Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Your head will collapse if there's nothing in it."*

Coachella Part IV
    This is the continuing saga of my trip to Coachella in 2004. Previous chapters are available if you’re feeling masochistic: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
    The kindly man from AAA had just left me in the parking lot after his heroic (and unsuccessful) attempt to break into my car and rescue my keys. And then I did what I always do when things go wrong: I focused on positive thoughts and meditated. Just kidding, I cried like a little bitch, slumped on the concrete next to my car.
    After I’d cried for a couple of minutes, I got up and went back inside to look for Scott. He was back at the roulette wheel throwing away one of the twenties I’d given him.
    “You got the keys?” he asked.
    I explained how my car was a fortress of impenetrability. Something not nearly as cool as it sounds.
    “And he didn’t even offer to call anyone for you? Not a locksmith or anything?”
    I just shook my head and started to cry again.
    “Okay, okay. Stop that. We’ll use the phone book at the front desk. They’ll help us.”
    I felt completely deflated. Despite my insistence to the contrary, despite my being very nearly a college graduate, I was still a great big baby who didn’t know how to take care of herself.
    I followed Scott to the front desk and he requested a phone book. Not surprisingly, the Cabezon directory was rather limited. We picked the only locksmith listed, a Mr. Joe Falcone, and called the number. It being 5 o’clock in the morning, I shouldn’t have been shocked by the voice mail greeting instructing me to leave specific details about the problem, my location, and my phone number.
See how there's nothing in Cabezon? The only thing on the map is the f***ing Morongo Casino.
    I did what the answering machine told me, but my heart sank.
    “Come on,” Scott said. “Maybe there’s a hotel nearby and we can crash until the locksmith calls you back.”
    We asked at the desk.
    “Well,” the remarkably perky receptionist said, “there is a Best Western ten miles west on the 10.”
    Oh sweet. Just a short walk.
    “Aw, fuck, Scott. I’m sorry. I suck so bad.”
    “Naw, it’s okay. Quit crying about it. Why don’t we go play a few more hands of blackjack and then we’ll eat some breakfast buffet. It opens at 7, I checked. No problem.”
    I gave him a weak smile and tried to lighten up. Two hours? No sweat. And maybe I could call my friends Brian and Marah before they left and ask them to bring along my spare car key (if they were willing to swing by Pasadena on their way out of town--a big "if"). 
    So we went back to the table. Mostly I watched and mostly Scott “borrowed” money from me, which he seemed determined to lose. But frequently I stepped out to the front of the casino to look around, check the bars on my dying cell phone, and make sure I wasn’t missing calls from the locksmith. Joe Falcone had become synonymous with the second coming of the Lord in my mind (something I've always been excited about). An overall, pervasive exhaustion was creeping into my veins. The sun was coming up.
    As luck would (finally, something!) have it, the breakfast buffet actually opened at 6:30. I managed to lure Scott away from the tables with the promise of food. We sat and examined our place mats, which had not only the menus but also mazes and word-find puzzles printed on them. We were given crayons to fill them in. Luck had struck again! We were getting on a roll.
    We ordered enough food for a hungover fraternity house. Eggs and toast and bacon and French toast and hash browns and orange juice and more. And we got busy coloring our menus while we waited for the food.
    At the precise minute the food arrived, I got a call.
    “YES! This is Lacey! Yes!”
    “Hi, Joe here. I’m on my way to the casino right now. I should be there in 10 minutes.”
    I grinned at Scott, took two swigs of coffee and ran down the hill. I was now $20 in the hole instead of $200 ahead but I’d never been so happy in my life.
    Here is why Joe Falcone** is the greatest man in the world:
1.     He showed up early.
2.     He explained that his shop didn’t open until 7 a.m., but he got my message and felt so bad that he came right away.
3.     He actually opened my car.
4.     He refused payment, saying he’d send the charges to AAA.
    It was like that scene in Adventures in Babysitting*** when Vincent D’Onofrio lets them leave without paying the entire amount for their new tire because Sara is convinced he’s Thor. I love that man (Joe, not Thor. Although I love Vincent, as well.).
    I ran triumphantly back up that heinous mountain of a driveway and skipped into the breakfast room waving my keys. I sat down and dug into my eggs. We were functioning on zero sleep and very little money and we had a two-day, outdoor concert to attend in about 8 hours.
    It was 7 o’clock in the morning.
    I need to stop again. This is entirely too long. But I’ll explain more later. (Read part five here.)
*A little repetitive because "Where is My Mind?" by the Pixies actually doesn't have that many lyrics. Deal with it.
**Joe Falcone is real, and if you're ever locked out in the middle of the desert between LA and Palm Springs, he's your man. Seriously.
***Adventures in Babysitting (Chris Columbus, 1987--pre-Harry Potter). 

1 comment:

  1. Yaaaaay Joe Falcone! But wait, AAA has locksmith services as a part of, oh wait, that's only with AAA Premier, never mind. I do hope you've quit hanging with Scott? Sheesh, compulsive gambling LOSER! Just sayin...