry, they still sell Cigarettes. (Insert sarcastic tone here)  Fuckers.

Want to earn a ton of money? Open a cheap Beer and Liquor store within walking distance of my house. I will single handedly make you a millionaire.

I know it seems like everything on the East Coast is crappy, but rest assured not everything is completely different than the good ol’ West Coast. The men are the exact same breed of stupid. My first night of bar-hopping, and by bar-hopping I mean driving to one bar and finding one patron sitting at the end of the bar talking to himself therefore driving to another bar, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with some old friends from High School. It was great seeing them and learning what they’d been up to the last nine years. As the night progressed, a guy I’d met that night with zero connection to my High School days began hitting on me. After god knows how many shots (thankfully my best friend from High School was driving my sloppy ass home) I decided he was cute. After some embarrassingly shameless flirting I overheard someone say something to him about his girlfriend. Needless to say, I stopped flirting. Sometime between the car ride home and the next day texting I discovered that the guy my friend was talking to all night, the guy calling her “fucking hot” and “sexy bitch” (he was what we call “a romantic”) ALSO had a girlfriend. I mean, at least they weren’t married. I mistakenly hit on a married man in Monterey (thankfully NOTHING happened with that creep), but that’s a whole other blog post. Moral of the story: Douchebags grow on both coasts. BUT don’t worry, there are also some amazingly sweet guys and I've been lucky enough to have reconnected with a few of those out here too.

So to sum up: The produce taste like dirt, there is a serious lack of alcohol and the guys are cheating bastards. It’s good to be back East J