The Trucker & the Damsel in Distress

10-4

Filing under “Strange but True” facts, I went to Quaker boarding school my senior year of high school.  No, my family was not Quaker nor affiliated in any way and I chalk my parent’s selection to send me to that particular education location based on a combination of relative affordability and its incredibly remote location in B.F.E. Ohio.   Despite my bucking bronco arrival & drop off at the school it ultimately resulted in cherished life-long friends and memories

Fast forward to one year later and the commencement/graduation of the class below mine.  Let it be noted that when you live in an isolated environment for an entire school year with only 50 peers you get to know one another pretty well, for good or for bad (though mostly good).  Living just one state away at the time of the following year’s commencement, it was an obvious choice to make the journey to attend this production starring a cast of many friends.

I set off on the approximate seven-hour road-trip dressed, excited, and ready for a happy reunion and a weekend of celebration.  Wearing a full length, white, fitted skirt, a thoughtfully accessorized upper half, and white dress flats on my feet, I settled into my dad’s orange, Datsun B-210 for the solo road trip, my permed 80’s hair standing at attention through a cloud of suffocating hair spray that occupied the remainder of the vehicle.

I don’t recall how far along into the trip I was when an emotional recipe made from ingredients of alarm and concern began baking but I do recall that, when it happened, I was, literally, in the middle of nowhere.  With several hours ahead to my final destination, my tiny, orange vessel began making it clear that it was not happy as it went from a comfortable cruise to coughs, sputters, and jolts increasing in frequency the further I went.  Desperate for an exit there was none to be had while I hoped for the best until…….

D is for Datsun

AND

D is for DEAD

The car coming to a violent, dismissal regarding any further road travel as it came to a complete & uncooperative halt.  I managed to veer it off to the side of the road just as mysterious and unfriendly smoke began billowing out from under the hood.  Seeming the logical next step, I exited the vehicle in this No Man’s Land, pulling the hood lever as it responded with an audible and noticeable “pop” to allow me to look under the hood.  Upon hoisting it I was welcomed with heat and more smoke as I gazed upon a maze of mechanics to which I had no compass. I had arrived at the Deli of the Road, served up one very large & sour pickle.

I scanned my surroundings, a long and empty road with miles of equally empty landscape.  No cell phones back then, there were absolutely zero alternatives to simply beginning to walk.  With the lone beacon of civilization being a farmhouse on a far away hill, a good 3-4 miles ahead of where I stood and a significant way off of the main road, my brutally coifed 80’s hair, ankle length skirt, and dress flats, began the long trek in that direction.  As I fought tears and fears I had only clocked about half a mile on foot towards the Fateful Farmhouse when a large, tractor trailer rumbled by, one of the only vehicles I had seen since greeted with my major dilemma.  Striking my heart with relief that was overpowered by ice cold fear, I watched as the monster truck hit its breaks and purposefully pulled over to my side of the road.  So this is how it ends!  A crazy, substance addled, trucker, dragging me into his cab or, alternatively, the endless field that lay all around, 50/50 odds on the table regarding where I would meet the Grim Reaper, equally unpleasant and unpredicted, distinct possibilities

I froze in my tracks, a spiral permed, blonde deer in the brake lights, as the side door opened and the driver hopped down to the asphalt and walked towards me.  But wait…..he wasn’t just walking towards me….there was a bit of a lurch and deliberation to his stride.  Still frozen as I rode the teeter-totter of gratitude and concern, I came to the sudden realization that the trucker only had one leg, his unique gait the product of a prosthetic leg.  Though clearly not “politically correct”, my survival instincts assessed the situation for themselves, breathing a tentative but audible sigh of relieve with the realization that, should he offer a ride and I needed to bail to salvage my life, my odds of outrunning him were very, very, high, despite my ankle length, albatross skirt that I had come to curse more & more with each step.

Very aware and sensitive to my damsel in distress predicament, the trucker stopped with a bit of distance remaining between us, asking the obvious – did I need help?  Rapidly scanning the landscape once again it was clear that taking my chances with a one-legged, hopefully well-intentioned trucker trumped walking an additional 3+ miles to a remote farmhouse with unknown occupants, assuming that it was occupied at all.  So with pounding heart, I grabbed on to the handles to hoist myself up into the cab of this “King of the Road”, intimidating, steel beast.

