There was this time…(pt. 15)

Salt n Pepa will always live here

There’s a phrase, when begins, can guarantee shivers down my parents’ spines. It sounds innocuous to start but will generally lead to them hearing something they would happily rather never know.  My sister and I do it anyway. Because we think it’s funny and we can be dicks. But it’s not just my sister and me, but our friends, friends of friends, exes, former employers, former teachers and professors, and occasionally local policeman (I’m exaggerating that last part but not by much) will repeat this dreaded phrase to my far-too-forgiving parents when they’re least prepared for it. 

Case in point: this is a comment made on social media from one of my actual college professors when I posted an article about my alma mater ranking #8 among the top party schools in the country…

All told, all compared, we were pretty good kids though. And despite our antics, we’ve both turned out somewhat functional. Well, one of us has but she doesn’t have her own blog. I’m kidding, of course. I function as well as she…just, um, differently. But I digress.

Anyway, the dreaded phrase is this:

“It was a long time ago so I can tell you about this now…”

Look, parents, teenagers are sneaky fuckers and there’s little you can do about that. You just have to hope you didn’t raise them to be idiots or hope you didn’t treat them like shit forcing them into catastrophically bad decisions.

If they did act out, just remember, they’re young, impulsive, and think they’re smarter than they are. They’re kids. Other than that, if your kid turns out to be a piece of shit, it’s your fault. It totally is so stop blaming your kids for your shitty parenting. If they’re functioning as adults, good for you; you did that, too.

Best show, best scene, ever.

Anyway, I’m trying to tell a story here. 

And it was so long ago that I can tell this story now.

There was this one time I went to go party in Tijuana.

I went to TJ with a friend we’ll call Katherine when we were both 16. I’ll call her Katherine because it’s totally her name. Katherine Hare. I went with Katherine Hare and it was her idea. We did the (sorry Mom and Dad), “we’re spending the night at each others’ houses” thing to have an excuse to drive the 40+ miles to party in Tijuana night clubs and return way past curfew; as in morning. That part wasn’t unusual and it was common for many in my high school class. 

What made this time unusual was that she left me there.

She and her boyfriend got into their expected fight and took off to either make-up or break-up as usual. As if anyone else cared. I cared, though, because they were my ride. 

I actually don’t remember how I got back to where my car was 40+ miles away. I think I chatted up some other group of wayward teens who lived somewhere near my intended location. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened but it doesn’t matter what I forgot because what I remember is what makes the story. 

Around 3 a.m., I got dropped off, somehow, at my truck. I couldn’t go home because that would screw up my alibi so I went to the house of the dude I was dating at the time. We weren’t serious but it was fun to hang out together. He used to pick me up on his dirt bike that had house stereo speakers duct-taped to the dirt bike from where he would blast Iron Maiden from a car tape deck also duct-taped to the handle bars. Fun, it was. Classy, it wasn’t. 

Around 3:30 a.m., I get to his house and wonder how I’m going to get in without waking his parents. His room had a door to the yard I could get into if only I could get there. 

The only thing in my way was a ten-foot fence that was armed with broken glass glued at the top to keep kids from scaling it. 

Clearly, they hadn’t met me yet. 

I climbed the adjacent tree, balanced myself with all the ballerina-grace I had at the time (I was a ballerina at the time, the grace part is suspect) over the broken glass deterrent, and leapt to the ground. I made it without broken bones but unaware of how cut up I was. I shook myself off and sauntered to his outside door…

Of course, it’s locked. 

I take a deep breath, turn and jump up grabbing the tree branch, swing my legs over the spiky fence, fall, land on my back over a trash can or beer keg—who knows—and lie there watching the world spin for a good ten minutes. 

Desperate and now covered in leaves, torn clothes, and blood, I do the unthinkable.

I try the front door. It’s unlocked. 

I braille my way along the dark hall towards his room and thank the goddamn lucky fucking stars that it’s not locked and open it. 

His door to the outside was a glass door so the moon that had silently mocked my fence-adventure shone through as bright as the police flashlight I assumed I’d be in sight of had this door not been open. Bright enough to notice the two figures in this guy’s bed. I know we weren’t serious but we weren’t openly dating other people either. At least that’s what I thought. 

Having already hitched a ride back from Tijuana, scaling a ten-foot, glass-laden fence and almost breaking my back, I was in no mood for this. Literally. I didn’t care. I was confused enough to actually put my outstretched hand onto her face in case I was making this up in my head. Then I put it on his head, then hers again. 

Now clear on what was actually going on but too exhausted to care and with nowhere to go, I curled up on the floor. Yes, I simply curled up on his floor and fell asleep. 

About 5 a.m., I notice that the other girl was gone. I didn’t mind. I was now freezing, covered in leaves, torn clothes and bloody but I jumped in bed anyway just to get warm. 

