Before our late winter excursions with rockstars and to emergency rooms, The Hipster and I spent the week after Christmas in California. After our Thanksgiving break-up, I immediately made plans to visit my college friends during winter break. When The Hipster and I got back together after
one drunken night of mayhem discussing our like, feelings and needs and stuff (those are the things, right?) it was decided that he would come with me. So what had previously been an eat drink eat pray love I am v sad single person best friends please console me trip, became an omg we are real couple road tripping like v beatnik free spirits I am happiest girl ever trip.
We flew into San Diego and planned to make our way up the coast over the course of the week. The only commitment we had was New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. I was too young (lolol too young!) to rent a car, but The Hipster was
old enough my knight in shining armor so he rented us a convertible, which we promptly named Jezebel. There is nothing like the euphoria of taking off in gray bleak December New York and five hours later standing in sunny palm-treed San Diego. We were absolutely giddy.
After doing some wholesome things like walking on the beach and taking a tour around the high school I graduated from, we headed south. Because, really, what else is there to do in San Diego except go to Tijuana and
ruin one’s life see the culture? I mean San Diego is beaut, but TJ was exactly the kind of Kerouac-ian debauchery adventure that appealed to us. We stayed at some human trafficking rendezvous point motel close to the border. Once I discovered the burn marks on the worn-out green carpeting (me, hopeful and naive: iron? him, somber and definitive: crack pipe.), I made him stand at the door to watch me retrieve whatever I had forgotten in the car. It would have been très unromantique to have gotten kidnapped in the parking lot.
Sixteen years ago it was relatively easy to cross the border. I’m assuming it’s nightmare now. Because, really, what about our government isn’t an unmitigated disaster? Ugh, anyway.
Our first stop in Mexico was the bar adjacent to the bus station. Because why wouldn’t that be a good idea? Right. As we crossed the threshold into the narrow, dark, very much locals only dive, it was exactly the record scratching to a halt moment you’d imagine. I was absolutely the only woman in there, and I’m pretty sure I was only allowed in because I was with a man. Always arrogant enough to at least act like there wasn’t a room in the world in which we didn’t deserve to be, we ordered our tequilas and drank them politely while also silently communicating that we 100% needed to leave. Perhaps not as actually back-alley gully as we’d have liked to believe we were, The Hipster and I moved out of the dark shadows of those quiet streets onto the fluorescent shitshow of Avenida Revolución.
There were many stops on our journey that night. I remember snapshots: sitting ensconced in 1970s velour booths and discussing Salinger while listening to a jazzy lounge act, eating chips and salsa in a place that was dead but beautifully tiled, dancing for five seconds in some horrifying display of American teenage drunkenness club on Revolucion before escaping to the curb where people were trying to sell us drugs, but I only had eyes for the man making and selling tacos out of a shopping cart. The Hipster wouldn’t dare touch the the street meat, but while I navigated taco procurement, I remember him looking at me with That Look. The one that says Everything: that this moment is perfect and unexpected and ridiculous and doesn’t make sense and is an isolated bubble of happiness and love and longing and we are meant to be together and have adventures like this and
Halfway through my mad cow taco, The Hipster asked me to marry him.
Reader, I married him.
Lololol jk jk CAN YOU IMAGINE? I mean, had there been a church or justice of the peace open, or if the taco guy had produced, from the depths of his shopping cart, a cocktail napkin with the word “ministro” scrawled on it, come on I would have def married The Hipster, obvs. Clearly we were
347 sheets to the wind tipsy and this was a moment of the whimsical Kerouac-ian grand gesture disregard for convention we were predisposed to, but in that moment I was blindingly in love and looking at a man who was looking at me like I was the only person in the world. Lucky for us, and our parents, and their respective lawyers, it was the middle of the night and the only thing to do was head back across the border.