He climbed back in on his side and eased into the driver’s seat as he asked me my name and inquired about how I found myself in this unfortunate situation.  As he shifted into drive and we began picking up steam in the vibrating cab, I began sharing my plight as I snuggled against my passenger door, hand firmly rested on the handle in a manner I hoped was not obvious, ready to throw myself out the door and onto the mercy of the asphalt should it be necessary.

The trucker confirmed that I was, indeed, in the middle of nowhere while sincerely sympathizing with both my situation and understood concern.  With a slow moving but large tidal wave of relief, he convincingly told me that I was safe as pictures of his two small children, a boy & a girl, smiled with reassurance from the dashboard, a dangling & swaying crucifix nodding in agreement.  In proper, stereo-typical, trucker fashion, he clicked the button to bring his C.B. to life, networking with his fellow 18-wheelers to find out where the nearest garage was, ultimately leading us to a small one about 20 miles down the road.

We slipped into casual and friendly conversation until our exit arrived and he delivered me to a One Horse Town with a mechanic and tow truck.  After I placed a collect phone call to my father I found myself being the one to reassure my Knight in Shining Steel that I would be fine, expressing my immeasurable gratitude to the extent that words would allow. I settled into an uncomfortable, plastic chair for the long wait ahead as his truck rumbled away in one direction, the tow truck in the other.

My orange carcass of a car rolled into the front of the garage some time later, riding bitch to the hulking tow truck.  Upon untangling the chains and locks of the mechanical beast, the mechanic disappeared to take an (educated) look under the hood, returning wearing an expression that did not indicate good news.  Apparently – and pay attention here – it’s a good idea to check and add oil before setting out on an extended road trip.  Who knew?  Well, apparently not me as I had “thrown a rod” due to an empty oil tank and the car, based on it’s current value, was officially pronounced dead.  A rental car was eventually delivered to the doorstep of the garage where I transferred my belongings from one vehicle to another before continuing my onward journey with an additional item packed, a lifelong memory and appreciation for prosthetic wearing truckers with hearts of gold.

The Love Burn (Part 1 – Alice in Wonderland)

love burn sceneI first became aware of the visually, mentally, & emotionally awesome psychedelic circus known as Burning Man from a friend in the late 90’s. My younger sister actually went shortly after I first heard about it but the internet was new and information was scarce in my east coast locale while she resided within reasonable driving distance from California at the time and ran with a creative crowd privvy to connections in the event’s earlier days.  Ever since that initial, dual, & coinciding enlightenment of its existence I’d been deeply intrigued but it seemed a huge commitment to go to the B.F.E. desert in Nevada for a week, especially with no personal kindred spirits up to the shared adventure.

Blink your eyes and click your heels and it’s 16 years later and the world of Burning Man was once again knocking on my door, this time the messenger in the form of a casual, groovy, friend heavily involved in the local art scene and community who shared with delight and encouragement a new but locally based regional event called “The Love Burn”. Luckily, fate was ready for me just a year after receiving this new information when I met both the appropriately & ironically named Angel at a shared friend’s pool party.  HERE was the “Angel” of Adventure I’d been waiting for, just having tucked in his wings for landing after his sixth, official Burning Man when a destiny magnet connected us.  Upon learning where he had just returned from, I excitedly told him about the “The Love Burn” and my massive interest that lacked a partner in crime, an event new enough that he was not yet aware of it despite his much broader circle of “Burners”.

After nearly two decades of intrigue, our introduction and mutual interest resulted in a long awaited, unforgettable, February weekend in 2017 where I found myself at a “Burning Man” event with Angel and two other adventurous souls he brought along, James & Laura (also first timers/aka: Burner Virgins).  Though this event was on a significantly smaller scale, we were all excited about the explosively artistic, weekend long adventure that beckoned  As a collective group we’d only shared a single, brief introduction prior to our commitment to set up & share camp at the state park where it was held.  We could not have been more different in appearance yet we were all incredibly like-minded regarding the ingredients vital to a great weekend: Shared excitement, low maintenance, a sense of humor & adventure, and an appreciation for camping. Let the games begin!!!