I found out years later that she was actually awake and watching as I touched her face. The only reason I thought she was asleep was because she was frozen in fear. He was snoring like a chainsaw and blissfully unaware of the drama she thought was happening. She must’ve been confused beyond comprehension when nothing more than a shrug came from me finding her in his bed. Years even later, still to this day, she and I are still friends. I can imagine she never would’ve thought we would be the moment my hand touched her face. 

About 2 hours later, the guy started to stretch and yawn. He turned into me, smiling happily from snuggling a warm body, his eyes closed. And like a scene from a movie, he opened his eyes to mine, recognition and realization actually shaping in his eyes, and said, “HOLY SHIT! DID I PARTY WITH YOU LAST NIGHT?” 

I said no. 

But before any other conversation took place, this guy’s mom comes bursting in the room demanding that he take all of his “shit and leave like the ungrateful bastard son” he was by bringing home all these girls to her house. 

—I am so not making any of this up.—

Seeing as I’m fully clothed, it didn’t take more than a second for me to flatten myself against the wall and creep out amidst the screaming accusations and denials of their particular dynamic. I make a break for freedom. 

It’s weird. Lately, I’ve been losing my keys. Like a lot. I never used to lose my keys ever. Until recently, I could count on one hand the times I’ve even misplaced them. But lately, it’s a daily occurrence.  Which makes me more grateful that I didn’t have that problem then. I had my purse and my keys and bolted to my truck to make the trek back home and salvation.

The hope, the dream, of every misbehaving kid is that if we’re going to get caught, we hope to at least clean up the mess enough before authority finds out to mitigate the actual severity of the misbehavior. 

That’s the dream. That’s the desperately-wished-for. 

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?!?!” I’m greeted with at the door. “Katherine has been calling looking for you!” 

Yes, Katherine. The unthinking, clueless, mind-boggling stupid idiot of a friend who abandoned me in a foreign country had called my mom to ask where I was. Despite our clearly defined and agreed upon alibis.

I had rehearsed in my head what I was going to say to Katherine during my ride back from Tijuana with whomever was gracious enough to take me back to my area. I rehearsed how I was going to apologize to my parents when I was lying half-broken over the empty keg after falling out of the tree. 

At this moment, I couldn’t have given a fuck.

At this moment, my mom, God bless her, took one look at me. She saw the leaves in my hair and torn clothes, barefoot with shoes in hand, and my look of “don’t even bother” on my face, and knew right then and there that she didn’t raise an idiot, just a teenager, who had just been punished more than any lecture was going to accomplish.

“Go to your room and go to bed.”

I squeaked out a ‘thank you’ and trailed twigs from my hair up the stairs. 

I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been more grateful to anyone than that moment. There are a lot of philosophical reasons why, and explanations as to how much it touched me that she respected my ability to learn from my own experiences, but those things are all mushy and deep with the feels. 

This was just a story to preface another one. One I can’t remember and seems kind of moot now. 

No matter. There’s someone I need to go thank right now anyway. 

There was this time…(pt. 14)

Anacapa is Chumash for “illusion”, or ironic for “sucker”

I met Phil one night at a bar called “Rocks” on State Street in Santa Barbara. It was a good bar/restaurant that lasted for quite a few years. As far as Santa Barbara restaurant life-spans, that’s a millennia. My friend, Jessica, and I were friends with the owner and we spent many happy hours there depleting the bar of their olive stock. —shut up, we were really poor.—

At Rocks one night, this handsome man chatted me up and we ended up making a date for the following week on his sailboat in Ventura. 

I arrive at Ventura harbor and Phil’s boat. The sailboat’s cabin was already occupied by two stunningly beautiful women, Erin and Lynn. Both who, I find out later, were there to size me up. As is my go-to, though I couldn’t surpass them in beauty, I did make them laugh—I do a great impression of trying to back up a 43’ sailboat out of Ventura harbor—and from that point on, we were all friends. 

One day, Erin and Mikhail (her then boyfriend) set sail on their even larger sailboat with Phil and I as passengers for a 3-hour tour to the Channel Islands.

I hope you’re getting the reference. 

We sail out through the channel towards Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands carried on the strong Santa Ana winds blustering us towards the horizon at a furiously-hot pace. 

Once there, we find a shaded, calm cove for Erin to wake board–dive for pearls/hunt for pirate treasure/save every whale shark in existence–whatever adventure she does on a daily basis. Mikhail and Phil have drinks on the deck in the gloriousness of the shimmering daylight…

While I awkwardly fumble around for something to stop the cataract of blood that is now violently forcing its way out of my body like it, early or late but always inconveniently, does every month. Because I’m me and, if things went smoothly, I would cease to be me.

