THE GOLDEN BUSH - HEDGEHOUSE REVISITS Y2K
Does anyone remember the Y2k bug? I do. I still don’t know exactly what it was (all the computers were going to shut down?) but I remember it as being one of the most genius marketing ploys ever - before the iPhone.
I was living in Los Angeles. I had just ended my first real relationship a few months earlier, and it was not pretty. When it FINALLY ended, I had to skip town, so I ran away from New York where I’d been living. I headed back out to LA for a visit, and just ended up staying.
A group of us decided to go out to Twentynine Palms for the New Year - the new millennium. The year 2000! What better place to be than in the desert if all hell breaks loose? After all, the desert was Charlie Manson’s first choice for where to go when the “shit” went down.
It was an odd group: Two sets of couples (Tory and Jack and Chris and Sky), with both sets of couples rapidly heading towards the end of their relationships; my British roommate Paula, who was more of a "frenemy" than a friend; Paula’s actor "boyfriend" was elsewhere; and myself. I put Paula’s "boyfriend" in quotes because although he was not there physically, she talked about him nonstop, so it was as if he was there - ghosting us.
It’s funny, too, because I remember when I was a little girl figuring out that in the year 2000, I would be 30 years old. And poof, there I was: 30 years old, single, depressed but chipper, riddled with angst, and, at that exact moment in time, unemployed. So, I had a lot riding on this New Year. Truth be told, I was sort of pulling for the Y2k bug. I didn’t have much going on, and it would have been a welcome diversion - the entire planet shutting down, forced into a freefall. I could relate. I saw it as an opportunity of sorts, to level the playing field.
So Twentynine Palms is a charming little oasis, near Joshua Tree. We stayed at a place called the Twentynine Palms Inn. The place was a cluster of bungalows. Each bungalow had a name. The names were what I like to call "spiritual/desert." Our bungalow was called "Golden Bush."
Amidst the randomness of the weekend party, and the mini-dramas that were playing out, I found myself wrapped up in my own drama of sorts.
On our first day there, I had clocked the guy at the pool. He was a "4" or maybe a "5" under any other circumstances, but given the choices at the old Twentynine Palms Inn, he was a "10." His girlfriend was older than he was, wore a ton of makeup, sported short skirts and high heels (not optimum for desert style) and had a little puffball of a dog that she carried everywhere. From where I was sitting, she did not seem happy. She had that look in her eye that only women in unsettled unions get - a look of fear and anxiety. Here's me, bored out of my mind and looking for something to do. What better way to pass the weekend than make this couple my project?
As luck would have it, they were on the other side of our wall. I only discovered this because Paula and I heard the neighbors having not-so-wild sex. Thoroughly grossed-out, we both rolled around on our floor laughing and fake vomiting. We just thought it was the grossest and funniest thing we’d ever heard. It got even better when, later on, we saw who it was, as they were leaving their room for dinner! The older lady and the "10". Now, I was really obsessed. So that night, at dinner, attempts of befriending them were made, and rebuffed, which was perfect because, now, I had a reason to stalk them. I had no allegiance to these two. I had offered my friendship, and they had snubbed me (Probably their radar had kicked in: Warning! Insane girl with nothing going on! Avoid at all costs!)
There were a few more attempts at contact, and I think I wrote a cryptic note on the co-ed pool bathroom chalk board. Why there was a chalk board in the toilets one can only guess. But the general feeling coming down from the "lovers" was hostile, so I was really feeling entitled to fuck with them.
It was New Year’s Eve. Paula and I are getting ready in the old Golden Bush. I had just hopped out of the shower, wrapped my hair up in a towel, and was about to slide into my thrift store score pant suits (I was a hipster for a brief moment) when I heard shouting from next door. A fight! Could I be so lucky? I had struck gold! I grabbed a cup because I’d seen that in the movies and pressed it up against the wall to try to hear every detail - that trick DOES NOT WORK by the way. But, as it turned out, I didn’t need a cup; these two were really going at it, and it was a full-blown row. After a moment, it turned really ugly – he was going after the dog! She was yelling, "Don’t you touch him!" and then we heard a whine from the dog and then, nothing. Dead silence, as if someone had switched off the power. Paula and I looked at each other - Oh my God, he killed the dog. It’s all fun and games until someone kills a dog. So being the concerned neighbor, I decide it was time to intervene. I had Paula serving as back-up, and she kept her hand on the phone, ready to call the front desk in case I were to lose my life. In the end, I think there may have been a call placed to the front desk. Anyway, I ran to the door and out of the room just in time to catch the woman storming away from the room. I hop into my car (that’s parked in front) and chase after the neighbor. As I reach her, damn near running her over, I roll down my window and shout, "Hey, are you OK? Do you need to be saved?" To which offer she stops, turns around, and says "Seriously? Fuck off, you fucking psycho."
I have (in my mind) put my life on the line for my fellow women - my sister. Her and her possibly dead dog. But that was as much as I could do. After all, I was only wearing a towel.
The next day, I woke up to the total disappointment that the bug hadn’t destroyed civilization, and I was going to have to go back to LA or NYC or London and get my life together – only to discover that our neighbors had checked out.
Years later, I was exchanging stories with a make-up artist at one of the TV shows I was working on when I relayed this story to her, she looked at me and said, "That was you? That was my sister."
"Did he kill the dog?" I asked.
"No, he did not kill the dog, but they did get married, and divorced. That 10 was my brother in law."
OUR Y2K PICKS:
The 29 Palms Inn
Scotts Castle Holidays
The Galette des Rois
We Care Spa
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