I knew that I was in for a unique and memorable experience but never in my deepest R.E.M. state could I have imagined how incredible it would truly be! Upon arrival and throughout the first day and night, freshly encountered attendees greeted us with heartfelt hugs vs. casual handshakes while previously acquainted “Burners” practiced the same but with an added, verbal, “Welcome home”. With very rare exception, outgoing strangers invited you in, or dropped in, throughout the shared maze of campsites for drinks, food, hugs, and random, handmade, gifts. Costumes were the order of the day and night with faux fur, LED or glow lights, crazy hats, colorful wigs, feather boas, and the like. Animal ears on heads, random & elaborate costumes, onesies, and tutus were the fabulous norm on both genders at every turn. These were my people! All of the things that I have always loved that are atypical surrounded and embraced as far as the eye could see, delightfully shared by kindred spirits. While I can’t say I felt 100% a part of the collective crowd on this Burner Virgin encounter, many of whom were obviously not first timers at such a rodeo, I can say that I felt 100% happy! I met people from as far away as Israel and as close as six blocks from where I live, all of them welcoming, as we shared this incredibly positive, powerful, creative, surrounding that danced, tickled, and embraced all of the senses simultaneously.

After the sun went down is when the real magic happened. Those that know me personally are well aware that colored lights call me like a moth to the flame and THEY….WERE…..EVERYWHERE!  EVERY kind of light you ever thought, hoped, or knew existed, playfully lighting the way to (and as a part of) art, art, and more art, as far as the eye could see amongst the outdoor setting of meandering paths, clusters of trees, and wide open beach. Giant Pac-Man ghosts playfully passed by at unannounced intervals in the dark, glowing brightly and larger than life, the products of exterior decoration on motorized vehicles manned by tickled conductors.  Colorful, LED lit, mushroom shaped buggies filled with beaming, costumed riders rolled by as we delighted in encounters with hodge-podge igloos and outdoor lounges that beckoned around every turn, their exotic carpets, pillows, and couches welcoming all who passed. Fire as natural art in motion was abundant, startling me with delight as soaring flames burst into the air from random & unexpected locations.

pac man

One of our collective favorite spots was an enormous, metal, geometric dome peppered with plasma globes located amongst a dense area of trees completely & beautifully bathed in thousands of pinpoint, “fairy”, twinkling, laser lights. It was magic! We made an unintentional habit of getting lost in the dark and going in circles but that only served to add to the mystery, hilarity, and intrigue of it all. The best and most accurate way to describe the experience is, as attendees, everyone there became a real life Alice (or Alex) in Wonderland.

At some point I became separated from my cohorts and found myself in another massive, open air, geometric structure, this one featuring jaw dropping, majestic, beautifully menacing flames of fire in constant motion overhead.  J.R.R. Tolkien would have been proud and I wouldn’t have been surprised at that point if a hobbit or Gollum ran by.  A d.j. kept the beat for the dancing of both the flames and the people below with reckless yet purposeful, unapologetic, abandon. People laughed and twirled in pairs, doing cartwheels in top hats, as others blissfully lived in the moment alone, embracing their singular nirvanas and dancing, as they say, “like nobody’s watching”. With wide eyed delight I watched, soaking it all in with fascination, until I suddenly made the conscious and easy choice to let go of my (albiet always minor) self-consciousness.  Putting my bag down, a’ la Billy Idol, I began dancing with myself in the beautiful, mesmerizing, incomparable, “Wonderland of Zero Fucks Given”. No one judging, only appreciating, sharing, and smiling in this unique place and space of full freedom of expression.
love burn fire

Modern day Xanadu, “Love Burn” be thy name!

 

The HIGHS & lows of Balcony Living in 3 Parts (Part 3 – Chapter 1)

TMS-Statler&Waldorf-BalconyBoxSeriously, what could be next?  So far we have live brass, illicit drugs, stunning sunsets, thumping bass, & wanton sexual encounters.  Like, seriously, how much more can balcony life provide?  Oh, more, I assure you!  And so we find ourselves at “Part 3”.

