Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Where is my mind? Way out in the water can you see it swimming?"*

 Coachella 2004 Part III

        Okay, so we were at the Morongo Casino in Cabezon (read previous installments here and here), my buddy Scott and I, and I’d just realized that my keys were inside of the car and we were outside of it.
        He asked me if I had Triple A and I nodded.
        “Well, I guess you better call them.” 
        I nodded again and began to turn away from him slowly, my hand digging in my purse for my wallet.
        “You okay?” Scott asked my back.
        “Uh-huh,” I squeaked, hoping he couldn’t tell that I’d started silently weeping as I grabbed hold of my wallet.
        “Well, let me know if you need anything,” he said. 
        I turned around.
        “Wait, where are you going?”
        “Back inside. No sense both of us waiting.”
        “Oh, yeah. Uh-huh. Okay. You’re right. You go on back inside…”
        This is the part where I started openly weeping. I didn’t care if he saw me. He was going to leave me in the parking lot of Morongo Casino so he could go lose some more money? Fine. Then he could take the memory of my tear-stained, helpless, exhausted face inside with him.
        To my disappointment (usually I find tears to be a great manipulator of men), he saw my tears and chose not to respond. He walked back on up the hill and into the nasty, horrible, ugly, stupid, buttface casino.
        So I cried harder. And as I cried, I rifled through the cards in my wallet. It was curious how many cards I had considering I had no credit score and could probably have disappeared into Tijuana without a record of my ever existing on this planet. I had a Ralph’s Club, a Von’s Club, an Albertson’s Club card; I had my hilarious student ID from high school (still do, as a matter of fact), my current student ID; there was a debit card, a couple different library cards, a few punch cards from the classy restaurants I like to frequent (Subway), a Blockbuster card (remember Blockbuster?), my blood donor card and about 47 business cards. (I’ll take anything a stranger hands me in a Trader Joe’s parking lot). And, thank all that is holy, the AAA card my Dad had insisted I get when I started driving (and, incidentally, he was still footing the tab for said card). 
Emily added the "Fucking Hot" to my high school ID. I know I am, but I'd never write it myself.
        Sorry I wrote the word “card” so many times.
        So I called the three A’s and the nice lady on the phone said they’d send a truck to Cabezon (location: Nowhere, CA). And I sat there, leaning against my car for a few minutes thinking about how I was going to punish Scott for making me go to the casino and then abandoning me in a parking lot in my hour of need. 
What my baby, Phillip, looked like. Sigh.
        But then I got bored, so I went back into the casino and played a few more hands of black jack. And I didn’t win. And Scott didn’t win. And I was panicking because my phone battery was at half-mast and I didn’t want to miss the triple A’s. So Scott gently suggested that I go back to the car and wait, and he promised to check in every 10 minutes or so.
        So I waited and shivered and Scott came outside, as promised, every so often, to check in on me. The first time he said, “Hey, how’s it going?” and the second time he said, “Hey, how’s it going?” and the third time he asked for a favor.
        “So, I’m out of money. And since you won tonight and we’re still here…because of you…I was thinking maybe you could spot me a twenty.”
        I was tired. I was cold. I was grateful for the momentary company (to this day I keep a book in my purse for situations like that). But mostly I was feeling really sorry for myself and didn’t really care about anything anymore (I’ve been known to be somewhat dramatic on occasion). So I gave him some money and watched him as he sprinted back into the casino.
        And then, an hour and fifteen minutes after I’d called, I saw the triple A’s truck lumber into the parking lot.
        I jumped up and ran after it, screaming and waving my hands. “I’m over here! Honda Civic! Hooray! This way! Over here!”
        He parked near my car and I stood waiting at the foot of the massive semi. Not one of these inner-city AAA trucks, but a truck so big it could tow my car all the way home. A truck full of tools. A truck that could change my oil and give me a new paint job if it wanted to, or replace the sparks in the rotor-nut or whatever parts needed help…I gotta stop talking about car parts.
It was like this size AAA truck--but without the front part open.
        A pleasant fellow wearing a white t-shirt and a spare tire (pun totally intended) stepped out.
        “So, keys locked in the car, eh? What’s the year?”
        I shit you not. That’s what he said.
        Scott took this moment to pop down and “check in on me.”
        “What’s going on?” he asked.
        “Here, don’t worry about it,” I said and thrust a $20 into his face. I was mad at him, for real now.
        Scott ran back up the hill, shouting over his shoulder, “Call me if you need anything!”
        “So,” said Mr. AAA, “I’m going to try to get in through the passenger door, but here’s the problem: a few years back, Honda started making their locks a little harder to jimmy. You know, so people wouldn’t break in. So…it’ll be tough.”
        And so I watched as he pulled one tool after another out of the amazing AAA truck and tried them on my super safe little car. Nothing worked in the slightest. The desert was freezing, but Mr. AAA was starting to sweat when he finally admitted defeat.
        He explained again about Honda’s fancy new locks. I said I understood, and mentioned how lucky I was to have a car that was so difficult to break into. (I may have started silently weeping again by this point.)
        He smiled and got back in his truck. He apologized once more and drove away. And then I sat down on the concrete, leaning against the driver’s side door and started to sob for real.
        This story is kind of long, right? Sorry.
 *The Pixies' "Where is My Mind?"
The fourth and fifth parts of this story can be found (respectively) here and here.


  1. Wait! Clearly you got home, darling. HOW? Drop the other shoe!

  2. After reading some nice stuff in your article I really feel speechlesschild care rouse hill