That Stench Is My Foul Mood

The Tara Chronicles

There are days like this.  They don’t happen very often, at least not anymore.  Everyone has them.  A mood so foul the day itself screams – for the love of God, woman shut the hellup!  It was all going so well, too. 

While everyone complained loudly about the impending snow storm last week, I did a remarkable 360 and was actually happy about it, because for once it happened at the best possible time for us.  It started late after we returned home from our routine Wednesday night trip to PA, and we had nowhere to go Thursday or Friday – no appointments, no obligations – and it was my weekend, so the kids were home with me anyway.  Perfect.  I worked Saturday night for a few hours, because the restaurant is short staffed, again.  Really, how’s about I just stop reporting that?  It should be the…

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Of Bullies

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Warning: Far-stretching, rambling rant ahead, and real life bullies exposed.

Veruca got a cell phone in 5th grade, in order to attend a birthday party. If it weren’t for diabetes, she still wouldn’t have one. It was an enormous leap of faith and I made sure she knew it. Two years later she still doesn’t use any social media apps and the only people she talks to, or texts, are family members. Mostly.

In September, there was a new girl. She latched onto V and called her her best friend, dominating her time at school, poking her to get her attention when she was talking to other friends during lunch, and the most concerning part – calling and texting her all day and night (once calling at 2 a.m.). She would text her and ask her why she wasn’t answering her, please call me back, can you call me, call me NOW, where are you? what are you doing?

At first, V was annoyed and would come to me and complain. We suggested she establish boundaries and tell her friend to stop calling/texting so much. The girl ignored her wishes. We told V to block her, but she was afraid to because then this girl would be “mad at” her.

When it got to the point where the girl texted her, “I guess I should just kill myself, then,” I called the assistant principal and let him know we had a problem. But mostly because no child should say that to another and have it go unreported. She may have been saying it for attention, but what if she wasn’t? Not on my watch.

The whole thing culminated in meetings with the guidance counselor, moving lockers (their lockers were right next to each other), seat changes in the classrooms they shared, and V completely cutting her off. And then this girl was telling people it was because of V that she “got beat” by her parents.

This girl later physically “handled” another girl, which didn’t last long because – as the victim told me herself – the next time she came around “I gave her a look and she walked away.” That look, let me tell you, even coming from a 4’10 little pistol, made me uncomfortable.

Worse stuff is circulating around middle schools everywhere, like social media posts with pictures of the victims, telling them they’re fat and should just “kill” themselves. This is happening right here in our school.

I was a victim of bullying in school, and I can’t begin to imagine how much worse it could’ve been were there cell phones and social media. Three girls in 7th grade – Laurie, Farrah, and Jean – decided one day that I was their mortal enemy, or at least a worthy butt of all their jokes. Laurie, the ringleader, would make fun of me in class, make fun of my small breasts (because really, WHO has small breasts when they’re 12?), and – on one occasion, one of them followed me down the hall poking me with a pin.

When I was in 9th grade, a 10th grade girl on my bus loudly announced me as Tarabitch every time I got on, and threw a sandwich at my head once. Lori, and her friend Julie, must’ve had a lot of fun at my expense. I had exactly zero interaction with either of them before this, and roughly zero after the fact. I never quite understood what I’d done to garner her attention.

Later on in 9th grade, on a class field trip, I was walking with a group of friends when I was confronted by a pair of twins – whom I had known and never had any trouble with before. Apparently I had offended one twin in some way (probably by just existing) and the other, loudmouthed twin Denise confronted me and warned me to “watch [my] step or [I] wouldn’t have a step to watch.” Kinda funny now, but really, WTF?

Hey – I survived. But today kids are mocking and bullying others on social media – posting pictures of them and calling them “fat,” and “ugly,” and “why don’t you just kill yourself?” (This was reported at my daughter’s school, but we know it happens everywhere.) Before the internet, social media, and cell phones, your bullying ended when you left the school. At least until the next day.

Well, here’s a question: Why in hell do these children have cell phones and social media access? These are 11/12 year olds doing this. If our children have unlimited and unsupervised access, then the problem lies with US.

Some of them have had cell phones since elementary school. WHY? What reason is justified in giving your 4th grader a cell phone?? Why aren’t parents monitoring how these phones are used?