And, yeah, it’s a gross detail but a necessary one to contrast that while I’m trying to shove coasters in my shorts because it’s the only thing I can find to stem the horrible tide,

Ms. Pro-Windsurfer/photojournalist/USskiteam/whalesharkprotector is effortlessly wake boarding in a way one could only see on ESPN, and filmmaker Mikhail and entrepreneur Phil are casually discussing how they’re going to assuredly and quite literally save the world. 

The Gilligan reference starts making sense now, doesn’t it.

My only hope to maintain any dignity I may have is to go back home soon so I can attend to this typical over-the-top, slapstick, Molly-type moment of a normally (for other people) fair-weathered experience.

Because we are. This was only a 3-hour tour, after all.

It’s Sunday and I don’t have anything keeping me rooted to the shore (except for work on Monday), so I settle in to a great afternoon. Having effectively yet comically fashioned whatever-it-was I did to fix my womanly problem, I do what I feel is my honor and privilege to do and entertain; both intentionally and not.


Then it starts getting late. 

Really late. 

I’m pretty sure there are people back on shore who might be missing me if we don’t return me by at least late evening. It’s downright dark now and I politely inquire as to when we’re going back. 

“Can’t. Santa Anas,” is Mikhail’s response. 

“What? Really?”

“Yeah. Off-shore winds. We can’t sail against that. I mean, come on.” He smiles and makes another drink. 

“Well, um, I should really call someone then.”

“Can’t. Sun spots,” Phil says. He’s the only one with a cell phone in the early 2000s so he clearly knows what he’s talking about. 

“What about ship-to-shore radio?” I ask. I didn’t know shit about sailing but I’ve heard about radios.

“Can’t,” Erin says smirking though I bought it anyway, “Island is in the way.” 

None of their answers seem quite legit but I accept them as truth. I’m in no position to argue with these world travelers.


I kept up the worry for a fast minute as it didn’t take me long to give up on going home that night. Besides, we were having too much fun pretending we were pirates that I was okay with it. Okay, I was pretending we were pirates. We’ll be home tomorrow, work be damned. After all, no one can blame me for sun spots.

The next morning, I wake up to Bloody Marys, visits from random sailing-types also seeking out a shady cove, and a glorious sun. 

It’s suggested that we hike to the top of the hill on this protected, no-humans-allowed island. I, again, quietly suggest we try to get a hold of someone on shore in Santa Barbara. Hell, I’d settle for someone in Ventura knowing I was still alive at this point. 

They’re having none of it. On the island’s beach, Mikhail is putting rocks on his chest claiming he’s trapped under a landslide and can’t captain the sailboat back home. 

“How are we going to call anyone to save you if we can’t call shore?”

“Oh, never mind. I’m fine.” He giggled and jumped up, rocks flung aside, to start up the steep hill. I’m ignored and left to either follow or twiddle my thumbs.

I do take a second to begin to think this might be a setup. 

I do enjoy the illegal hike, follow Phil’s asthmatic wheezing (another tip off that we weren’t far from help considering his lack of worry) towards another glorious view. From that vantage I can see California’s Central Coast and have a quick, twingey thought of who might be worrying about me. I care as much as the thought is fleeting.

We return to the boat to engage in an extremely competitive and somewhat frightening game of Pictionary. In addition to being beautiful inside and out, Erin has competed her way to the top of everything she’s ever tried and her accolades are very well-deserved. The list is exhaustive and I won’t get into it here. You can here, though.

And apparently, Pictionary was something she wasn’t going to come in second at either. 

I say with pride that she can win everything else in the world but no one can beat me at Pictionary. I only wish I kept that drawing of Barry White that ended the ill-fated game amidst nefarious accusations. It was a draw. I won the game, she won at pouting.


Come Tuesday…

TUESDAY! I wake up suddenly to what felt like gentle waves rocking the boat and the hum of a well-maintained motor I didn’t know the boat had.

I know what you’re thinking, “How the fuck did you not know the boat had a motor?”

I didn’t. It was a sailboat. I knew about the sails! Stop judging me. I know other stuff. Jeez.

Mikhail is at the helm (see, that’s something I know), and Erin is filming a pod of a thousand dolphins surfing alongside us. Phil is smiling, sipping a mimosa with his leg up, as I creep out from the cabin. 

“Morning.”

“We’re motoring back? We’re MOTORING BACK?? OH MY GOD.” Giggles then outright mocking me competed with the sound of the happy motor.

It was hard to be mad at the great time or the great people on the deck smiling and enjoying the day despite my kidnapping and collected plotting against my return. If I were ever to be Shanghai’d, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. 


There were a lot of concerned then angry messages when I finally got home. I deflected them by being an ass about it. I’m sure I’m over it.

20 years later, we are all still friends. Though they are a tough crowd to keep up with.

