Monthly Archives: July 2017

Northern Exposure

It didn’t bode well when the 50-something-ish woman staggered to the gate, oozing liquor from her pores and gasping heavily under the weight of her technically compliant carryon while ranting about someone’s aura. My vacation date and I glance at each other and raise our “this flight calls for bloody marys” eyebrows as we herd into our boarding carrels, dead set on a weekend of relaxation and, well, abject whorishness.

We wind up one row back across the aisle from Shirley McPlane, who had apparently been cut off and thrown out of the airport bar for belligerent, drunken fighting, which she loudly informed the plane of before petitioning the attendant unsuccessfully for a Jack Daniels. Despite being denied, as the four-hour flight progresses she seems to ramp it up to eleven, opening with petitioning her rowmates for sexual favors (as a result of which the flight attendant moves the aisle passenger and relocates her to leave as much room as possible between her and poor Ms. Window Seat). In her new seat, she begins actually assaulting a gentleman easily 20 years her senior who has been pacing the aisle trying to stave off embolisms, at first awkwardly flirting and then accosting him, tearing at his clothing, and trying to pull him onto her lap. Date and I (along with the surrounding passengers) began worriedly murmuring about 1. how she was becoming more rather than less fucked up (we figured liquor + antianxiety meds + altitude + ???), and 2. how to subdue her quickly before the situation escalated into an emergency landing because we had motherfuckin’ places to BE. We are wondering about the feasibility of zip-tying her to the seat as a public service when she droops forward and passes out. After ascertaining she’s not expiring for good, we breathe sighs of relief and go back to pretending like Mad Max: Fury Road is “entertainment” rather than a wet dream for BDSM kids who didn’t get Burning Man tickets.

We land near the border and drive a few hours true north for what promises to be a ridiculous weekend of Bacchanalian excess, checking into a charming boutique ski hotel with a boot-warmer, fireplace, French press (Oh, Canada!), and attentive but non-intrusive staff. Turns out, it’s Victoria Day, the local version of Devil’s Night (“sorry, but I’m here to smash your windows, eh?”), so the hotel is improbably thrilled to host our group of 300 lubed-up weirdos and its collection of shocky, whip-y accessories. Date and I decide fortification is essential before the real fun begins and head out for the best sushi of our life; sure enough, when we return, the hallway is awash with rave extras, flashing lights, and glitter…we’re going to benefit from those Omega-3s.

I promptly lose Date as we both chase shiny things, me heading for the rooftop screw & view to get some true patriot love and him jumping into a pile of writhing humans like a seven-year-old into a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit. When I next encounter him, he’s looking pleased as punch, balls deep inside some woman folded over and tied to what appears to be one of those 80s-era ergonomic kneeling chairs. Eventually we regroup poolside, draping ourselves over dangling loungers in the cool night air and retelling the conquests of our evenings. We stub out our butts and head back inside, me off to the land where I’m a glowing-hearted Viking and him out to fly free among the horny night owls. He’s snoring blissfully next to me when my eyes scrape open in the morning.

After slurping coffee and putting some dents in our headboard (which is one rustic, salvaged board ironically bolted to the wall at the head of the bed) we pry ourselves out of the eiderdown and aim towards breakfast, settling on a hippie-dippie wrap shop with adequate breakfast burritos. As we head out, he realizes his wallet has gone missing; after a few moments’ freakout, he retraces his steps and finds it in the bondage room, where it had fallen under some equipment that resembles a Pilates reformer when he overzealously dropped trou.

I insist we go out and explore the area’s scenic shit, so we spend a few hours poking around the trails in the charming mountain ski town before the group activities begin. We’ve chosen to ease into sluttitude today, spending a few hours doing touristy things like axe throwing rather than getting massages or taking a workshop on how to improve our anal sex lives (cliff’s notes: less is more). We’re back to the (literal) grind by late afternoon when the pool party is in chilly full swing (Canada in May isn’t actually anywhere close to summer, so the weekend’s 70 degree weather is considered a heat wave). Although we’re not technically supposed to be nekkid in the common spaces, about 65% of the population is ignoring this and we are treated to a show of three women twerking and spinning their tits poolside. (One brave soldier attempted to represent the gentlemen with his helicopter maneuvers, but was largely ignored and slunk back to his chaise lounge.)