Parents need to step up and take the responsibility back. The bullies are able to reach their victims in a wider spectrum because they have access to social media. The victims are being further victimized because they have access to social media. And before I’m misunderstood – I am in no way suggesting that the victims are in any way responsible – because, in truth, they don’t need to have social media to feel the burn. Because if everyone else in school can see what’s being posted about them, even if they can’t, they will surely hear about it.

Parents also need to take responsibility for their ROLE in bullying. Because you know what? Even grownups are guilty of this BS. Case in point: A night out with friends from high school revealed ill-feelings expressed toward them by other people – even NOW – 30 YEARS after we graduated high school. What the actual f*ck??!

Are we really so petty that we are still shunning people we disliked in high school? And, for the record the woman who experienced this was not a friend in high school but I came to know her in these later years and she is one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met. I’m proud to know her today and call her a friend. I also realized, through our conversation that night, that those persons who still “dislike” her actually “unfriended” me, presumably because of my friendship with her?

I say again, WT actual F? 40+ years old and still acting like a juvenile? I guess this is a great illustration of how some folks have not matured, and why the bullying issue has to be addressed at the parents’ level, don’t you think?

Full disclosure: I wouldn’t talk to any of those aforementioned girls/women if my life depended on it. I’m not bitter. Forgiveness is not mine to withhold. But self-preservation IS. And I hold absolutely no ill-will when I say I’d be happy to tell them where to go, if we were ever face to face. They owe me an apology, which I’m sure I’ll never get. However, I sincerely hope that their children aren’t bullies, or worse – children who have been bullied.

Yet – where does bullying begin and end? How do we as parents address it? How do we as adults set the right examples for being good humans who accept all people?

 

The Island of F*cked Up Dreams

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I’d rather be here.

Copyright by proxy, The Tara Chronicles, 2018

Now that Todd is home from an enviable 4-day business trip to Nashville in an amazing hotel, I am sleeping like a log again. It was the longest we’ve been apart in over seven years. Technically we didn’t lay eyes on each other for two days, but had three nights in an empty bed. I don’t sleep when he’s not home. And when he is home, I fall asleep like lightning. I tell him that it’s a compliment because it means I’m totally relaxed and at peace when he’s home.

Sleeping like a log is just a state of the body, for the mind conjures up some real whoppers. Since I hardly slept while he was away, I fell into a deep sleep Saturday night and into a rabbit hole of drama and intrigue that took me through locations and conditions I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

In our house, which looked nothing like our house, there was a kitten that looked identical to Oliver and Veruca was pleading with me to keep it. There was also a baby raccoon in our living room, which I found adorable and had more interest in keeping than the kitten, though I thought I should ask Andy if he wanted it first. (Andy and raccoons: true, long story.)

Anyway, the kitten wasn’t housetrained and it started pooping on the carpet. Veruca ran over to it, saying it was okay, she’d take care of it, and I watched in horror as she pinched off the poop as it was coming out and picked up the kitten. (Which is crazy, right? V is a germaphobe who washes her hands and arms to sandpaper like a surgeon, and worries about a speck of poop on Oliver that doesn’t exist.)

On another note, I keep having these recurring dreams of living in a house that is infested with stray cats. They’re confined to one room that no one lives in and they get in there through a cubby hole that connects to a long tunnel leading out of the house. I followed this tunnel in one dream and it lead to the outside, to a long gulley that in turn lead to a stone springhouse with an old wooden door. These cats scattered like mice when I’d enter the room. I wasn’t afraid of them, but wanted to get rid of them. I asked Todd in one dream if there are “exterminators but not exterminators” who handle cat infestations.

So anyway, back to Saturday night. I lived in a small city – and there was a lot of walking and moving things from place to place. And then suddenly I’m in labor. I’m in labor, but I know that I’m not progressed enough to be admitted so I’m hanging out at home in my apartment and I have no idea where Todd is. I’m breathing through the contractions, and it’s mostly dull pressure through my pelvis, and I’m just walking around stooped over and rubbing my lower back.

And then I woke up. And the discomfort I was feeling in my dream was real. OMG, I had to go to the bathroom. Seriously. The pressure in my bladder translated to labor pain in a dream. I’ve had the labor dream before, where again I couldn’t be admitted yet so I was walking around the lobby until I could. (Don’t remember if that one ended in the bathroom though.)

