Three summers ago, my husband's brother and his wife and kids flew out to California and we all stayed in a condo at Mammoth Lakes. On one of our last days there, we took a drive to visit an old mining town called Benton. We were sorely disappointed.
If we blinked, we would have missed it. After 40 minutes of driving, we came upon the one street town of Benton, population 8.5. (I'm still scratching my head over that. Half a person? Maybe a woman who was pregnant got partial credit?) There was a residence, a few buffalo in a corral, a historic house that was closed for the season, and a small bed and breakfast. The bed and breakfast was called Benton Hot Springs, which encouraged us to "come watch the stars, hear the nature, and soak in our soothing waters. Come relax and rejuvenate, again and again in these historic hot tubs."
Boy had to pee, so we went into the B & B to ask to use their bathroom. Stepping inside, it was like being transported back in time. Instead of a traditional hotel lobby, the entry was a faux living room and dining area filled with antiques and china. The dining table had place setting of china at each chair and a bowl of plastic fruit in the center of the table.
In the next room was a woman standing behind a glass display case, which contained even more antiques and a sleeping cat.
BABYDOLL: "Do you have a restroom that my son could use?"
WOMAN: "Are you with that big group outside?"
WOMAN: "Well, we have bathrooms - but they are for guests. We don't have public restrooms here. If you want to pay $10 per person to use the hot springs, then you'd be welcome to use the facilities, but this is a business. You wouldn't go into Motel 6 and ask to use their bathroom, right?"
BABYDOLL: "Uh...I guess we'll try somewhere else."
As we walked out of the 'lobby', a small end table by the doorway caught my eye. Displayed carefully on a crocheted doily were a half-dozen silver boxes in several sizes, suitable for holding cigarettes or calling cards. I had the impulse to grab the cigarette boxes and steal them out of spite.
When I told Husband about what transpired and how I'd considered snitching a few of the antique silver boxes, he slowly shook his head and replied, "You never know what could happen if you're caught stealing in a small town like this. It'd be like that scene in Pulp Fiction, where the next thing you know you're tied up in the basement with a harness strapped to your face and a ball shoved in your mouth..."