Phil can be found selling giganto-yachts in New Zealand or Monaco or Tahiti or… somewhere, I forget.

Erin is still doing everything more exciting than any of us can imagine, just ask Richard Branson.

Mikhail, though, had to one-up everyone by accidentally flying his helicopter into a glacier. It sucks that he left us but if there’s a way to go, that’s pretty much the most badass way to do it. 

RIP, our friend

Me? I’m writing stories and taking the frequent naps they refuse to in honor of all them.

Someone’s got to. 

There was this time…(pt.13)

Geoff, the Santa Barbara boyfriend of 10 years, the chick-wrangler or “Sport-fuck” as his friends used to call him in my presence, was not one to keep his pants on when he should. Seeing as it’s been more than 15 years later, he and I are good friends and I don’t begrudge him the, um, multitude of indiscretions in which he may or may not have indulged.

The indiscretions so plentiful that it was reported in the local newspaper. 

You could wonder why I would put up with something like that and I don’t blame anyone for wondering that. The answer is simple: I didn’t know at the time and how could he not? In a town with a population of only around 30,000 permanent residents, 90% of whom are female, it’d be almost rude of a man this beautiful to not indulge. 

And it has been over 15 years. I really couldn’t care less now. We’re past it, so should you be. I appreciate your righteous anger, though, dear reader. If anything, I’m impressed that anyone could have that much energy or time in their day.

I only report that previous detail because, goddamn, it was in the fucking newspaper!

But I digress. This is just a story about a time.

__________________________

There was this time when we went to a movie.

One normal night, we went to go see Golden Eye, Pierce Brosnan’s debut as James Bond. 

As we’re walking through the doors of the Arlington Theatre, I excuse myself to make a bee-line to the ladies room. Geoff meanders towards the outside patio; doing the agreeable nod that we’d meet out there.

I find him holding a martini and grabbing stuffed mushrooms off a passed plate. It looked great, albeit odd for a random movie night, but I graciously accepted a martini off a tray held by a smartly-dressed waiter. 

We wordlessly enjoy our good luck for whatever conceivable reason this was happening; not wanting to say anything lest saying it makes it stop. I look up and notice that everyone mingling in this little quaint outside patio was far better dressed than we. We were no slouches but we weren’t dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. I also notice that Pierce Brosnan was about 5 feet away from us. 

“Oh shit.”

“What?”

“Look!” I point with my pinky finger towards the doorman checking off names but otherwise turning away many people not on his coveted clipboard list. The doorman who let us through because our dismissive, belonging attitude–due to the fact we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to be there in the first place–gave us unquestioned credibility.

“We just walked into a movie premiere.”

Giggling at our stealth and trying to find ways to shove martinis and steaming hot mushrooms into my purse, we followed the elite crowd into the theater to watch the best James Bond ever portrayed.

–Oh knock it off. This is my story and my opinion. Get off your Connery.–

Two hours later, we stumbled out of the theater; stunned by our luck, and dazed by the many martinis…and also having hatched a plan. 

Lightbulb lit, for the next few months, there wasn’t an event we couldn’t get into. We arrogantly strutted our way into gallery openings, elite polo gatherings, exclusive Montecito galas, and one hilariously successful entrance into the world-famous Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel in Los Angeles to meet Geoff’s “agent, Jaime Bemis” whom he had conjured out of the air. 

We had a great time. We really did. And, to this day, we both look back at it as a triumph.

It couldn’t last though. The problem with faking your way through life is that, unless you’re a psychopath, you can’t keep it up. Microexpressions, fatigue, and anxiety show through the facade.  It makes pulling this kind of thing off harder and harder. You just don’t have the energy to do it anymore anywhere.

And when you’re trying to pull this kind of thing off in a town of only 30,000 people, most of whom know one of you really well by now, eventually someone is going to write up your story in their local newspaper. 

There was this time…(pt. 12)

Massive secluded spaces to pull over and enjoy

It was an old Reddit post I only recently came across that made me think of this story. The Reddit story is funny and a huge relief for all of us thinking we might be alone in doing stupid shit.

And stupid shit is what this blog is made of, god damnit.

After I was gifted by my wonderfully generous father, David E. Knop, a car, my former-boyfriend, Geoff, and I decided to take our new-used Toyota 4Runner, with our adorable dog, Chimi…

Camping.

We decided to drive up the amazing El Camino Cielo road that rings the mountains around Santa Barbara.

Good idea, of course.

Except that our decision was made after spending an entire day at Butterfly Beach in Montecito under the hot, hot sun.

Butterfly Beach was about 100 yards from our apartment. Once, I went swimming there to “exercise” at 9 am. I say, “exercise” because I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. With no one on the beach to point and scream instead of saving me, I came way too close to being Great White fish food. I only saw how close when I made it to shore to find that what I was swimming alongside of was a huge, dead sea lion with a man-sized hole chomped out of his middle. But that’s a story for another time.

