Last night, TEH HUBZ and I celebrated our sixth anniversary with a swanky evening downtown. Armed with a gift card from the ‘rents to St. Elmo’s Steakhouse, and some free hotel vouchers for the downtown Marriot, we got a glimpse of the sort of people we’d be if we ever won the lottery (Hint: fat, giddy and totally obnoxious).
“I feel like we’re rednecks,” hubbykins said as we invaded our (almost free) four-star hotel room and proceeded to bag any amenities that weren’t nailed down, as if we’d never again have the opportunity to experience the delight that is English breakfast tea or aroma-therapeutic facial bars.
Quick note on St. Elmo’s if you’re ever in Indy: best steak ever. I know that doesn’t mean much coming from an unsophisticated slob like me, but it’s true. Also, when you make your reservation online, you can specify stuff like “it’s our anniversary so treat us like fucking royalty,” and they have to do it. So our hostess and waiter graciously wished us a happy anniversary, and even surprised us with a complimentary crème brûlée, which is sort of like a vanilla Snack Pack, but better.
Anyway, the nerdiest part of the day came when we checked into the hotel and learned we had been assigned to room 1408.
No? I’ll explain.
There was a period of time between, let’s say 7th grade and my sophomore year in high school during which I read almost nothing but Stephen King novels. Once at my grandma’s house during the summer, I stayed up all night reading The Shining because I was too scared to turn off the lights and close my eyes. After that I was hooked. (Fun fact: In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King confided that he doesn’t even remember writing Cujo because he was pretty much blackout drunk the whole time. I once tried writing a blog post in that condition; it was not quite as successful.) Gerald’s Game still creeps me out to this day. And so does 1408, a short story published in 2002 in a collection called Everything’s Eventual.*
This part I really like in the story, the hotel manager is trying to convince this guy not to stay in room 1408, and he says:
…there are no ghosts in room 1408 and never have been. There’s something in there–I’ve felt it myself–but it’s not a spirit presence. In an abandoned house or old castle keep, your unbelief may serve you as protection. In 1408, it will only render you more vulnerable.
So you’ll understand why I immediately demanded we be assigned a different hotel room.
I was pretty thrilled. Unfortunately, nothing scary happened except that I had to get up three times during the night to pee and nearly suffocated trying desperately to utilize all sixteen pillows on the bed. Plus my body pillow, without which I can no longer function. (#pregnantwhitegirlproblems)
Anyway, when we got home today, I re-read 1408. It didn’t scare me nearly as much as it did the first time. Maybe because it was mid-afternoon and there were birds chirping and I was halfway reading the story and halfway eavesdropping on a phone call my husband was on in the other room. But I still highly recommend it.**
*I’m aware there is also a movie starring John Cusack called 1408 that is based on the book. But in the great tradition of Stephen King novels that are adapted to screenplays, it just kind of falls flat. Read the story first.
**I did not receive any type of compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the English breakfast tea, down pillows, mini-fridge, body pillow, steak, crème brûlée or short stories reviewed in this post. Neener.