Next up: Work. I was at work. It was very busy, and this woman with a thick Russian accent walks in. She asks me if she can make an appointment for herself. Her car broke down and she’s stuck here, and just thought she’d find something to do. I explain to her that we are a pediatric office and she would need to go to an adult provider. She asks where one is. Downstairs I tell her, and then she asks for directions.

The next thing I know I’m walking down there while she waits in my office, giving her directions from my cell phone as I go. But her husband has taken over the call, and I’m giving directions to him. He thanks me and, as I’m walking back up to my office, he asks me if Dr. So-and-So is there. I tell him I’m sorry I don’t know which providers are there, that I’d have to google that information which he could just as easily do, and I really have to get back to the patients in my office.

When I get back, I’m sent to wait in the back exam rooms to direct patients – which really means I’m just standing around in an area with no windows and it’s terribly boring and I just want to get back to the front desk. I figure it’s because I’m the newest, and thus relegated to the least desirable tasks first.

Eventually I leave there and walk down the outside hall, and pass a grandmother who mutters something nasty under her breath. I turn back and ask her if there’s something I can help her with. She complains about how long she’s been waiting for her granddaughter to be seen and then, actually there’s FIVE children with her who are scheduled. I offer apologies and tell her I’ll go check the schedule and see what I can do to expedite matters. She apologizes to me for being so nasty and gives me a hug. I go back to the front desk and sit down at my computer, staring at the day’s schedule and not seeing any names. ANY names.

Mildly panicked, I tell Barb I can’t see any names. She is busy and can’t help me; in fact, she’s not even listening to me. I try other workstations and those screens are black and I can’t seem to log in to any of them. And then I notice that it’s getting dark in the office and no one has turned the lights on. I ask Barb where the light switches are, and she just says, “over there. Right there,” as if I have to be stupid not to know where they are. And I’m still asking her about the grandmother who’s waiting in the hall, and she finally tells me that their appointment isn’t until 5:30 and they’re an hour early.

By the time I go to tell grandmom this fact, they’re already being led back to an exam room and I’m off the hook. I go back to the front desk and there’s a handful of moms standing there, and suddenly there’s my DAD – telling a joke and everyone is completely enthralled. And I’m all like, Dad! What are you doing here?! And everyone looks at me like, ssssh!!!

And suddenly, it’s morning.

 

The First Days of 2018

As another year turns the corner, I cleanse my inbox of useless emails and spam, browse the pages of social media for inspiration. I get emails from a website that offers design inspiration for your home and garden and life. One included a reminder about, and how and where, to start decluttering your space.

Purging is one of my favorite things to do. So Tuesday, after everyone left the house and me in it all alone…. I did what any jacked-up-on-coffee housewife would do. I started cleaning out the kitchen drawers, cabinets, the kitchen antique cabinet I use for cookbooks, office and diabetes supplies, and the china cabinet in the dining room. I threw stuff away. I started filling a box to be donated next week to the Purple Heart.

Extra, unused glassware packed up for the bar we haven’t built yet. Old coffee mugs going to Todd’s office. Several hundred corks I’m deciding what to craft with. Trivets for everyone! Or maybe a bustier? Just kidding. I’m not that energetic.

The Christmas tree is still up, though yesterday morning I started pulling ornaments off with the branches attached. This was not intentional, by the way. In this case, the tree completely died before we took it down. And when I say completely, I mean the only stage left from here is petrification.

Todd’s brilliant idea was to get the garden loppers and cut off the branches and carry them out separately. That was supposed to be my job yesterday. Then he would carry out the trunk. I thought I’d get creative and make it look like the Charlie Brown tree. However, I have a very bad elbow and the loppers weren’t working very well and I decided I wasn’t doing it. V picked them up and went all Edward Scissorhands on that tree, making an impressive transformation, and I only stopped her long enough to remind her not to cut off her own fingers or the curtains on the windows.

Together we cleaned up that entire space and I carried what was left of the tree out the sliders and dropped it off the end of the deck. It’s Todd’s problem now. And when he got home he expressed surprise that I’d done it, and I made sure to point out how difficult it was to lop off the branches with my bad elbow, you know… and he picked up the loppers on the counter and said, “you used these?” Because, apparently, those are bush loppers, not branch cutters like the ones in the garage and really – how was I supposed to know the difference, I screamed. But I only screamed in my head, because he’d only just gotten home and I didn’t want him to feel unwelcome.

