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Mary’s Crazy Holiday Story

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyDec 8, 2021 | 4 comments

Baltimore, Maryland, USA Skyline over the Inner Harbor at dusk.

We're taking a trip back to 2005 in NYC. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I wanted to make it to Baltimore in time for the year’s biggest bar night…mainly because I had a MASSIVE crush on this guy from my hometown and I wanted to hook up with him (I was always very boy crazy…even in Catholic school).

Back then I was making $30,000 per year and had to supplement my income with a weekend waitressing job so I couldn’t afford Amtrak’s $250 ticket. Instead, I spent $19 on one of those Chinatown buses – epic mistake.

I was afraid to ask to leave earlier than 12:30pm, so once 12:15 struck, I snuck out and hopped on the subway to Chinatown. The bus was scheduled to leave at 1:00pm, it was on time and expected to arrive at the Baltimore Travel Plaza at 5:00pm. Now, of course, since it’s the biggest travel day of the year, I figured even with holiday traffic, I’d still get to the bars by 7pm. Yeah right. 

We got through the Holland Tunnel and onto 95 South – so far, so good – but then tragedy struck right around Newark. We somehow got a flat tire and the bus moved over to the shoulder. Now for those who don’t know Newark, it’s not the place to get stranded.

We were on 95 for a good half hour until the bus decided to ride on its rims and slowly drove into downtown Newark. They said they didn’t have an extra bus available, so they dropped us off at some sketchy gas station, asked us to get off the bus, and said we’ll have to wait until they fix it. They said an hour.

Well, the hour passed and nothing, so we found some sketch dive bar up the street and walked over to get some drinks. Turns out, it wasn’t safe. There was a fight in the bar, someone got stabbed, and since we were witnesses, we had to wait to talk to the cops. That was fine because over two hours later, the bus still wasn’t ready. If you’re doing the math, it’s about 4:45 pm.

Around 5:15pm they finally rounded up everyone and boarded the bus. We got on 95 South, and it was a parking lot. Stop and go, and we all had to make multiple trips to the nasty toilet because we had been drinking. I ended up in the back of the bus and got motion sick because of the stop and go. I threw up on the floor.

It was around 10:15pm when we finally got to the Baltimore Travel Center. Without traffic, that trip could’ve been completed in about three hours, not five. My mom picked me up and I instructed her to drop me off immediately at the bars in Towson (yeah, I looked rough and tried to fix myself on the bus) so I could see my friends and stalk my crush.

Women at a bar

That's me on the right, and I'm definitely checking out the merchandise...

Got to this bar in Towson, Maryland called The Crease where I tried to unsuccessfully dodge all these people from my high school…and then I spotted him in the corner. The heavens parted, the angels sang, and the tequila slid down my throat.

Well, I didn’t go home that night. Woke up with an insane hangover at some sketchy Holiday Inn off 695. Somehow got home (and my family was beyond PISSED), crawled upstairs to bed, and never saw my crush again — although we did briefly reconnect in 2009 when I was filming some pilot for a reality TV show called “What If” and suggested the producers look him up. 

At the end of all of this, we didn't find love in a hopeless place or on reality TV. Sure, I could've made it a point to see him and speak to him the next time I was in town, but I was so caught up in my little NYC bubble, there's no way anyone could've convinced me to leave, even if they promised me a lifetime of riches. And while I still think about him once in a while, the timing was not right, and I chose to continue chasing my dreams of being a broke fashion writer in NYC. 


Your turn! What's the craziest thing to happen to you during the holidays? We'd love to hear it!

Mary Zubritsky
Mary Zubritsky
If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. And while my bank account often feels the crunch, I just can’t stop buying secondhand clothing and accessories, under-the-radar designer goods, stuffed animal unicorns (I have about 75), and toys for my pet bunny rabbit. After 20 years of city slicking in NYC and DC, I now have a car and love to tour the Virginia countryside looking for vintage shops, undiscovered wineries and breweries, historic sites, and Thai restaurants—I’m addicted to Thai food. I never leave home without a spare phone charger because I love horror movies and therefore have an irrational fear of being stranded somewhere with a dead battery.

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4 comments

Marina

My hsband, son, and myself went to Torremolinos, Spain for Xmas. A small hotel seemed fine since we spoke Spanish. It was cold in a place that is usually hot and the heat was gas. Wind blew out the pilot in the middle of the night and my son woke up screaming it was a trap. My heart was pounding and I could not think. Crawled out of the room to get help. Went down the elevator to the front desk and begged him to get my family out. There was only one person at the desk and he was mentally handicapped. He would not leave the desk, because he said he would lose his job. I could not stand. Asked if he would call the room and tell my husband about the gas leak. That worked. A drunk US sailor came in and offered to take all of us to his ship since there was no medical facility open at night in town. No thanks. When we asked for another room so we could just sleep the clerk said they were full so we slept in the same room with the windows open to the cold. Had a horrible pounding headache. My husband and son vomited. So no more cheap hotels for us.

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Mary Zubritsky

That is horrible!! A dream vacay turned into a nightmare. I stayed at a haunted hotel in Venice, IT in 2010 and umm…yeah. Ghosts are a thing.

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Jody E

Mary, I think you could be the next TV show I would watch. I love living/learning from the New Yorkers! Thanks for the story.

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Mary Zubritsky

I could probably write five books with nothing but crazy stories. I attract nothing but strange situations!

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