This final chapter is an ode to the “F You’ of South Beach living.  While beautiful folks jetted in from beautiful places there were still those representing a dedicated (as opposed to the more commonly seasonal) residency.  While the velvet ropes and “guest list” checks at the majority of establishments judged us we were busy doing the same, feeling superior in our ability to indulge in pizza, beer, and comfort from above minus a $30 cover charge for equal – if not better – entertainment.  Oh, and don’t forget we get to have pizza & beer!  A model’s life is not one I envy.  Kate Moss once said, “Nothing tastes better than skinny.”.  WRONG!  Gurl, you haven’t had a slice from Bona Italian Restaurant in Wilton Manors.  I may envy your paycheck but I KNOW you envy my pepperoni!  *nom*nom*nom*

Moving to South Beach was a large culture shock despite the fact that I moved there from just a few states away and was just what I wanted.  I found the overwhelming melting pot of nationalities fascinating and incredibly intriguing.  On any given day, a few blocks stroll in my neighborhood meant encountering an average of five different dialects spoken by those sharing the sunny sidewalks.  What I did not anticipate was the unexpected and unfortunate degree of pretention prevalent & practiced within this Pastel Paradise.  As an ex-pat from “The South”, unapologetically representing real people and real life, I gravitated towards the residential anomalies that shared this shockingly rare similar philosophy & outlook.  With that, we find ourselves at Part 3, though involving two chapters.

Chapter One:  TOM
Tom and I met and established a quick and easy friendship when I moved into the balcony apartment next to his, the same one previously referenced in Parts 1 & 2 and that serves as the stage for this final tale.  Together we shared and lorded over our erroneously coveted and shared perch, our balconies divided only by a whisper of metal division.  Privacy was not an option when it came to the pursuit of outdoor zen time due to our coinciding schedules regarding geographically elevated enjoyment.  Fortunately for both of us, we shared a friendly, welcoming, and conversational attitude that found us quickly graduating from frequent, unintentional encounters in our shared space to intentionally coordinated outdoor, collective, chill time spent swapping tales, discussions, and laughter.

We shared a kindred spirit and “buck the system’ attitude towards South Beach living.  Rather than bend over backwards trying to blend into a world of “champagne & caviar” we defiantly waved our pretzels in one hand and beers in another.  I will never forget the day that we’d both had it up to *HERE* with the South Beach pretention & “pretty people” and both dressed up in loosely construed costumes – me in “cowgirl” attire, him in “Jimmy Buffet” mode, big straw hat and all.  We grabbed some sidewalk chalk that I had and graffitied the sidewalks of Ocean Drive until the pavement got boring so we drew on one another’s faces for a canvas change of pace.  Whiskers, moustaches, etc., etc., and then meandered into one of the outdoor hotel bars where…shockingly!….we couldn’t get served!  We waited & waited, giggling non-stop and ever harder as the bartenders continuously passed us by until I looked at Tom and said, “Gee, do you think they think we’re not cool enough?”.  Skip to us cackling all the way out and you’ve got a solid concept of our shared attitude with no apologies and that I’d do all over again!  (Kardashians, take note – put down the selfie phone mode and pick up some sidewalk chalk.  You’re missing out!)

But I digress.  After uncounted days & nights spent in our shared outdoor space, Tom came up with a way to entertain himself from the balcony one evening, a friend of his riding shotgun.  Lucky for me, I happened to be present and a witness to the harmless, gleeful, additional middle finger he gave to South Beach one night.

I can’t remember the day of the week or even how late into the day it was, all I remember is walking onto my balcony to find Tom & his friend leaning over the railing on the opposite side of our dog gate height divide, both doubled over with stifled guffaws.  To set the scenario that added to my confusion, Tom was holding a fishing pole over the side of our third floor plateau.  Though it took a moment, I digested (with glee) that Tom was dangling a transparent fishing line baited with a five dollar bill for the sidewalk salmon.  As I settled in to the Mischief Section, time and again he would lower the line until it laid gently on the concrete within enticing focus of those in transit below. And then….wait…..
Like a lion to its prey with bets hedged, here comes the next pretty buck and/or gazelle and, let me tell ya’, “See a penny, pick it up” ain’t got NOTHIN’ on a five dollar bill, ESPECIALLY one that “magically” whisks away when “oh so casually” reached for.