En medias res, I am still cleaning up the aftermath of the holidays and at least one kid who doesn’t know how to put. shit. away. AND, doing eight loads of laundry, including Todd’s which I swear we just did three days ago but he insists was over a week ago. With the way things are going for the two of us, in another 10 years they’ll be putting us in a home because one of us left the stove on.

And that’s only if we survive ourselves until then, since Todd damn near aspirated a Jolly Rancher last night and I was afraid I was going to have to Google the Heimlich maneuver while he turned blue. Thankfully that didn’t happen. Meanwhile, my body parts just keep turning on me in ways that are not funny and I wonder sometimes if the only way left is down.

Anyway, I have books to read and books to give away, drawers and more drawers in the bedroom to empty and sort, and that walk-in closet with the fallen rod that is overflowing with ironing and other stuff that the cat has assumed is his new bedroom. I have renovations I am capable of doing that are awaiting another day and another pot of crack coffee.

It’s day 3 and I have already finished 6 loads of wash, ran the treadmill, and set up the Roomba – which, by the way, was hilarious. The cat left his coveted spot under the tree to check out this thing running through the dining room and seemed nonplussed by it until it doubled back on him while he was eating from his bowl. Sabra of course jumped out of her bed when it neared the living room and took off for parts unknown, until the kids came home and the thing had recharged itself to vacuum my bedroom.

Veruca came running to tell me it had sucked up the strings of my jacket. The chaos that ensued was nothing short of a circus. Todd called just as I was running to rescue my jacket and, as I stooped over to retrieve it, Sabra body-slammed me from behind and I almost face-planted onto the Roomba. Both kids were hysterical but I was NOT. Todd asked if he could call me back. Because he can’t handle a conversation that includes two hysterical kids and a hyper dog and a screaming wife.

The current temperature is 22 degrees and snowing and 50 mph wind gusts, up from 4 on Monday, and the kids have a snow day. The half-assed lights on the bushes out front are still up, and so are our Christmas pumpkins. We have Christmas pumpkins ya’ll, because we are on the cutting edge of new holiday trends. I was going to put lights on them, but… remember – half-assed. Anyway, it’s too cold to take any of that away.

The only thing I accomplished outside in the 14 degrees on Tuesday was going out back on the deck to toss the cranberries I’d used for decorating into the old horse field for the birds, and getting gas in the rented Expedition, because My Car Is Coming Home – which turned out to be a great big LIE and we still don’t have the car back because some asshole put the whatever-was-being-replaced in backwards and it was screwing up the timing and it took another whole day to figure this out. These are the people who are supposed to know how to fix my car the right way.

Anyway, I was going to put away the holiday wreath made with Christmas balls that I repaired before party 2.0, but since Todd took it out with his backpack as he was entering the house I no longer have to. He was so sweet to collect all the balls that had scattered like a broken string of pearls.

There are more goals for this week and the coming one… but… I’ll save that for another post. Todd will be home soon and I need to look like I’ve been busy all day.

There Was This Boy

So there was this boy, I saw him walk by me once and he took my breath away. I couldn’t avoid his eyes or the chemistry between us. He asked me out once and I said yes, and we went out again, and again, until he owned me. I never knew love like that, and it was precious and intense, and I never forgot it or how it made me feel. Life took us away from each other, but the years went by and I never forgot December 11. Never. My soul remembered the sound of his voice, and the smell of his skin. I thought about him, wondering where he was, what he was doing, and got lost in fantasies about reuniting with him. And then just seven short years ago, I found the answers to the unending questions I had, and the true meaning of “soul mate.”

There was this boy – he imprinted on me, so that I would never forget him. So that I would spend years blindly reaching for that bond with others. I never forgot December 11. That was the day God gave him to the world, to not only one day love me, but to do great things and to selflessly give of himself to others.

There was this boy – now a man – who never forgot me. I am so blessed to know and be loved by him again – in this, our second chance to get it right. There was this boy – who completes me in a way I could only have dreamed. He’s not perfect, but he is perfect for me… and he is mine.

There was this boy- who stole my 15-year-old heart, and reclaimed it more than 25 years later. He took my breath away. I never forgot his eyes, the sound of his voice, or the smell of his skin. He never knew that I thought of him every December 11. When he took my hand in his again – it was like coming home.