I learn from Date that one of these performers is in fact gainfully employed as a professional partier. She looks the part, having basically stepped out of a Pharell video (legs for miles, long silky hair, single-digit body fat, standard tattoos) and she’s targeted her sights on Date for the weekend. Apparently she enjoyed his log ride (with a satisfying sploosh) and bought a skip-the-line Magic Kingdom pass to go again and again without waiting in line. I fist-bump him approvingly, because although she’s certainly not my jam, she’s definitely one of the most attractive and coveted women at the event. We part ways for the evening when I tap out of a packed, sweaty orgy, leaving him with Party Professional and a cadre of her beautiful friends.

By the next morning, when we regroup poolside, he’s enjoying the oral attention of an under-kilt scuba diver while musing that he’s really “learning to like this,” by which he means “receiving head.” I snort pina colada out my nose, laughing so hard the head bobs up to make sure I’m not in danger of choking to death. Date muses idly that he thinks—although his math skills and memory aren’t in top shape—that this is the seventh woman who’s blown his love whistle so far this calendar day, including a steamy 3 a.m. hot tub dalliance. (“We see thee rise,” indeed!)

By Monday, we’re exhausted and dehydrated, but rally long enough to get fisted and fucked by the neighbors because, you know, life is short. By the time we scrounge up all our leftover loonies and toonies for the housekeeping staff (god bless them for their service) and slam the door behind us, we are nearly catatonic and are completely overwhelmed at the prospect of going back to the states and explaining to our vanilla hosts why we failed so miserably at taking a relaxing vacation. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t buy our claims that loud partiers had kept us up (although technically the truth); we eventually “confessed” that we had basically spent the whole weekend fucking (although we left out the “dozens of other people” part). Thankfully, this seemed to satisfy their curiosity. Besides, we only had one day to recover before we moved on to a second week of traveling threesomes, foursomes, moresomes and parties, so we were grateful for fewer questions and more glorious and free naptime.

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Spatial Awareness

Everyone should road trip across the country, both to evaluate whether your anti-stress techniques or medications are working and to experience firsthand all the charmingly weird shit sprinkled around the country (Nebraska: “Come see the world’s largest ball of stamps!”). Drivers in Kansas are honorary graduates of Seattle’s Ballard School of Driving (motto: “you pay taxes on the whole road, get your money’s worth”), so it’s not uncommon to see cars straddling both lanes on major interstates. Thankfully they only stayed for the first week’s lessons and usually travel at least 13 miles over the 75-mph speed limit.

The prevalence of this kind of attempted vehicular homicide made more sense to me after more than one friend related tales of giving or receiving road head for literally hundreds of miles of barren highway (make-your-own geyser practice through Yellowstone won gold in this storytelling competition). Orgasms while driving—mine or someone else’s—are strongly incompatible with my hyperconservative grandma-driving crash-avoiding ethos; besides, I’ve seen firsthand the (best possible) negative ramifications, when a carful of randy friends arrived four hours late to a campout after getting the directions garbled either somewhere in the telling (“Dake ettttthit thixtee nun”) or in the understanding (“got it, exit in two miles…oh, oh ohohohoooooooooohhhhhhhh mmmmm yeah oh don’t stop don’t stop YASSSSSSSSS…..wait, where the fuck are we? Are those wolves?”).

On my last two cross-country adventures, I’ve visited dear family, old friends, new friends, and complete-stranger friends-of-friends who have opened their couches and coffee pots (but regrettably, none of their legs, despite onlookers’ hopes for a lesbian pillow fight in St. Louis). The current journey has been a peculiar juxtaposition of revisiting and renewing connections that have lasted decades (or a lifetime) at the same time as I’m living out of my trusty but very impermanent Subaru TARDIS, Shirley (she’s bigger on the inside).

After more than two decades, the region of my youth appears to be preserved like Sean Connery (Red Lobster landmark, check), but reminiscing with my high school BFF about friends, loves, and grudges demonstrates how noticeably I have aged (although I like to think more deliciously, like cheese, than datedly, like questionable chicken). HSBFF is happy, healthy, and cheerfully settled in with two fucktrophies and a nice dude; my high school boyfriend (the doomed Romeo-and-Juliet-style fuckup I got suspended with for smoking dope in the boys’ locker room) was brained with an I-beam, changed his name to an Oasis brother, and more fervently than ever believes he’s the second coming of Christ (or Jim Morrison, same same), but is also settled in for the long haul in Northeast Ohio. Meanwhile, I move around so much I can’t even remember what state I’m in, and “it’s complicated” is an unnecessarily dramatic answer to “where ya from?”