“Was it the wind (even though there isn’t any)?”
“Should I try again?”
“WHAT IS HAPPENING??”

I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination but, trust me, if you are ever bored and happen to have a balcony, a fishing pole, and a five dollar bill handy, I promise you that “bored” will no longer be a part of your evening.

Trust.

An African Boy Named Bob

Racism, poverty, oppression, thou hast an enemy and thy name is BOB!

Trust in today’s shift from this blog’s primary focus on humor and travel to indulge in  unapologetic “heartwarming”.  Warm fuzzies guaranteed – stick around!  Travel is still involved though not my own, this lesson not involving fiascos or mischief but instead honor, example, & kindness. For all seeking menu alternatives to the cold & unappetizing chunks of distressing news and disheartening stories offered up by the servers at the shark frenzy buffet, I serve up this infinitely more appetizing & refreshing tale!  And it goes a lil’ somethin’ like this:

The first of the two “Bob’s” in our story is my father.  He passed away in 2004, a (young) senior, Caucasian man hailing from a small & un-heard of town in Indiana.  He left a beautiful wake positive marks, memories, & respect with all whom he crossed paths with.  He was a good father and a good man.  He made me and countless others laugh in eye rolling and, frequently, embarrassing ways and instilled in me an annoyed, frustrated, yet ultimately appreciated skill regarding mischievous, laughter filled, sarcasm & sparring.  His wardrobe choices bordered on tragic, his vibrant and passionate personality and melodic, deep, & talented singing voice never lost on those who encountered it.  A product of a poverty stricken upbringing, he was raised across the street from train tracks with his parents, a brother, and five sisters in a three bedroom, 1 bath household.  With purpose and determination, he embraced education, both personally & professionally, and became known as a standout in his mathematical career and, mostly privately and always humbly, as a man who strove to improve the lives of others through providing inspiration and opportunities otherwise unavailable.

Twenty some years ago my parents together realized a dream as they set off on an eagerly anticipated African safari.  During their trip my parents found themselves so deeply touched and impressed by their young, local, male, tour guide that my father took it upon himself to rally with their other, newly met, tour companions.  Without direct solicitation but merely through intentionally casual conversation relaying a dream, my father managed to gather significant funds from the other travelers in their group to help this young man begin his own safari/guide outfit in Africa, one that he had wistfully indicated was his dream.  Little did he know that this casual conversation with an American tourist would open a door to a new and better life of independence and financial freedom.

And now we move on to Bob #2.

Fast forward eight years after my father’s passing and 15+ years after the trip in reference, the “safari group” continued to remain in occassional touch, primarily over the holidays.  On this long after holiday season, I received a phone call from my mother to share the most amazing information she had just received from someone within the group.  The news was that a message had been received down the internet pipeline from this long-ago man with a dream, a resident of Tanzania, Africa.  The man now had a son…..and the son’s name is BOB.

Yes, there is an African boy in Tanzania named BOB, after my father.

We all hope to leave a legacy.  Some type of positive mark, memory, or difference in this world after we are gone and I cannot think of a better one.  I am filled with pride, joy, gratitude, and appreciation for being raised by a man with such heart, values, and kindness.  I am quite certain that when this son introduces himself in his native country that it is met with question and that the answer always involves my father in the most wonderful of ways.

A favorite quote of mine goes, “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”.  Helen Keller said that, not Bob….but he could have.

DAD
Bob in his safari hat, ready for adventure!

 

 

 

Your Invitation – Space Limited! (Eye roll pun free of charge)

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Lived to Tell, Part 1 (The Teepee Turnaway)

route66Upon our winged arrival into Albuquerque, our wild west adventure was off to a winning start as we excitedly chattered in our modest but comfortable rental car bound for Santa Fe.  One problem.  Just over an hour into our drive we took notice of a mileage sign indicating our rapidly approaching proximity to the Arizona border.  For those unfamiliar with the geography of the southwest U.S. let it be known that Santa Fe is in the *opposite* direction from Albuquerque.  As I said, we were off to a winning start.

