I’m writing this while propped up in bed in a Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I’ve been here for the past five days, and the staff has become suspicious. After all, who spends more than one fleeting night in Harrisburg? The reason I’m here is a long, and not particularly interesting, story related to my day job. So, I won’t go into it.
Yesterday, I spent the day in my room, working. I ordered room service three times, and each time it was delivered, the wait staff anxiously peered over my shoulder, looking for weapons of mass destruction, or some underage chippy chained to the balcony (which looks out onto a strip mall—nice touch).
I’ve spent the past several days working diligently, taking only a short break to visit Chocolate World in neighboring Hershey. This experience proved to be a disappointment. The best thing I can say about Hershey is that the town smells like chocolate when the plant is cooking up candy bars. There is no other compelling reason to visit this place.
So, what’s the point of this column, you may be asking yourself? Well, last night, propelled by the desperate need to escape my confines and get a drink, I decided to tour the local lesbian haunts. And “haunts” is exactly what I found.
I never have been so terrified in my life.
However, I had no real reason to be scared, because the barflies I encountered didn’t possess a full set of teeth among the lot of ’em, so they couldn’t have done me much harm.
This small city has a surprising number of gay bars, most of which are located directly across from the State Capitol. The first one I entered was described in the local gay rag as a “friendly, neighborhood saloon.”
When I walked in, I was greeted with a deadly blast of stale smoke, communal halitosis, and a rotting rodent. Each of the human-sized cookie-doughs at the bar swiveled on her stool, and glared at me, as I nervously adjusted my Coach shoulder bag, and self-consciously smoothed back my hair.
I was tempted to run out of the hellhole, but decided to stand my ground, and prove that just because I bathe regularly didn’t mean I couldn’t fit in with the earthy folk of Harrisburg.
Apparently, the earthy folk of Harrisburg had other plans for me. I stood at the bar for what seemed like 27 hours, but was probably two minutes, as the bartender deliberately ignored me.
Feeling I had done my best to make inroads into Central Pennsylvania society, I meekly scuttled out the door, and walked down the street to the next bar.
I was treated in similar fashion at each bar I entered. I never managed to score a drink before being overwhelmed by the intimidating stares of locals who regarded me as a big-city snobbish interloper.
Finally, I retreated to the Sheraton, where I quickly was served a glass of wine at the comfortable bar, and even given my own dish of nibbly treats.
So, what’s our lesson for today?
It’s that when you’re a fish out of water, you can’t be too snooty about swimming in the local tributaries.
Just because a local gal doesn’t have a full set of choppers or enough money to play the jukebox doesn’t mean that she can’t look down on some idiot with an expensive haircut and a demanding nature who sniffs in disdain at Bud Lite, and questions her about the cleanliness of the barware.
If I were that local gal, I’d be reluctant to serve an elitist idiot like me, too.