Usually, it was me and Geoff and Chimi and a foot-long sub sandwich from the Greek-Italian Market and a 12-pack of Coronas.

It clearly sucked.

This particular day was a long day in June. Around 5 pm, perfect weather and my perfectly-tanned ONLY front-side of my body (yes, just perfectly-tanned front, totally white ass,) was fried. My half-tan was due to the awesome chairs I’d found that were too comfortable to get up and flip over. They were so comfortable. I miss those chairs.

By then, Geoff’s perfectly-tanned tennis-perfected body had had enough of fending off the coeds flirting with him. That’s “hims”– plural. Both Chimi and Geoff.

Because how could you not flirt with that?

No one apparently.

On a rare day off work I had once, I took my dog to the beach. He ran off because he owned that beach and it was normal. I expected him to come back to settle into his palapa we had to make him every time out of sticks and usually my beach sarape. Fluffy black fur wasn’t the best at keeping a tiny dog cool.

I hadn’t even noticed how far he’d run off, as it was so quick, until I spotted some 20-year-old in a microscopic bikini holding my dog in her hands.

I stood up, walked over, “Um, excuse me, can I have my dog back?”

She says, “Oh, you know Chimi?”

I didn’t punch her. I swear.

I just took my dog and went home to wait for Geoff. And maybe carefully rearranged his things. All of his things.

–Ahem.–

Anyway!….

The day in question, we hosed off a happy, sandy Chimi and jumped in the new-used 4Runner.

We drove up the picturesque, windy roads, full of excitement. And way too many Coronas for which I’m ashamed of admitting. We found our perfect spot in the wilderness to camp with the glorious views of this magnificent place.

Santa Barbara; a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem

We pass out peacefully. And except for one sudden terrifying moment when the coyotes tried to lure Chimi out of the open back of the 4Runner, we slept like 3 logs. Lulled by quaint animal noises and crickets and the musky-sweet scent of ocean and night-blooming jasmine.

Until morning.

Morning, we woke up to find that we’re not in a secluded spot in the country.

No, the sound of slamming car doors woke us up to the fact we were “camping” in someone’s front yard.

Not the woods

Morning came with us hauling our half-tanned asses out of a trespassing charge.

Good times.

Are you a jerk looking to date?

Are you bored and regular dating sites aren’t doing it for you? Are the women you find not plentiful enough, too demanding, not tolerant, demand respect and to not live in fear and betrayal? Then you’ve come to the right place. Holyshitnotagain.com is the dating site for those who’ve been looking for that special someone with a special resilience.

  • Do you dream of meeting that one person you can take all the world’s problems out on?
  • Does the sight of someone happy make you want to punch it off their face?
  • Do you love coming up with new and interesting ways to destroy someone’s soul?
  • Do you hate your mother?
  • Do you love your mother too much?
  • Do you want to take all your issues you have with your mother out on someone?
  • Do you hate women?
  • Do you love all women often?
  • Does the truth make you want to just lie for no reason?
  • Does it make you happy to deny happiness to another?

Then we have the woman for you.

We, at holyshitnotagain.com, have the perfect woman for any closet-case, liar, cheater, trickster, and violent felon looking for temporary love. She’ll have dreams of a happy future with you, but it’s always temporary here at holyshitnotagain.com.

Meet Molly. Our newest and only star at holyshitnotagain.com.

She’s cute
She’s smart
She’s sexy
She’s a world traveller

And there’s something about her that just makes you want to smack that smug smile off her face. Cheat on her, smack her around, lie to her face, and she’ll keep coming back for more. No one knows resilience like this little filly. She’ll give you presents, make you delicious meals, cater to your every need without you ever doing anything but treat her like shit.

She’s perfect for anyone who:

Likes to cheat so much that it’s reported in the local newspaper
Prefers Molly’s closest friend and her drugs to Molly
Is a violent, psychopathic, narcissistic monster
Is a bible-banging, backstabbing, alcoholic hypocrite
is Married

Don’t worry, she’ll believe your lies. And, she’ll stick around long after you think you’ve exhausted all forms of degradation. One thing that Molly has, it’s resilience. She’s in it for the long haul, regardless of how temporary you’ve decided it would be without telling her.

Get her before she regains any self-confidence. The pickings are ripe here at holyshitnotagain.com.

You can be the next asshole to swoop up this charming piece of whipping post if you act fast.

Be careful, though. She has had some good men in her life and there’s a chance she’ll remember that fact before too long.

Behold the competition:

Applications accepted now! Don’t wait. Time’s running out. Offer ends when she finally pulls her head out of her ass.

Visit: yeahrightasshole.com

What could possibly go wrong?