After a couple of nights in Santa Fe we headed towards the Arizona border, this time intentionally.  The agenda for the day was to drive through the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert and then stay the night at one of only two , old school, Route 66 heydey era, concrete teepee hotels.  Our stay at the Wigwam Hotel was at the top of my bucket list on this road trip.  Little did I know that the list that night would include no teepee but definitely included a bucket (if you count scraping the bottom of an accommodations one).  After a long and full day of driving and adventure we pulled up to the entrance of my coveted, eagerly anticipated, cheesy accommodation to discover it was CLOSED FOR THE NIGHT!

Oh….it hurts!
It HURTS!

This was a “one night only” engagement with no wiggle room for itinerary adjustment.  Simply put, we were S.O.L. – the Wigwam was WigWRONG.  No teepee fo’ you.

Now, as they say, we find ourselves in a quandary.  Holbrook, Arizona, where this gem was located, is not exactly a hotbed of activity nor accommodation options and the desert sun was rapidly bidding us adieu.  Cell phones were still a thing of the future so we were left to seek out alternate, after dark accommodations on a wing & a prayer.  Let it be known that budget was a MAJOR factor on this youngblood adventure though with the appropriately corresponding, lowbrow needs & expectations that youth provides.  We began navigating the area to pinpoint a hotel that looked friendly to our limited funds and, boy, did we find it!  Have you ever paid $15 for a HOTEL ROOM?  Well, WE HAVE but I can’t say I recommend it.  Let me also remind you the title of this blog is “Lived to Tell”.

We came across a “no tell motel” in this deserted desert dwelling and went in to inquire about price and availability.  As we stood at the front desk a highly “unusual” looking gentleman shuffled out from the office to greet us.  Now, I am not trying to be cruel or unkind, only factual.  He literally had the appearance of a lab creation, akin to Frankenstein’s monster (though not as handsome).  Despite our initial intimidation due to his shock of spastic, black hair, half-lidded bug eyes, and enormous height & girth, he exuded helpfulness as he listened to our plight, quickly morphing into a presence more akin to Andre the Giant, a la Princess Bride.  Escalating even higher on the endearment scale, not only did he confirm he had a room available but that we could have it for the low, low price of FIFTEEN BUCKS if we would just give him a half hour to fix the shower.  With hungry bellies and a restaurant across the street to fill the time we were SOLD!

After we’d had our fill of mediocre food we returned and got our room key.  While thrilled to have secured a place for the night that was to be the only “security” had as we discovered that the parking lot directly outside of our room had morphed into a party for vagrants.  Justifiably feeling like lambs to the slaughter, we quickly grabbed our belongings out of the car and scurried inside our room and…….

Oh myyyyyyyyyyy.

In case you are wondering, here is what a $15 a night hotel room provides:

1.  Said, drunken vagrants partying in the immediate parking lot.
2.  A t.v. stand on the wall with no t.v.
3.  A plant hanger hook on the ceiling with no plant but there was an actual, lone, clothes hanger dangling from it.  Viva la ambiance!
4.  A shower (and shower curtain) that were coated with enough black mold to consider ourselves fortunate to get out sans a previously undiscovered virus.
5.  Visible stains on the comforters (we never bothered to look at the sheets – TMI).
6.  BONUS!  A bug crawling across the bed.  Happy trails, roomie!

Suffice it say that both safety and sanitation were of obvious concern.  We quickly addressed the first issue by collectively pushing the large, long, wooden dresser to the front of the door to serve as a barricade.  We weren’t going down without a fight!  The sanitation issue was addressed to the best of our ability by cocooning ourselves in sleeping bags that we’d brought along for planned camping portions of our trip though we obviously had not envisioned using them in a hotel room.  That said, we were grateful to have them as there was likely a larger threat of intrusive critters in that hotel room than at a campground.  Champagne wishes & caviar dreams!

