For V Day we got Goth-ed up and drove to Long Beach to have dinner on The Queen Mary and then go on the Paranormal Shipwalk Tour. I figured how bad could it be- a night dining while looking out at the shimmering water and then creeping through the bowels of the picturesque old behemoth while hearing spooky stories.
Bad. It was bad. Long Beach is exactly forty-five minutes away from the largest population of unemployed actors in the world, and you’re telling me you can’t find a cool ghost tour guide? The apex of the experience consisted of standing around in a pitch dark swimming pool changing room (apparently a vortex of supernatural activity), with our apathetic guide calling out, “Jackie? Jackie, are you here? Talk to us Jackie!” Then (to us, not Jackie), “Did you hear that? Does anybody feel dizzy?”
Well, everyone on the tour except us had at least twelve drinks in their system and we were all standing in the dark breathing toxic mold spores. So yeah, quite a few people felt dizzy.
Handing around in some dank old engine room and commanding the spirits of the old ship workers to make noise (as if, even if there are such things as ghosts, they hang around waiting for tours to show up so they can get their jollies banging on the pipes) is NOT scary, unless you think an allergy attack is scary. What I had hoped for was a good story, the kind of story that can creep up behind you on a dark street, breathe on your neck and send you running for the nearest well-lit storefront. The kind of story that cranks your imagination into a high enough gear that the very dust motes in the air start forming filmy apparitions.
Our ghost tour reminded me that in the hands of the right storyteller, any room can become haunted in the flick of a light switch. In the hands of a hack, even the majestic Queen Mary can seem dull as a 7-11.
On the up side, Scott has been walking around all day saying, “Jackie, can you make me some bacon for breakfast? Are you there, Jackie? Will you walk the dogs, Jackie?” etc, etc. If you can’t have horror, you might as well have comedy.