We have been doing lots of family-ish touristy stuff in New York with the girls here – it’s been really fun and funny and intense and busy and we’ve been doing lots of walking and talking and sitting and eating and lining up and looking around.
On Friday afternoon we had a luvverly time strolling around the American Natural History Museum – we split up and I wandered around with Eva and we marvelled at African vistas and the reproductive systems of frogs and humongous jellyfish suspended from the ceiling and… the list goes on. I was truly amazed and astounded and felt like I could have spent the whole day there. I think I might hafta go back and pay Natural History another visit. Sit in the Hurricane exhibit, or see the Butterfly House, or spend more time with the dinosaurs….
Eva and I chatted as we strolled, about favourite breakfasts, favourite lunches, favourite dinners, what to do in the event of a snake bite…
It was so totally stunning though. Being there made me want to go back to school and relearn all that jazz about biology and evolution and history and geography. It made me want to get a job in a museum setting up life-like exhibits of forest scenes and making models of poisonous mushrooms and dusting off stuffed buffalos and impalas and that sorta thing… Mayhaps I could incorporate a Natural History element into my bowling alley roller rink band venue?
So from a thing of a beauty and inspiration, it would only make sense that we then spend one hour in a line outside a ‘haunted house’ on Varick Street, called ‘Blood Manor’. ‘Terror has a new home’ screams their website, which is adorned with hideous photos of exposed flesh (not midriffs, like, bits of guts) and scary clowns and revolteh sideshow freaks. Eva saw a poster for it a few days ago and was DESPERATE to go (much to my chagrin) so I gritted my teeth and said “Sure, that sounds great, I’d LOVE to go to a haunted house”. I actually didn’t say that at all. What I said was “No way, there is no way on EARTH I am going to Blood Manor. Look at their revolting website. I am not going. NO WAY.”
But over the course of the day, I was peer pressured and eventually caved.
Where was I? Yes. So we stood in line for an hour on windy Varick Street, surrounded by screaming teens and couples on hot dates and every so often a terrifying ghoul would stroll past and scream at us, or a scary zombie, or a lookalike of the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, or a child in blood-stained pyjamas wielding a mallet. Good times.
Finally we were at the front of the line and headed up a long dark stinky staircase, and then into a dark corridor… Every so often some cliched screams would play over the speakers (way too loud, if you ask me), but weirdly, after the screams they played a bunch of farm animal noises. I get the reference of the screaming pig, but when they had an ee-aw-ing donkey, I thought ‘This is not really very scary… Since when is a farm a scary place to be?’.
So my pounding heart was starting to pound a little less. I was starting to think that the scariest part of the evening would be the anticipation we felt in the line outside.
A security guard walked past and told me to take off my earrings and my necklace. What the hizell was I getting myself into???
I can’t even do the absolute terrifyingness of it justice. I’m not even going to try. We were pushed into the first ‘room’ of Blood Manor in a group of about 12, and somehow, I found myself at the front of the group. Clutching onto Eva, we were the first people into every room, thus the first people to get every fright and experience every level of eff-upped-ness. Like the second room we entered, which was a completely pitch black maze. So we had to feel our way along. And there were SCARY PEOPLE IN THERE BEING SCARY!!!!
We made it through though. Into a clowny-carnival-y room of mirrors. There was a zombie clown sitting on a bench with guts all over her face, and she was wearing polka dot tights. I was wearing a polka dot t-shirt. She was wielding an axe. I tried befriending her, saying “Hey, we match!” pointing at my teesh and her tights. She said “Yes we dooooo. I’m going to KILL YOU FOR YOUR SHIRT!!!!!!!!” which I thought was a bit extreme.
Room after room, each one grosser and more revolting than the last. I can’t even explain or describe how truly awful it was. Eva and I screamed our guts out and clutched each other for dear life.
In the very last room, a dwarf popped out from a chimney with black eyes and a big stick. He looked at us (Rich – 40, me – 32, Scarlett – 15 and Eva – 12) and said “Get outta here, you bitches”. That, to me, was the most shocking element of the whole shebang. And I could see that he was shocked as well; that he had his lines that needed to be read and his scary looks that needed to be looked, and he saw a family and called us bitches – there was definite hesitation before he did it. I think he felt bad… I almost told him he shouldn’t call a 12 year old a bitch, but I was too scared he’d hit me with his stick.
When we came out 20 minutes later, we were exhilarated and sick and excited and cold and hungry and buzzy. For all my wah-ness it was actually pretty amazing and pretty scary and definitely exciting and fun. I was so glad to get outta there though, put my lucky llama necklace back on, and get some pizza in my belleh.