There was this boy – I loved him then, and I love him more than ever today.

Happy Birthday to my first, my last, my one true love!! I love you!!

AND, in case you missed it… there was this Birthday Poem from a few years back.

 

 

Type 1: Know the Signs!!

It’s National Diabetes Awareness Month…

The Tara Chronicles

Lately it seems Type 1 diabetes has been in the news, the worst kind of news:  the reports are of new cases only diagnosed after a child has died.  It seems implausible to me that this could happen, and I really don’t like to focus on the negative of anything, but the fact is… it has happened.  How could it get that far?  And more frightening of all… how could a physician, any physician, miss the signs?  Or, at the very least, consider all of the possibilities?  That just one finger stick and a tiny spot of blood could rule out this chronic and debilitating disease?

And this is why we “D-parents,” as we often call ourselves, are so eager to educate and get the word out.  We don’t want to hear any more tragic stories of diagnoses that, had they come soon enough, would not have ended this way. …

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Personal Space

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Two posts ago I mentioned that minor thing called Personal Space. We all need it. We are occasionally violated. We sometimes never get it. Sometimes we get too much.

In college this weird thing happened where people started hugging each other. Not that we didn’t do that before, but it seemed like a matter of greeting that became habit. I surmised in a writing assignment once that we, as a collective whole, needed that platonic expression of inclusion and even love because we were missing it from home.

A memory sticks out for me, of sitting on the bleachers at a football game surrounded by friends, leaning back into a guy friend seated behind me. It was easy and comfortable, and secure. I felt that sense of affection for him and his for me, though it would never blossom beyond friendship. Whether his intention was different from mine we’ll never know, but I valued his friendship more than the desire to have a boyfriend.

I think we all know the prevalence of the hookup and plenty of other shenanigans. I shied away from those situations because I always preferred a real relationship. I think I gave off the vibe too, because it was a rare occasion when a guy would cross the boundaries of my personal space without invitation.

Friendships are different. I was always open to hugs and today now more than ever, everybody hugs. It’s a standard that appears to be here to stay, so ya’ll best get on board. Unless you’re not a hugger, which is perfectly fine. I have a few friends who aren’t, and I get the need for boundaries. Intuition is also a powerful tool – if one pays attention to others’ cues. I don’t like hugs, or – we hardly know each other, or – my head only reaches your belly button and that’s just plain awkward.

In relationships, as I mentioned – too much affection was the kiss of death. Even my ex, who wrapped his arms around me at a bar the first time we went out – which, by the way, should have been a great big red flag – I felt like he was claiming me and it pissed me off.

What is between Todd and me is a perfect balance of love and affection, personal space, and PDA. We still hold hands in public, walking into the store or out to a restaurant. While our lives seem to have become busier and we have less down time together, perhaps there is a greater need right now to close the gap between us. Personal space is so abundant now as to require a little more violation. And no, I’m not talking about sex, you dirty-minded little trolls.

Meanwhile, Veruca is a master of violation. She has always been the child who couldn’t get enough of me, and at this age I find myself tensing up the more she invades my space. She will hug and squeeze me – I swear, bruising my face – she talks to me like I’m her child. I’ve been told this is a form of possession, or manipulation, or both. So, we continue to work on the boundaries, even as she is maturing and beginning to pull away.

And then her very own personal lesson came along this year. A new girl – we’ll call her Missy – latched on to her on the first day, called V her BFF, and won’t leave her alone. She is in every. Single. One. Of her classes. AND lunch. V has only gym class with her bestie since 3rd grade, so lunch is the prime time to catch up. Unfortunately, Missy is dominating V’s time and conversation and she is pissed. Missy also has this other endearing habit of poking V.

My solicited advice was to establish physical boundaries first. Tell Missy not to poke you. Tell her she’s welcome to sit with you and Bestie at lunch, but explain that this is also important time that you both look forward to catching up. V tells me that even Bestie is annoyed, which is kinda funny because I can’t picture sweet little demure Bestie getting pissed off. What little I know…

For what it’s worth, I think it’s gotten a bit better. I did try to encourage V to see behind Missy’s motivations – that she’s the new girl and needed to feel like she belonged, and that she saw V as a kind face. That perhaps V’s job was to help her get acclimated and meet other friends to smother hang out with too. It’s a testament to V’s [public] character that a stranger saw her as an ally.

