Note: This is the first of two parts.
Sometimes you meet a person who is so absolutely crazy, you have to sound an alarm to warn others. In this case, it will be difficult to do without expletives, but I will try.
Everyone, meet Shelley, an Airbnb host with whom I had a three-day reservation two weekends ago.
I checked in to Shelley’s home on a Friday night in the dark, in a sleet storm, after having driven my Ford Focus, sans snow tires, down the steepest, iciest road imaginable to get to her home. (It was worse than driving in Hawaii.)
From the get-go, things did not go well. Shelley’s adorable lab greeted me, and I said, “Cute dog. Is it a white lab?”
“There’s no such thing as a white lab,” Shelley spat in a tone that communicated: “You are stupid.”
Shelley showed me my room, and I explained that I had friends staying nearby and wouldn’t be present too much. I mentioned that I was a bit worried about getting back out of her road and noted my lack of snow tires.
She made no apology about the fact that she failed to mention in her listing that accessing her goat path requires four-wheel drive in winter. Instead, she ripped me a new one. “Well, what were you thinking coming to Vermont without snow tires?”
I held my tongue. Shelley gave me directions to my friends’ place, and I left.
Or I tried to leave. Turns out my Ford was stuck in a foot of gooey Vermont mud. I sat in my car and waited for my friend to pick me up in her Pilot. I knew if I re-entered Shelly’s home, even if my tail was between my legs and I laid myself out on the floor and apologized for my very existence, she would berate me yet again.
The next day, my daughter and her boyfriend and I went back to try to free my Ford. It was light and no longer pouring ice. I asked Molly to go inside to get my stuff, while CJ and I worked to dislodge my poor sad Ford. Big mistake.
Even though Molly immediately identified herself as my daughter, she made the fatal error of thinking a closet was the door to my room. Shelley took this perceived violation as a personal threat.
“What are you doing in my house?” she hollered at Molly. “Why are you in my closet? You are a stranger. Your mother parked in the worst spot possible here.”
Again, note that Shelley failed to take ownership. At no time did she indicate to me that there were good spots and bad spots, and direct me accordingly.
Because we couldn’t move the car on our own, we left to go skiing. As we drove to Mount Snow, Shelley the Airbnb Host from Hell verbally abused me in a text and then in a message she posted on Airbnb. We talked about her with words you have to spell in the company of small children.
Later that same day, CJ and I met a AAA tow driver at my car. Wouldn’t you know, there was a car blocking his ability to extricate mine.
“Gonna need to move that,” he told me.
“Sorry,” I said. “I am not knocking on that door. The woman inside is a crazy bitch.” (Told you I couldn’t do it without expletives.)
So, AAA Guy knocked.
“Can you move that car please?” he said.
“No,” Shelley hollered so loud the folks back on the slopes could hear. Then she slammed the door.
I began to take photos to illustrate this blog. Shelly lost her shit entirely.
“Go ahead. Take pictures. I’ll take pictures too.” A man came out with a phone and began to photograph the hellacious expanse of mud, stuck car, and tow truck. I could only wonder how his photos would help her case. “You’re not getting your money back you know,” she screamed. “This is your fault, and it’s totally inappropriate that you let a stranger into my house and into my closet. I’ve already told Airbnb.”
I said nothing. This is my Year of Strength, after all. Besides, you can’t fix stupid, and you can’t communicate with someone in Mad Dog Mode. But then she said, “You better get your car out of here,” and I lost my resolve to ignore her.
“I’ve paid to keep my car here through Monday, Shelley,” I hollered in my own mini version of crazy. “Can’t have it both ways.”
Morals of the story:
- Never book a room with Shelley at 106 Town Farm Road in Wilmington, Vermont.
- Consider evaluating with me what measures Airbnb takes to keep us safe. (More on that next time as, for sure, Airbnb heard from me, and I’ll tell you about their response.)
- And if you’re visiting Vermont, get some damn snow tires.
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