I once dated a guy whose family invited us to join them for a “surprise” weekend. They lived in the country and were outdoorsy, so I figured they were taking us to spend the weekend in a cabin at the lake or something similar to that. I envisioned us riding jet skis, swimming, cooking out and enjoying family time together. Since I convinced myself that this is what they had set up for our surprise, I began getting excited—they told us to pack casual with a swimsuit and towel. Yay! Weekend at the lake!
Saturday morning, we loaded up in his sister’s car—it was him, his sister, his brother, his 6 year old niece and me. His father and step mother were in front of us in their truck, leading the way. None of us in the second car knew where we were headed; we were just told to follow the parents. So we did.
Just over two hours later, we entered Shreveport city limits. When we pulled up to the hotel casino and got out of the car, his parents excitedly announced that they brought us there to gamble and enjoy spending a night in Louisiana. I had never been to a casino before, and it might have been fun to play the slots and see what all of the brouhaha was about, except for one little thing—I was only 20. His parents did not confirm that I was of legal age before having us follow them to Shreveport to gamble the weekend away.
When we entered the lobby, his stepmother asked us to wait over by the elevators. A few minutes after, they joined us and we went up to our room—our one hotel room—with six adults and one child. They wanted us to wait by the elevators so concierge did not see seven people checking into one hotel room. One hotel room. Seven people.
When we got settled in the room, cash was given to my boyfriend, his brother, and his sister—his father took them downstairs to enjoy playing in the casino while his stepmother and the two minors [his niece and me] hung out together. The three of us went downstairs to go swimming for a bit, but we mostly stayed in the dark hotel room for the duration of the afternoon. I thought that my boyfriend would have felt badly for me and decide to come back to the room sooner rather than later so we could spend time together—and so I wouldn’t feel completely abandoned—but I was wrong yet again. He and his siblings didn’t return to the hotel room until that evening for dinner.
I wondered what restaurant they would take us to—I was excited to finally get to leave the room and do something besides watch cartoons with his niece. I have no idea why I thought that people who would reserve one hotel room for seven people would actually spend money on taking us out for a meal. They unpacked a bag containing Wheat Thins, Summer Sausage, Easy Cheese, and other processed foods that came out of bags and boxes which did not require refrigeration.
I might have had a minor breakdown and insisted that my boyfriend take me downstairs for a while to get some air [and actual food!]. After paying for my own dinner, we went back up to the room where we all watched television and eventually went to sleep—I had to sleep in a bed between my boyfriend and his brother.
The next morning, while we were packing up to head home, his parents announced that they were going to “donate” the gambling cash that they were going to give me towards taking all of us out to lunch. I wondered what they would have planned for us for lunch, had I been of legal age and spent that cash in the casino the day before. Now I am not one to be ungrateful; however, I believe I earned that cash fair and square for what I had put up with in the last 24 hours. We then went to a restaurant where I sat through lunch, counting down the moments until we could head home. I wanted nothing more than to be home.
The way that weekend actually played out is almost unbelievable—it was one ridiculous and unpleasant surprise after another. After being stranded in a hotel room while my boyfriend went out to have fun, watching six people devour Easy Cheese for dinner, then being crammed in a bed between my boyfriend and his brother, I never agreed to travel anywhere with them again. I don’t believe my damaged psyche could have handled it.