Most of the year I spend my life in New York City, a place that is occasionally, and sometimes often, known for its safety-risks. Yet, it was in a small village of 600 people that I felt less safe than I had in years.
Now mind you, there was no real reason to be afraid in Weston, Vermont, a teeny tiny village with one very short "main street" with approximately 8 businesses (including the world famous Vermont Country Store) that comprise the entirety of the town. It's a gorgeous, blast of a place and everyone is so damn friendly. My writer's retreat was a huge success (where I was concerned, if the object was to write… I wrote) but, I dunno… I was often scared shitless.
Perhaps it's just my artist's narcissism, convinced attention is naturally focused on me, for better and worse and deadly, or perhaps there was something real to be afraid of...
For starters, I was blessed (?) to be located in a wonderful room (#4) at 646 Main Street, located in the very heart of town. But this beautiful house seemed occasionally straight out of a horror movie. … You know, the scary big house with the 7 bedrooms, endless doors and corridors, creepy adjoining bedroom with nothing in it, attic with two doll-house like bedrooms, the dark basement no one will dare go down into, and NO LOCKED EXTERIOR DOORS, because "you don't lock your doors in Weston, VT." And might I add… on three nights I was there alone. But I was often convinced I was not alone... that there were.... others.
THE BUGS? Hey, it's Vermont, and hey, there are just lots of bugs everywhere. Bugs. Flies. Moths. Spiders. In the road. On your porch. On your arms. On your hat. In your bed. In your mouth, unwittingly swallowed while you sleep. While you run. While you shower.
THE WOODS? I would run daily south from town along route 100 about 3 miles, and right when you ascend out of the small valley that is Weston, and especially at 8pm, the "pretty woods" become the "dark woods," where no car drives by and the light fades by the second. The trees look ominous and portend nothing safe between the trunks heading to nothingness. Except Zeke and Hank, hiding in wait with a machete… starving for human flesh, the kind you can only find in the tourists to Weston, Vermont.
THE LOCALS? Now these wonderful people are (as far as I can tell) genuine sports, theatre supporters and loyal taxpayers. But on a few drives to "see the sights" of town, I did wonder if I was being driven deeper into the wilderness so that I could be disposed of, dumped into a ditch and not to be found but by a lone jogger in three weeks.
MYSELF? Whether on a run, fearing I'd sprain an ankle and plummet into a ravine (see "The Woods," above), or alone in the house, playing with wonky power outlets and expecting to find out what it feels like to be electrocuted, oh boy did I suspect I'd be my own undoing. And again, who would hear my screams?
Yet, I braved them all and survived two whole weeks in the gorgeous Vermont town. Which, by the way, you should visit, whether during the summer for an absolutely stunning theatrical season, or by the winter for a skier's dream, and you can find out more here.
As for me, ahhhhh…, I'm back in New York, where I can be comforted that I am actually, most certainly residing less than half-a-mile from a real serial killer. Pshaw!