Turns out I’m surprisingly well-suited to the transient life of a military adjunct, growing up with a nutbag of a mother who compulsively jerked us around the country in search of whatever grail she believed would make the lambs stop screaming. I spent a few futile and miserable years in early adulthood “nesting” into a sequence of what I hoped would be permanent homes before realizing that settling wasn’t my style, tattooing my knees, and moving every year since. The Army “pack and pray” method of relocation is only the culmination of years of intensive indoctrination into the Marie Kondo cult of minimalism, allowing me to fully embrace letting beloved possessions (and people) drift away like a mislabeled moving crate.

We’re eagerly awaiting the delivery of our worldly goods, although this is mostly a pipe dream since we are still 1200 miles and 9 days apart and have about as much certainty into our ongoing living arrangements as green card holders from Syria. Some part of me hopes that we wind up unpacking someone’s weirdly fascinating collection of SPAM-flavored sex toys and ancient Chinese pornographic opium bottles; the romantic in me hopes they will then be happily-ever-after reunited thanks to the forest elves or movers with an unusually Midwestern work ethic rather than dumped into inventory for Storage Wars. (Between our selection of sex toys and our costume closet, I’m sure our movers will enjoy unpacking us every bit as much as that C-list reality show.) We’re also curious what we will spend the next seven months looking for and eventually acknowledge is gone forever. (It’s never the wagon wheel coffee table, is it? It’s always the scuba gear or the bundt pan or something similarly unitasking and necessary for Tuesday’s shenanigans.)

One highlight of embracing the attitude of viewing life as a Japanese movie—with no sense of strictly linear time and no particular attachment to characters or settings—is the freedom to go back and replay parts I didn’t get quite right on the first take. Replacing the co-star in some climactic life scenes has certainly made the second takes play better; re-shooting scenes after years of personal growth and progress has both allowed me to take advantage of Easter eggs I now have the cheat codes for and disappointed me with quest levels that are much more predictable and boring the second time around. (Exploring the Oregon Caves was definitely better without having to yell “don’t touch that!!” at the whiny man-child escort every thirty-nine seconds, but renting a car to explore the countryside in greater depth proved so white-knuckle terrifying that I returned it a week early and reprised my enjoyment of England’s wonderful train system—a decision that cost me thousands in airline fees when a fallen tree delayed my return trip, but which I still believe was a solid choice.)

No matter how much you enjoy sending the drama queens in your ensemble packing, it turns out the world is a small and tightly interconnected place, so you should refrain from literally or figuratively burning your relationship to embers. A friend broke up with one arrogant twatsicle when he tried to mansplain how to play her World of Warcraft character. Specifically, when she told him to fuck off and let her play the way she enjoyed, he sneered, “THERE’S NO CRYING IN AZEROTH!!!” (which I think is nerd for “you’re such a snowflake, go back to your safe space”); she responded by handing him his Zorbing papers or whatever the WoW equivalent of pounding his ass to the grass and stealing his Camaro is called. A few years later, he was treated to a John Hughes level of awkward when she and her husband ran into him in a Chiefs Club in Okinawa; turns out, both gentlemen are now Navy chiefs. Because she is a much nicer human than most, she refrained from subsequently telling his peers (or underlings) how she made their esteemed coworker/respected boss cry like a bitch over video games.

What the journey has taught me as I flash back to earlier episodes, welcome previous series regulars back for cameos (to varying degrees of success), and introduce new, hopefully some-day-beloved cast members, is that the show needs both continuity in the main character roles and regular changes to refresh the supporting cast and locations. When the writers get lazy, complacent, or afraid, the stories stay safe—and become stale. We keep things—and people—because we don’t want to lose them and start over rather than because they are still enriching our travels. We fear we will be lonely; we fear others will pity us for being broken, or look down on us for having failed.

But it really is all about the journey…there isn’t any destination, and the success of the show depends on how well you commit to making each episode humorous, touching, and memorable. You’d best pull off and see the world’s largest butter sculpture now, because that shit melts fast.