Where did we leave off?
Ah yes. We’re both on line and we’ve decided to chat.
And that’s all we do for a year. But what is our fair young single teacher doing during this time? She’s not pining over Mark as his photo displayed a guy looking far too serious for me to take seriously. He wasn’t even smiling, just staring at the camera looking like he’s going to tell you your favourite Aunt just passed. Oh well, he’s a great chatter and gives good man-vice and for that I give him woman-vice.
I was getting annoyed with the system. I’d left Udate and tried others. I was all about my free two-week trials. Mark and I had exchanged our own (gasp! So daring!) email addresses and chat media. I didn’t need these others to entertain myself with this goofy Aussie. The problem with moving around so much chasing down my free trials is that you never are any where long enough to take it seriously. That’s hard enough as it is. So I decided to plunk it down and use my free trials to create the anti-Katy.
I was getting the feeling, after reading some of the letters from zee boys, that they’ll write to anything living, breathing, wearing a skirt (provided they were straight boys). I got the idea of the anti-Katy from another guy whom I long since lost touch with, but who only did fake personalities (carnies, fire cracker stuffers… you name it!). Sigh. I hope he found someone. He was a riot. Anyhoo, Krystalle was born.
If I said my favourite shows were on the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet, then hers were soaps.
If greens and blues were my favourite colours, then hers were pastel pinks and light blues.
If I was 5’5” and 125 lbs, brunette and outdoorsy; she was 5’10” and 115 lbs, blonde and into nice nights at home with Readers’ Digest.
I remember some of the questions, too. “What do you find sexy?”
Katy: Hairy legs!
Krystalle: I don’t feel comfortable with that word because it promotes “sex.” I could tell you what I respect in a man, and that’s manners.
Oh, I was having fun creating her. She was tall, too skinny, blonde… and with no photo, the boys decided she was hot! My plan was to read her letters first then see if any of those boys wrote to me. Those who did would clearly write to anything alive! Unfortunately one guy became upset that Krystalle never wrote back. I wasn’t going to lead them on any more… I didn’t feel bad to create her as it was filtering out those who were “carpet bagging” (I have a friend who works as a designer at Match.com and that’s what they call it when a guy just sends one letter to many women). So I decided to check out this guy’s profile before telling him that I (Krystalle) was happily dating and didn’t know how to express that…blah blah blah.. really, she was nauseating. When I saw that he had over 10 photos, I thought… no way am I sending anything before checking these out. 10?!?! You pay for that out your nose. TEN?!? And were those ten ever so glorious! Each and every one of them was of this guy posing with no shirt on and flexing to show the abs on his skinny little torso. All were like that! Perhaps looking this way or angling that way, but the boy was topless and flexed in each one. Wonderful! Ammo….
“I apologize for not writing sooner. I didn’t know how to write what my reaction was to your photos. While I find your letters lovely and warm, I was not comfortable with all your photos. You might see it as posing without a shirt. I see it as posing half nude and trying to be sexy. As you recall, I am very conservative and am not comfortable with sexiness.” Or something like that. Really. She was dreadful. He wrote back saying he understood, and I was off the guilt hook.
So the year was more entertaining than successful for me. I’m picky. We all should be.
I had quit my job as a teacher and already found an apartment in Columbus, OH. I was going to go back to school in zoology! I was determined. One last hurrah before I lose all my $$ to tuition. Mark and I decided why not meet for a holiday in California. I know plenty of people there, so if he turns out to be a dud with blackheads on his butt that desperately need squeezing
, I had places to hide.
We bought our tickets in August 2001, we’ll meet in October. Plans were to just wing it. Tour around, see a national park or two. Camp. Shove off and continue on as penpals.
Before I left, I gave my mobile number to enough friends who’d call at various times to make sure I wasn’t meat chunks on the road. I don’t think he took those precautions. I really should have whacked the guy with a skillet just to show him a lesson!
Some things happen in September around the 11th. Mark even told me about it. We were online and he types in “The World Trade Center.” Huh? Is this some game? “Eiffel Tower?” So, even a big event like this was pretty much shared with Mark.
I tell him he doesn’t have to come. I’d more than understand any hesitation. But he was determined. I bet he was thinking what I was thinking. They don’t usually strike the same way twice. Even the other time the WTC was attacked was in a different manner. As far as I was concerned, the skies were the safest place to be.