Clearly what I was picturing.

But where is the fun in that? And I’m not doing this embarrassing stuff for my health.

I realized today that though I may not be the world traveler I used to be, I may not work the exciting jobs anymore, I may not have to travel to Stockholm for awards (I never did that,) but there is rarely a dull moment once Mo puts on her shiny shoes. 

Today, those shoes were flip-flops and the moment was a dangerously hilarious 5-minute ride on my brand new-used electric scooter. 

I figured that since I now live as close to work possible without actually living in it, I should keep the obnoxiously $4.25/gal price of gas out of my car and at the pump where it belongs. Because $4.25. A gallon. This is just plain ole regular gas, too. Nothing fancy. Just $4 goddamn dollars per gallon. Anywho….

Not only do I live about 6 blocks from work, the parking around my little apartment is so bad that I’ve walked halfway to work by the time I found my car. The 3 block “coast” into work seems a little wasteful after that. That’s not to say I’m walking there routinely. Pffft. I mean, come on. I didn’t practice loafing around all these years to start “exercising” now. That’s just plain foolishness so stop suggesting it. 

So, I figured the on-sale, open-box, mildly marked-up, reject, stand-up scooter was a reasonable solution to my walking-allergy. 

However, there were a few things I didn’t consider. 

Because, of course I didn’t. 

I’ll share those things with you now. 

  1. Yoga pants don’t normally have pockets. At least not the ones I wear. If they do, they don’t hold the cell phone, make up, keys, pens, sunglasses, regular glasses, wallet, female stuff, masks, different pair of sunglasses, 3 crossword puzzles from the paper, charging cords, headphones, bottle of water, and thermos of wine I seem to need to carry with me at all times. 

2. I haven’t worn normal pants in 4 years. 

3. I need to find a backpack to fit all of my needs that won’t make me too top heavy and tip over in a light breeze. 

4. Spending about 4 hours online finding the perfect, overpriced backpack causes me to get distracted and wander off. 

5. It’s important to check to see what kind of tires your new scooter has. Mine are air-filled. Make sure they are filled with air. This is key.

6. It’s true that our balance gets compromised the older we get. Especially when carrying a thermos of wine. 

7. I don’t know how to ride a stand-up scooter. 

8. Stopping when wearing flip-flops going downhill on a scooter you don’t know how to ride in the first place may make you rethink your plan. 

9. Buy a helmet. Take 10 seconds and actually strap it to your head.

All important info. Trust me.

Anybody got any gas money I can borrow?

There was this time…(pt. 11)

That stage to the right has Clapton all over it.

I know what you’re thinking.

Come on, you can’t possibly have another story from your past as ridiculous as the rest.

-You

Yes, I can. AND it’s not even from a long ago past.

How, for the love of all things holy, could I not be the paragon of dignity at this advanced age?

Stupid question. If I learned things, I wouldn’t need a blog to write it all down to entertain you, otherwise. Dur.

I began this with a particular story in mind. I can’t tell that one without telling this first. You’ve been warned.

At this place where I’m still working and, if I play my cards right, I hope to for the rest of my life. Like one day a week, tops. Because I have to. I can’t let this continue without being a part of it. How is it possible that I didn’t know it has existed for my entire life without hearing about it is beyond me. Had I known, I probably would have started working there at 15 instead of the crappy Korean deli/liquor store/deliquency-contributorship that I did work in.

Actually, I take that back. Songs, or Del Mar Fine Wines as I’m sure most of us didn’t know it was actually named, was probably safer for me since it eventually closed.

Campland-on-the-Bay, however, is still running, 60 years later, and where I, with almost 4 years under my belt, am still considered the newbie. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened to me had I found its fountain of perpetual fantasyland at 15. Well, all I have to do to find out is ask the many employees of 15/20/30+ years what year they think it is now.

Hint: 19something.

The bizarre thing about Campland…hahahaha. Sorry. I’ll start over.

One of the many bizarre things about Campland is how many celebrities visit there.

Seriously.

Almost more than the world-famously-poorly-run-yet-hilarious Miramar Hotel in Santa Barbara. Campland is the spiritual twin of the Miramar and, someday, if I have more time or the energy you’ll hear about that, too.

But regarding Campland’s especially rich celebrity influence, one day in 2017, as I’m checking-in mostly grumpy Karens and Chad-like individuals, I start talking to a nice man who was a bandmate of Tom Petty. I can’t remember which bandmate, which makes my story sound suspicious, but it’s legit, I promise. We talked because we had people in common when I worked for Kenny Loggins. I just don’t remember if he was the bassist, drummer, Cheshire Cat-wrangler or whatever. We chatted. It was nice. He was nice.