All in all, karma for V became a teaching moment for me. And the revelation that perhaps the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.

Todd and I Do It Again

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The truth is, we do it every year. Sometimes several times a year.

We went on vacation, and returned to Ocean City, Maryland a couple of weeks ago. We rolled in late afternoon on a Monday, checked into our 7th floor room (remember this detail – it figures in later) at last year’s hotel which – by the way – is nothing special but the rooms are upgraded and clean and affordable. We got the last parking spot under cover and left the car there until the day we checked out.

We met my longtime friend Holly and her husband for dinner on the boardwalk. Afterward we walked the boardwalk a short distance to the Old Time Photo place, where Holly and I recreated the Flashback photo we had done in Wildwood several decades ago.

Holly and I giggled through the entire thing, from breath-stealing corsets to our middle-aged climb up to the top of the bar (we were saloon girls), to the stiff posture we had to hold while they snapped photos. It was a LOT easier when we were 15. The staff was terrific, referring to the original often to get it exactly right, and never missed a beat with helping us old broads up and down from the bar top.

We grabbed one of the last tables outside at Shenanigans for dinner. The evening weather was perfect. I had a margarita and then a Dogfish 60, which was all I needed. I’m not much for drinking these days. We were back in the room by 11, with me falling asleep on Todd’s shoulder as we watched Merlin on Netflix. So this is what middle-age looks like. Unencumbered by little children, we’re still asleep before midnight.

Tuesday

We decided to walk to breakfast at Dumser’s Dairyland, which was about a mile walk. The omelets are killer. I had my favorite, a spinach, mushroom, and feta omelet and Todd had a meat-filled omelet. Home fries were perfect and toast soaked in butter – a cardiac patient’s delight – and I’m not sorry. Dumser’s has been around since 1939 and still retains the charm of yesteryear.

We stopped at Sunsations – a chain-mecca of all things beachy – on the walk back to buy sunscreen and a hat for me, since all the errands and leisurely time spent before we drove down didn’t afford me a memory for necessities. I also forgot soap (which Todd had thankfully packed) and a razor, so I’m currently growing leg hair until I can get to a CVS.

Todd bought me a new gel seat for my bike and installed it before we came down, hoping it would ease the pain of sitting down after a long ride. Well, he was partially right. More on that later.

We took the bikes out and rode down to the boardwalk at 1st Street – our friend Jonathan told us to grab a slice and a beer at Tony’s Pizza for him. The humidity and the sun were tough on the ride, and we both wore the wrong shirts, and so arrived soaked to the skin in sweat. I don’t mind sweat when I’m working out, but it’s a whole ‘nother story when I’m sitting down on a vinyl seat in a restaurant.

The pizza slices were old (translation: not fresh) and neither of us wanted a beer at this point (sorry Jonathan). I had a birch beer instead – a childhood favorite – which was ice-cold and delicious, and we split a Caesar salad. I’ve never had a Caesar salad that was covered in bacon bits and onions, but it was good, so whatever. Our waitress, who was pretty much par for the course in this overcrowded beach town, disappeared for long periods of time and at the end we waited and waited for her to return just so we could ask for a check. It seems unfortunate somehow, but every experience we have either rules out a repeat visit, or gets added to the favorites list.

We walked the boards and stopped in a shop to buy a couple of dry shirts. Todd bought a tank and changed on the boardwalk, because he’s a guy and can do that. I chose not to change – a) because there was nowhere to change and I’m not getting arrested at 48 and b) I knew I’d just soak through that one too.

On the ride back we stopped at Bull on the Beach for a beer. It was early enough that there were several open seats at the rectangular bar. The a/c felt divine and I made my way to the restroom intending to change my shirt. I peeled it off and then realized, duh, my bra was soaked too. And then it dawned on me that the bra would just make wet circles on the dry t-shirt, which is way worse than just sitting in a wet t-shirt, and I couldn’t exactly take my bra off because no one wants to see that. Well, maybe the group of middle-aged men doing shots on the other side of the bar, but my husband isn’t so far gone from his tough guy days so – bad idea. So I had to put that wet shirt back on. I looked around for one of those air dryers, because I was seriously going to try to dry myself somewhat (hey – Madonna did it), but this place doesn’t have those.