I was to go a day before he arrives, find a place to hang and then enjoy CA on my own. He’d come the next morning and we’d be off for two weeks doing whatever and planning as we go.
That was the plan… but Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you make other plans.”
I must have emailed him and told him where I was staying, because I got this call…
“This is Mahk.” (oooh, the Australian accent… cool. We’d never spoken before. He really is Australian.)
“Cool! Hi! You must be calling from those phones on the plane. Nice reception. Pricey?”
“Er…. Ner… I’m at home. I missed the plane.”
“YOU’RE CHICKENING OUT, YOU WUSS!” I say demurely and not at all accusingly.
“No no no. I’m getting the next plane.”
“You’re mad! It’ll be expensive.”
“No, it’s alright. I found a doctor who said I was too sick to travel. I’ll get it back from traveller’s insurance.”
Oh, devious and cunning. Me likes. Too bad he’s not a smiler and otherwise not attractive to me, he’d totally be my style. See, I”ve learned that men use photos that make them look much better than they do. Probably because the photos were taken when they were 25. Women are more realistic. It’s true. Or rather, it’s not. We think we’re fatter and older than we look. At least our surprises are pleasant.
“I’ll be there at the right time tomorrow.” He says this like he’s missed the bus. I’ve nearly missed many flights, international and domestic, and it usually turns my insides into ice water. But hey… his dollaridoos on that one. I have another day to wander around LA.
You’d not recognize the airport as Tom Bradley. It was empty. I waited for Mark with 3 other families. No one was travelling except for freaks who meet on the internet.
I’m still waiting when this strapping young buck comes walking out looking bewildered, tired, and happy. He’s a cutie. Now where’s Mark?
Baroo? “Mark?” Bugger! He’s cute! What am I going to do? What if I like him? He lives so far away… Man… This will be like summer camp but no reunion next summer. Man…
Yeah well… sucked face on the bus. See, you can’t park near LAX so you get shuttled out to Arizona. I’m not that easy, but hey… I’ve already chatted the boy up and lo and behold, he’s a cutiebiscuit. And why not? It’s summer camp! What is summer camp without the snogging?
And that was the last time our trip was easy.
Mark wanted to go to Tijuana. Why? I don’t know. I think T is made to look edgy in movies. You see men smoking, drinking, playing poker with music in the background and the women are all hot and bodacious. In reality, you have women from Iowa getting cheap vanilla and frat boys buying rohipnol. But the boy wants to go and he’s a guest in my country. Who am I to refuse?
I have to say that my brain works only at the wrong times. As we were driving into Mexico, I remembered that we didn’t get permission to go there nor did I get his name on the rental car. He lost the reservation and I just made another in my name. He was getting his luggage when I was getting the car. Where is this realization at the last turn off before Mexico?!?!? Eh. What can go wrong? We’re not young and hip enough to attract attention.
Once in Mexico, Mark is having me drive here and there looking for Tijuana.
“THIS is Tijuana.” Ah the border town. Never as hip as it comes off in the movies. We decide to park at a shopping centre and just look around. I’m starting to feel sick (planes make me sick) and all I want is a place to buy bottled water. I start drinking lots of it. Eventually I give in and tell him I’m dying… let’s go back to the States.
Mark offers to drive and again, I’m not thinking. I’m curled into the fetal position. Sure fine. Drive, but I have to call my mom for drugs and then rest.
I don’t think Mark is even 2 meters from the parking space when the cop comes to pull us over. He wants our papers. I lean over to the glove compartment and hope he doesn’t smell that I have just relieved myself…I’ve just crapped my future into my days-of-the-week undies. I’m screwed. I know what papers he’s asking for and I’m playing dumb getting the passports. I’m going to turn 50 in a Mexican jail.
Sure enough, he doesn’t fall for it. According to him, we’re in deep trouble. We’ve stolen the car. His interpretation of my mistake. And Mark isn’t to be driving. That I’m sweating and curled into a ball doesn’t matter. Ebola could be bursting every cell in my body and I could be bleeding out of my eyes, but Mark is not to drive this car. He tells us we’re going to have to follow him to the police station.