The guy who isn’t Tom Petty

He invited me to come to his campsite to continue our conversation about the people we knew in common later that evening. Before he left the office, though, he told us how he brought Eric Clapton to Campland and the two of them played guitar on the stage, impromptu, just because. -see first photo-

And how no one listened. Well, no one paid attention anyway. In total Campland fashion.

Sadly, Tom Petty died that night and this bandmate left without giving me that drink. The nerve, right?

That story is only prefacing this one.

No, not the adorable story behind the picture of me and Jason Day minutes after he won the Torrey Pines Open in sudden death.

Still sweaty and full of adorbs. Jason. I wasn’t sweaty.

Not that story. That story is just full of me always having food shoved into my mouth when sexy Jason came into my hemisphere. Like a lot of food. The first time was an entire half of a Snickers bar. The second time was me shooting cookie pieces out of my mouth trying to apologize for the Snickers incident.

No, it’s another story. Hmmm. Now, I can’t remember. It’ll come to me.

It may need another post.

-insert infuriating wink-

More to come…

There was this time…(pt. 10)

You may remember a while ago there was a meme circulating around about punk/hard core/metal musicians loving their cats. More specifically, Glenn Danzig.

All of that is cute. Because, of course it is. We already know that cat pictures power the Internet. Without them, the Internet would cease to be. And we would all die. So, in turn, thank Glenn Danzig for allowing you to read my blog right now and saving your lives. You’re welcome.

For those who don’t know, Glenny, as I would never call him to his face, is the founder of the Misfits and then his own namesake band later on. Fans of the movie The Hangover will recognize the sound of this lover of furry kitten friends.

However, I did not know of this feline proclivity of his when I met him around 2013. I just happened to be the main minion to the greatest cat of all time. If you were ever lucky enough to have met Mobi, you would know why it came up in conversation.

There’s nothing cuter than the sound of a this pioneer of punk’s “Awwww” upon him seeing a picture of my Mobi.

How could anyone not melt from that face?

Granted, Mobi was the greatest cat of all time, way more punk than punk, a far more dignified badass than any 5’10”, 200lb of solid-muscle, fireplug-of-angry could ever dream of being.

Listen, though. This is important. I did not offer Mobi’s picture to Danzig when I met him. He asked ME to see Mobi.

We were simply discussing how awesome kitties are and specifically, the Mobes. As I regaled him of stories of my 6 lb cat slaughtering 4 lb rats in front of me, Danzig could not help but ask to see pictures of, well, the King, may he Rest In Peace.

Mobi
Bow to the Master

And then the Awwww. It was adorable.

We giggled.

Yes, I giggled with Danzig.

About cats.

Boom! Internet saved.

The shiny one on the right is just glowing from the love of cats. The grumpy one on the left wasn’t actually grumpy, just blinking. I’m pretty sure.

Another story I’m just going to stick to. Which actually leads me to this other time…

The Only Lesson

Kids, this blog isn’t and shouldn’t be about life lessons or rants. Though I’m guilty of writing both (lately all the time but it’ll get better.)

It’s about awkward. Funny, ridiculous awkward.

And I’m sure that’s what we all could use right now.

Yeah, you wish. I’d have to go outside to do something cringe-worthy to come up with something awkward. Doing something embarrassing in private isn’t embarrassing and awkward is, you know, life.

Because if you were able to see how I’m sitting right now, that would be embarrassing. (If you think I’m taking a pic of it, that would be stupid.)

Not going to happen.

Being distanced and quite enjoying it until the dreams and tics started, I’ve been granted the opportunity to revisit every single thought I’ve ever had ever, over and over again. Yay me!

I’ll spare you the minute details because there isn’t room on even the massively creepy unknown amount of hidden Google servers to hold the OCD thought-roller coasters I’ve been enjoying.

And enjoy them I have.

It’s like getting 3 free months of e-tickets to Disneyland but the only ride open is that rickety no-name roller coaster they built before liability suits were a thing. With the requirement that you ride it continuously until you throw up.

I did glean one thing from all the Wheeeee! I’ve been celebrating that I think is useful. It’s a lesson and a warning. One that is counter to how people my age (as in you’re old enough to get the e-ticket reference) have been raised with but couldn’t be more important than now. Because it’s never too late to unlearn stupid.

It’s this…

Wake up. This is important.

Be aware of bad people.

Yeah, I know. It’s hardly the most earth-shattering realization in the world.

I’ll make the concession that it’s also not my original idea. Props to the guy that came up with it.

We, as in most of us, have been raised in the false, erroneous, naive, set-up-to-fail ideal that we should give people the “benefit of the doubt”.

Don’t.

Don’t ever do that again.

Monsters are real. They don’t have bad days, they cause bad days. Don’t forgive that insulting rant just because “work has been crazy.” Don’t look back if someone uses your life or body as fodder for their internal ugliness.