Back at the bar I ordered an IPA – it seems you’re not getting too many craft choices anywhere and so I had a pint of Dogfish to Todd’s Guinness – and Todd ordered wings, which were really good. The bartenders were really friendly – which was a big plus because many of the patrons seemed like regulars and we weren’t treated any differently.

Dinner was planned later for Mackey’s, strategically around sunset, and I insisted we wait for an outside, on the water, table and we weren’t disappointed. We got a front row table to the sunset which, although cloudy and not as spectacular as sunsets past, was still beautiful and tranquil even with children playing in the water nearby.

They always play God Bless America at sunset, and this year it seemed more poignant than ever.

 

Cabo San Lucas – The End

Chapter 3

January 19, 1991  Sábado

My baja California trip is over. I’m sitting now in the Phoenix airport, sometime around 5 p.m. Only SEVEN hours until I board my next flight – to Philadelphia. Customs went okay – not quite as bad as Greece was. I thought I’d found the perfect spot to plant myself – game room, snack bar, lounge, Haagan Daas, gift shop – until the snack bar closed. At five o’clock. Mom would stow her bags and venture out into Phoenix. I thought about it for a split second, but I’m way too hungover.

I was awakened this morning at the ungodly hour of 7:30, from another bizarre dream, by the ever crowing rooster, a pesky mosquito that tried to fly up my nose, and a need for the bathroom. A couple of old Mexican women came by later, selling Bibles door to door. I don’t know if the Bibles are in English though.

Yesterday Mom and I went shopping and I bought a silver bracelet and a pair of earrings. We ate lunch afterward at the Giggling Marlin, which is probably my favorite place. Mom ordered a Mexican coffee, and when I took a sip something flew up the straw and into my mouth. A fucking fly!! She said I went white, and both she and the waitress had a big laugh at my expense for swallowing a “mosca!” It was NOT funny.

We walked around town a bit and stopped at the Rio Grill. We were having a good time, drinking cerveza (lots of cerveza), a live band started to play, and we ended up making new friends. Kelly, about my age, was a tall, model-like blonde who was super nice.  John was a 40-ish retired boatman from Southern Cal who really liked mom a lot. He introduced me to Eric, 24 and very very cute, who he himself had just met that day. Eric told me he was from Montreal, traveling around.

The four of us decided to go to Squid Roe to party some more. John was a trip! Eric and I danced forever, cervezas in hand. John said he’d introduce me to Tico Torres, who was there, though it never happened. Finally left there sometime around 3 and, suddenly hungry, mom and I bought these killer hamburgers from a food vendor right outside the bar. I tallied my drinks and it amounted to about a half-case of beer.

Which is why I’m sitting in the Phoenix airport now, horribly hung over and trembling from dehydration, sporting shorts, a minor tan, and my motorcycle jacket and wishing I didn’t have over 6 hours left until I can board some plane that will only take me as far as Philly. Then I have to figure out how to get to 30th Street Station before dawn to catch the train that will take me home to New York. I’ll finally be home, just 18 hours from now.

It was a great trip though. Anything but a tourist trap, it was charming in its simplicity and the lack of obnoxious crowds. Cabo is the antithesis of Cancun, the only other Mexico destination I have to compare it with. It’s like night and day. They’re building this enormous luxury hotel on Boulevard Marina (the main street running through town), currently just a shell, and it makes me wonder how these high rise hotels will change this sleepy little town.

Cabo San Lucas – Chapter 3

Chapter 2

January 14, 1991 Lunes

Sitting here at Squid Roe – excellent margaritas!! No buzz, but feeling like a headache is brewing. It’s from being in the sunshine too long. The Americans that come to Cabo are a strange crew. This sleepy little town seems like a magnet for peculiar people who are both friendly and also seem like they’re running away from real life. The pretty waitress here is primping herself openly at the mirror on the wall.

*****

Another sunny Mexico day slips into chilly darkness. It’s so peaceful here in Cabo, day and night, with the exception of the infamous barking perros. Don’t they ever get tired? The roosters don’t bother me. The mosquitos have become utter annoyance; they are everywhere in flight and twice the size as the breed at home. I’ve killed dozens already tonight while reading Savage Ecstasy, a book from the house’s library.

