Initially I planned on reading the Twilight books to see how the fictional town of Forks, Washington compared to the actual town of Forks, Washington. I tried, repeatedly. I just can’t do it. I suppose, more accurately, I really, really, really don’t want to do it. Levels of anti-desire equivalent to not wanting to be audited, to not want a spinal tap, to not want to lick a NYC sidewalk. I made it about twenty pages into the first book, taking a break every couple of pages to get up, wander around, get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, let the dog out, paint a room, clean out my closet, dig a hole in the backyard…basically anything I could think of to avoid the task at hand. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m good at avoidance. I’d get my black belt in avoidance but I just can’t seem to find time to make the meeting; I don’t understand why they can’t just mail it to me. They might have, actually, I haven’t checked the mail in a while. The point is, I’ve been on this self-assigned task for something like three years and I still have not made a dent in even one of these damn books.
When I admitted as much to Jason, he said, “You didn’t even make it to the werewolf part? I hear that’s where the story really picks up.” “Do you want to read them and report back?” “Well…I’ve got some other stuff to do. And I should really read the prequel first: the entire Bible, including the dead sea scrolls and the stuff they only let the pope read. But once I become the pope, my first order of business will be to read the Twilight books, I swear.” So he was basically no help.
I don’t know if the series gets more complimentary toward the town later on, but the part I read stopped just short of calling it a dismal trash hole full of translucent circus freaks, so it’s all the more sad that Forks has embraced Twilight as its sole identity. Nearly every business I saw offered Twilight souvenirs, banners for Twilight tours were plastered everywhere, and even potted plants were emblazoned with the logo. If you lock yourself out of your car while in Forks, try Jerry’s Lock and Key–and while you’re there, browse their available Twilight souvenirs! Obviously everyone wants to capitalize on the tourism this mania has brought to the town, but as the years pass and Twilight tourism dwindles, having all of this outdated grab for relevance everywhere will only serve to make the town sadder than it was originally. Forks is literally a two-intersection town, only one with an actual light. Blink and you’ll miss Forks entirely. On each corner of the lighted intersection is a Twilight-related business. On one corner is the Dazzled by Twilight store. On the second, a pharmacy with “Bella’s First Aid Station”. On the third, a hardware store where you can “get your picture taken in Bella’s work vest!” On the fourth, a Native American and Twilight art gallery.
While I didn’t try on Bella’s work vest or receive Twilight-themed first aid (I know, what sort of half-assed investigative journalism is this?), I did thoroughly check out the Dazzled by Twilight store. I can’t say that I was dazzled, befuddled might be a better word. Dazzled by Twilight had every piece of Twilight-related merchandise a person could possibly imagine, from shot glasses to license plate frames to vampire-scented soap to creepy dolls to “Edward is my boyfriend” magnets to one-of-a-kind furniture to blacklight underwear. Twilight t-shirts? Check. Twilight posters? Check. Twilight toilet seat covers? Probably, I can’t remember anymore. If it had even a tenuous connection to Twilight, they had it.
Creepy doll Jacob, keep your shirt on!
I pressed a penny to mark the occasion, and since Jason and I were both hungry and didn’t want to make the three and a half hour drive back around the peninsula on empty stomachs, we decided to check out the “Dazzled by Twilight” recommended Twilight Lounge and see if they had glitterburgers. …oh. We ended up at Sully’s Drive-In a bit further down the road. Inside, the walls were festooned with grease-spattered dusty Twilight posters; their advertised special was the Bella burger, topped with pineapple, which came with a side of fries and plastic vampire fangs. Obviously, we had to order it.
As it turns out, it’s rather difficult to eat a burger with a mouth full of toy vampire fangs, but a milkshake is somewhat manageable.
Finally, what you’ve been waiting for: Twilight in Forks, WA. The road to Forks is narrow, twisty (especially around Lake Crescent), and requires your full attention while driving, even in broad daylight. The drive back was terrifying: it was now dark, one of my headlights was out, a thick fog covered the road, and logging trucks paid no attention to the speed limit and grade, screaming by with inches to spare on blind curves. I genuinely believed I was about to die in the ass end of nowhere. Should you feel the desire to take a Twilight trip, definitely plan so you’re back on the road before dark to save yourself some white-knuckle time behind the wheel. I checked the Google Maps streetview and as per their 2013 drive-through, it appears that they’re already starting to pare down the Twilight references; only 3 out of the 4 corners mention Twilight now (apparently the work vest didn’t boost the hardware store’s business as much as they’d hoped, because from what I can see of their windows, it’s evidently gone). The banner proclaiming Forks to be the Twilight capitol of the world is similarly gone. The Dazzled by Twilight store location has been knocked down so they are not properly on the corner anymore, but they’re still close by.