They are bad people. They deserve to be as far away from you as possible. Don’t make excuses, just bail.

The first time.

Now, back to the awkward fun.

-NTZ

Truly

I say “truly” because I’m finding out that just not having actual face-to-face, virtual, or cellular interaction doesn’t mean I’m truly over it like I want to be. I need to be over it. I have to get over it.

I feel, and it’s only my opinion, that being truly “over it” is akin to the experience of going to Alcoholics Anonymous. You can go to AA because you’re told you’re not supposed to drink alcohol or are mandated by the court to do so. You white-knuckle it day-by-day, chanting the mantra, only to repeatedly fail and stuck in a torturous loop. Or you can go to AA because you truly, deeply in your heart, believe you have a problem with the way you think about alcohol, want to change that, and find only then do you make the change into who you’re meant to be. Lesson by hard-won lesson, one day at a time.

The important lessons are always hard-won.

I tried pure cocaine once. Decades ago. It’s not a euphemism. It was 100% pure cocaine. It was pure; pearly and flaky and amazing. It was euphoric. It was power and happiness and heaven. And the next morning, I wanted to die from the headache and shame. The cure for the shame and wanting what was bad for me was in already knowing it wasn’t good for me. Already knowing that dipping my toe didn’t mean I could swim. It didn’t lie; it’s just true.

Had I not known, though. Had it lied about its intentions, lied about its aftermath, I would’ve been hooked. I would’ve been conned into needing what it gave me so teasingly. If thought I could have that dreamy euphoria once again, even as it vanished without a word, only to return with more tasty promises—always just when I had curbed my addiction—to suddenly, cruelly, and without explanation deny me access again…would I do anything to entice it back? Would I have hung around despite it screaming at me what a piece of shit I was so humiliatingly only hoping for it to throw a little of that paradise back my way like it used to? When we were new? Were lovers? Friends? Before it convinced me I wasn’t worthy of even mere crumbs? Would I subject myself to torture to bring back that euphoria like it promised? Of course I would.

I’m glad I didn’t have the option. It was fun once and that’s where it belongs. Once.

But drugs and alcohol are easy to vilify because they’re recognized as something not to do. For good reason. They destroy people, lives, potential, energy. They’re vampires. And, there isn’t anyone telling us we’re wrong about them being dangerous. Drugs and alcohol don’t lie. People do.

Because of that reality, I’m struggling with why I should bother. That tiny bit of euphoria offered to me, despite the horrific psychological, physical, emotional abuse that comprised the interim, has been more desperately comfortable to cling to than having to admit to all of it being over. To not have that comfort to withdraw to, as fleeting and as false as it was, is frightening. Even worse is having to admit to being fooled entirely; a euphoria manufactured from Day One. It’s humiliating, crushing, defeating. Releasing that tiny last memory is the last comfort left until total emptiness. I fear the worst but have nothing left to cling to.

And it is worse. The emptiness breaks my heart in what little of my damaged life I have left.

Now it’s just dark.

So dark that it seems like I’m reeling towards a brick wall at midnight at 100 miles per hour with no time left to wonder what’s stopping me from running headlong into it. I can’t seem to see past the brick wall, what little shadow I can see of it. All I see is end and blackness and stop. Not death, just apathy. Just nothing.

Yet, I somehow know it’ll get better.

Because it has to.

Because there is no going anywhere but up from….

–No! Don’t say it! Stop this now.–

That statement is dangerously untrue! It’s only a semantically tricky way to invoke danger. I know better than to ever say the words, “things can’t get worse”. Because they will. I’ve lived it before. When those words are uttered, the gods go out of their way to prove us wrong. Like some medieval-themed game played with a 12-sided die, saying it makes it true, no matter what kind of cloaking word devices I use. I know better than to tempt them that way.

So I take it back! I take it all back.

Clinging to comfort isn’t living. Clinging to life isn’t living. I won’t do it anymore. The new die is cast.

So instead of tempting the gods into perpetuating a violent felon’s idea of what I deserve, I’ll say instead…I’m aiming towards the black, brick wall. And running head-first.

Propelled and limping as I near it, pinwheeling weak baby giraffe-like legs harder and faster, gaining speed and strength as the force of my own acceleration peels back my cheeks into some kind of a smile. A one-two leap and I’ll launch over it, shoot skyward, bounce off intermediate hills and haughty mountains. Somersaulting then regaining my direction in tighter trajectories.

I’ll dodge swoopy bald eagles until the goofy one I can’t avoid connects, startled as myself. We’ll explode into a hilarious mass of feathers and laughter.

Landing hard on our backs, we’ll high-five while panting in catching our breaths.

Wondering at our luck in our escape, pride in each other’s soaring, we see that wherever it is we land, it’s surprisingly sunny there.

Truly.