As we committed to our cause our nervous laughter eventually evolved into slumber until we awoke at the rooster hour with gratitude for living to see another sunrise firmly in check.  As we made our rapid exodus, the hotel disappearing in our rearview mirror, I came up with this spontaneous poem (best said rapidly for emphasis):

“Hanger on the ceiling,
bug on the bed.
If we don’t block the door
we’ll all be dead!”

We came.
We saw.
We LIVED TO TELL.

Get your kicks on Route 66!

NYC – A Tale in 3’s (Part 3)

giphy1
The final chapter of this story (see previous blogs for Parts 1 & 2), nicely wrapped up in an unsurprising bow of hot mess, hilarity, and unapologetic ownership.

PART 3
It is SO time to go to bed.  Actually, looong past time if you’re a stickler for details.  Pretty sure at this point we’re looking more like grimacing, Disney villains lurching down the sidewalk with skittering cockroaches and rats vs. pulling off Snow White twirling down the street with blue birds & cute woodland creatures.

Somehow, we hit the pot of gold at the end of the Big Apple rainbow as our tanks sputtered on empty, an ALL NIGHT DELI!!!!  Screw Batman – the owners of that 24-hour dining establishment were our super-heroes that night!  Guessing it was around 5:00 a.m. at that point.  Does that mean it’s late night grub or breakfast?  Who cares. *NOM*NOM*NOM*

Inhale, swallow, pay check, exit establishment.  We are SO damn close to our hotel but OH, I have to pee SO bad!!!!!  I know you’re thinking the same thing my friend did (and said), “Why didn’t you go when we were at the restaurant?”.  Well, I DON’T KNOW but it felt like I drank a lake and then had to hold it in for a day while listening to a shower running non-stop.  Like, this has got to happen NOW!

Literally – this is not stretched truth for effect – we were ONE hotel away from ours when I knew I wasn’t going to make it any further if I didn’t go RIGHT THEN.  We did a turbo boost (more aptly described as a “wobbly beeline”) through the side door of the chi-chi hotel next to ours and up to the concierge (aka: Late Night Hotel Lord, aka: LNHL) with obvious urgency, pleading my case and desperate request for bathroom access…..and he was having NONE of it.  He was straight out of a Hollywood NYC parody, the cliched, stuffy, “looking-down-his-nose” doorman.  Despite his disdain and attempted dismissal we urgently relayed that we were staying, literally, *next door* but I had to pee *so badly* that I was not going to make it.

LNHL:
“You’re staying next door?”

Us:
“Yes!”

LNHL:
With complete dryness and statement of fact, “No you’re not.”

O…M…G!!!  Did that just happen??  Did he REALLY just say that??  Why, yes.  Yes, he did!  I’m sure much to his surprise and horror that response was met with spontaneous, unapologetic, and uncontrollable laughter, most definitely NOT helping my desperate need for a bathroom!  I finally managed to stop just enough to say to my friend (in front of LNHL), “Well do you know where we’re staying because I’m confused!” at which point the empty lobby again echoed with our drunken & inappropriate late night guffaws.

To be diplomatic, I’ll summarize from his perspective:
1.  On a luxury hotel strip in the city but we were only there because we got a last minute, insanely discounted rate at our next door location. I’m sure he could smell it on us but, hey, hate the game, not the playa’!
2.  I was wearing a t-shirt with a blinking, shape shifting star and blue jeans in an Armani & Chanel world.
3.  My friend & I were both inappropriately and unapologetically giddy, drunk, desperate, and amused with anything & everything (including our current situation) though it seemed our amusement was not contagious.

Now here is my perspective:
1.  I have to PEE!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2.  Choose wisely…..just sayin’.

Thankfully one of us (don’t recall whom) thought to pull out our key with our hotel name on it.  His shock – and disdain – at this irrefutable and unexpected proof granted his unwilling but “then appropriate” concession to let me use the lobby restroom.

Don’t worry fella’, I didn’t pee on the seat and I washed my hands when I left…but that’s because it was the hotel bathroom, not yours.

As they say at the end of concerts, “THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!”