In memory of the life, love and wit of Carol Versandi
Atlantic City Misadventure - by Theresa Annunziata
March 27, 2014
This next story is another great one from my Aunt Terry.
One morning Carol and I decided to take a trip to Atlantic City.
We opted not to drive, but to take one of the charter busses instead.
It's usually an easier and more relaxing way to travel.
You don't have to worry about gas or tolls or parking.
Plus, they comp you $20 dollars in quarters and give you vouchers for a free lunch. Not bad considering the bus only costs $15 dollars to begin with.
So you start off $5 dollars ahead of the game before you even reach the casinos.
The only downside is, you are on their schedule.
When they say the last bus leaves at 5:00 pm, they mean 5:00 pm.
Not 4:50 pm.
Not 5:05 pm.
If you're not on it, well, best of luck.
Like I said though, it's usually the better way to travel.
This particular trip started out like most of the trips Carol and I took.
It was peaceful and uneventful.
We got to Atlantic City, got off the bus, went into the casino
and started hitting the slots.
Quarter after quarter.
Pull after pull.
Well, you win some, you lose some.
On this day, I lost some.
By 4:30, I was down to my last .75¢.
I figured that was that and started making my way to the bus terminal
for what I was hoping would be a quiet ride home. I looked at my watch.
4:45. I had 15 minutes to kill. So I sat down in front of a slot machine
in the lobby, dropped a quarter in and pulled the handle.
The machine beeped and buzzed and spit out 8 more quarters.
Alright! I just won $2 bucks!
So I played again. And again. And again.
And in just over 10 minutes, I was back to where I started.
I was on a roll! So I kept right on playing!
This machine was hot and there was no way
I was letting anyone else have it. After all, I had been playing all day with no luck.
It's about time my ship came in.
Unfortunately, as my ship of good fortune was coming in,
the real Atlantic City bus was pulling out.
I looked up and saw two things.
I saw the clock that read 5:10 pm.
And I saw Carol's scowling face.
Scowling isn't even really the right word.
It was a disapproving hardened ominous grimace.
Simply put, she was pissed.
I mean, really really pissed.
Carol was usually a very laid back, easy going woman, but God help you if you got on her bad side. Nobody, I mean nobody, could hold a grudge like Carol. Heaven help you if you crossed her in some way. Real or imaginary. You would never ever hear
the end of it.
Years ago when her sons were little, she was collecting donations for some school related PTA community fundraiser. She stopped into a local family owned pizza place called "Carmella's" to see if they could donate something.
They said "no", they weren't interested in participating.
Carol never went back to that pizza place ever again.
Even after it changed hands and owners.
Carmella's became Carmines.
Carmines became Branchinelli's.
Branchinelli's became Emilio's.
40 years later, Carol would not step foot in any of these places.
Say what you want, but that's impressive dedication.
So there I sat, in front of this slot machine – that by the way, had eventually
turned on me and taken my last quarter – with Carol standing over me, yelling.
"Oh my God Theresa, how could you? I can't believe you. We missed the last bus because of you! I have to get home. What are we going to do? How could you be so irresponsible? I can't take you anywhere"
…on and on she went.
I knew we were going to have to take public transportation back home which meant getting a cab to the bus station. Then taking a bus to the train. Then the train to Penn Station in New York City. Then getting on another train to Long Island and finally another cab back to Carol's house.
This was going to be a very long trip back.
I got up and walked over to the concierge desk to ask about getting a taxi
- and there was Carol, right behind me, continuing her tirade.
"Tess, this is ridiculous. I am never coming to Atlantic City with you again. In fact, I'm never going anywhere with you again. How could you do this to us. This is just like you! I can't believe this!"
The taxi pulled up, we both got in:
"Theresa Annunziata, I am so angry at you right now. I can not believe we have to take this dirty cab. I should be sleeping on the bus right now. We are never taking another trip together. Ever!"
We got to the station and boarded our bus:
"We are traveling like a bunch of gypsies. This is all your fault. You just had to play that last quarter, didn't you? I hope you're happy. Look at us! I will never forgive you for this. Who are all these people riding a bus? Yuck! It smells in here. This is all your fault!"
We arrived at the train station:
"Damn it Theresa, how could you do this to me?! I am so angry right now you have no idea. Why did I ever agree to come here with you? I knew something like this would happen! I knew it! All you care about is gambling. You don't care about me! When we get back to Long Island, you are sleeping outside in the garage!"
On the train to Penn Station.
"I should be home by now! This is awful. Is this the homeless train? Everyone looks homeless! Tess, why did you put us on the homeless train?? We are going to get mugged. We are going to get mugged and raped and it's all your fault. You put us on the mugging raping homeless train! I hate you! Not really, but I should hate you. If I hated you I would hate you right now."
In the bathroom in Penn Station:
"Jesus Christ Theresa, this is most disgusting bathroom I have ever seen. Don't touch anything! It wasn't bad enough you stranded us in Atlantic City, now you bring me here?? What is wrong with you? I wish I was home. I am never ever going anywhere with you again!"
On the train back to Long Island:
"Oh Lord another train filled with homeless people! Theresa, why don't these people dress nicer? Ask that man if he wants to borrow my hair brush. But don't actually give it to him. It would be just like you to give a homeless man my hairbrush! Eww, why is this seat so sticky? I'm going to tell the conductor that they need to take better care of these trains. This is all your fault!"
On the cab back to her house:
…oddly enough, she didn't say anything.
But once we got back in the house, it was a different story.
She turned on the self generating Carol complaint machine and went back to work on me. Suddenly I was back to being Public Enemy Number 1.
Yes, I lost track of time and yes it was my fault that we missed the bus.
Ok, I admit it. I was sorry. What more can I say?
Haven't I been punished enough?
Nope. Apparently not.
Carol's batteries finally wore out and she fell asleep somewhere around midnight. But not before giving me a few last choice pieces of her mind.
She might have even dozed off mid-insult.
"And another thing Theresa, you are the most zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…."
The next morning, I woke up extra early.
I wanted to get up and out before Carol was awake.
Hopefully I could get to my car without making any noise.
So I got up and veeeeeeerrrrry slowly and veeeeerrrrrryyy quietly put on my shoes and tiptoed over to the front door. I got 3 steps into the kitchen before I turned around and saw Carol pouring me a cup of coffee.
She had gotten up early to see me off.
She had also not forgotten about our little misadventure
and before I could say anything, she was back on my case.
"Theresa that was by far the most irresponsible thing you've ever done. I don't ever want to take another trip anywhere with you. I still can not believe how selfish you are. Making me take a smelly cab to a smelly bus to a smelly train and into a smelly bathroom. Worst day of my life. I won't ever forget this!"
And on and on she went as I stood there in silence.
Until finally she said, "Ok, I love you. Please drive carefully
and call me when you get in so I know you got home safely."