This book is so poorly written; however, the plot is fascinating and has stolen my attention for several hours. The love scenes are pathetic. I’m know I’ve dreamt up steamier scenes than these. I hate romance novels. Won’t be caught dead with one back in New York.

*****

January 15, 1991 Martes

At Las Palmas restaurant, on Playa Médano. 70s music here. I like the music at Squid Roe better. There’s no one interesting enough to watch. I have to be one of the whitest gringos in this place. Mom is a week ahead of me with her tan, having come a full week before I got here.

We just had lunch and I’m feeling very content sitting here with my trashy novel and my Corona. Such a cliché, I am.

This is definitely a bad place to come if you’re single. Night Fever is playing now and I keep half expecting some John Travolta lookalike to come out of nowhere and hit the floor. The locals really love their American music. Vogue is on regular rotation just about everywhere.

We are waiting for the car – it seems Gloria (the caretaker of the house) spoke to el mecánico, Hector, who said he’d retrieve the car from San José del Cabo and also offered to drop us here at the beach for a few hours. We thought he mumbled something about coming back in three hours with the Datsun. Who knows – in a place where everything is mañana?? I suggested we have been here longer, seeing as we had lunch after baking in the sun and, noting its position over Cabo now, I would venture that it must be almost four and way longer than three hours. We settled for another seat on the patio at the restaurant, ordered dos lemonellas and pondered our predicament. We decided to call it a day and headed home in a taxi – Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Mexico-style.

*****

Miércoles

The days are slipping by so quickly, and yet so slowly. Everything is in slow motion here and you find yourself getting sucked into it before you even realize it happened. Mom just asked me if I’m sure I don’t want to go to the beach today, and to tell the truth I don’t really care one way or the other. I just find myself answering, well… whatever, sighing heavily as if even the effort of a response is too much. I just dropped two postcards on the floor and I don’t even feel like picking them up.

Gloria came in this morning to tell us that Pago Pago is aquí. Pago Pago, the lean, mean, white piece-of-shit machine is back. One of the many guests of our villa named the car Pago Pago, which is auditorily hilarious but not so much in translation. I wonder if we’ll still need to carry several jugs of water with us whenever we take the car out?

*****

Jueves

Saddam Hussein’s deadline came and went, and of course he’s doing his own thing and the U.S. has begun minor fire. We watched the President’s address yesterday on the TV at Señor Sushi. Great drinks! Yummy Piña Coladas and 2-for-1 cervezas at Happy Hour.

We had dinner last night at El Coral – lobster for $12 but the food wasn’t very good and there were billions of moscas on the table, thus ruining my appetite. Everywhere are open air establishments, and flies just come with the territory.

We got an early start today – mailed our postcards, had lunch at the Giggling Marlin. Always good, but lethal margaritas. My non-alcoholic drink of choice here is lemonella. Gotta keep my wits about me during the daylight hours, I think.

Now we’re back on la playa by Las Palmas, a little windy today and a bit overcast. The sun is warm on the skin. I have my Walkman on – the only tape I brought with me is Madonna. This is where I long to be, la isla bonita…

Piña coladas, contrary to their sweetness, inspired a lovely violent dream last night. I was with José and his very large family and we left without him – he was running after us so we drove slowly and then lost him around a corner. When he came into view again, I saw two men beating him with pipes, so I’m screaming for us to go back for him. I got out of the car and he’s unconscious and I was afraid he was dead, but then he came to.

This really friendly dog decided to make me his number one amiga on the beach – he’d just come out of the ocean, ran over and rolled around on my towel, much to my surprise and horror. Mom laughed like a loon and suddenly I got hysterical and the commotion attracted a crowd of onlookers – mostly the Mexican salesmen who troll the beach selling shit that’s “almost free.”

Later…

We had dinner tonight at Señor Sushi – and consumed way too much. Strawberry daiquiris, cerveza, Caesar salad, Teriyaki chicken, Lobster, Mexican coffee, Kahlua flan, Kahlua and cream, brandy, …. TOO much. We were serenaded by a man with a guitar, who looked very much like José. (Yes, being in Mexico is like being in a constant state of deja vú.) He had no idea how funny it was, and there was just no way to explain my amusement. The waiter asked me to go dancing after 11:30 tonight. What is it with me and waiters?