WELCOME TO TIJUANA, HAVE A NICE CAVITY SEARCH!
Luckily the next word out of the policeman’s mouth was “but.”
“But I could help you out.” Yeah, I bet you could Senor Bribe. And sure enough, he passed a book to us and we filled it with glee. At least nowadays, one doesn’t travel with all the cash already out. With ATMs, you can just take a bit. Anyway, Senor Bribe’s kids will have good dental work thanks to us.
Wow! We had to bribe ourselves back into the U.S. We even got a police escort to the border. I think that was his way of marking us as “these morons have no cash, not bribeworthy!” Every trip has its snafu, this was ours. At it was early and we were laughing at it.
Oh silly woman.
I had been drinking liters of water. Liters. Oceans! And now we’re in line to get back to the U.S. Since 11 September, the border has become a wee tighter. The lines were long and not moving. A certain bladder was filling. I was sweating, rolling, rocking, moaning. Mark says, “Just run over there and pee in the bushes.”
“Are you nucking futs?!?! This is the Mexican-U.S. border! If the doobie farmers don’t blow me away, the U.S. Border Patrol will riddle me fancy with their guns!”
“Well, what are you going to do?”
This is when I spied with my little eye, one small plastic bag in the back seat. Mark had gone to the Melbourne Show (think State Fair of Victoria) and brought me a Bertie Beetle
showbag. It was filled with a few chocolates of Bertie Beetle and some inflatable toy. It was about to become my backseat toilet.
Forty-five minutes later, we’re through to the U.S. and I’m screaming at Mark to ignore reason and cut across traffic to that exit to the gas station. Do it now or we’re scrubbing seats for 2 weeks.
One big aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah later and we’re heading back to San Diego. I encourage Mark to drink with his new-found Youth Hostel buddies, while I call my mom (an MD, not a dealer) and ask for drugs. I go to the drugstore when, I swear, the old and infirm of San Diego go to die and wait for my antibiotics. I wander back, take my meds and then try to sleep it off, but I can’t.
I can’t sleep it off, because Mark keeps coming in, progressively drunker each time, to declare, “You’re gonna be me woif!” Yeah, whatever, Dundee. Go away! Go play, drink more beer if you want, but piss off. I promise to be a joy in the morning. Sure enough, 5 minutes later, again he declares in a slur that I’m going to be his woif. After a few more of these interruptions, I feign a deep sleep that he can’t disturb.
We’ve been together 3 days. Arrive, find place to stay, bribe ourselves out of Mexico, get told I'm to be some drunk's wife.
We're off to Arizona now. Can you see my skin cracking? I drove the entire way, because I was not going to be busted by a U.S. cop. They don't take bribes... or they can't be counted on it.
We find a nice little motel in Phoenix (pah hone ix... so love that commercial). We're sitting side by side on the bed looking at maps, planning stuff. The Arizona State Fair is on. BONUS! I get a bit bored of the planning, I'm ready to explore this glorious state being ruined by golfers. So I lean to my right. Lean behind Mark and goose him a good one!
Seems the boy is ticklish (I was counting on that). Seems he was jumpy (even better). Seems my face was right behind his elbow when he flinched (not quite on my humor list).
"GET SOME ICE! I NEED ICE!" I yell as I check my mouth for loose teeth and a bad mandible. Oh, did I not mention that 3 years before getting my face creamed by an Australian elbow (oh they're all brutes!) I had a "le Forte I" on my face? Yeah, entire mandible removed, 3mm of bone shaved off, mandible held in place with 4 bracket like things. So I'm checking to see if I'll actually have my upper mouth bits or if I can just retire early to soft foods. So I'm checking and my face seems to be okay except for the minor problem of looking like the love child of a human and a plum. Mark finds and hands to me ice that wouldn't cover a hamster's patella. "I NEED A BIT MORE ICE, DUDE!" I direct the Aussie down the hall and all is okay after that.
Really, it didn't hurt. Happened too fast to hurt. If you pressed it, I'd have smacked your face and bitten your ear, but left alone, it was okay. Pretty, really. A beautiful shade of purple. Oh well, poo happens. We had things to do. First, we had to get more money. See above. We had to get Mark signed on as an additional driver for the rental car. See above.
Surely this trip couldn't get worse.
....to be continued....