“Bring your heat survival clothes” was the sole piece of advice Marco gave me for my weekend trip to Tucson.
You would think 18 years living in El Paso would prepare me for June in Arizona, but I still didn’t believe the pilot when we landed at 8PM and he announced the temperature was a paltry 103°F.
I walk outside the airport, call Marco, my high school comprade from El Paso, and explain my location as “20 feet north of the cacti. Do you see me?”
Marco & I reunite for the first time in 4+ years, head straight to the liquor store (priorities), and catch up on the last half decade of our lives. I summed up my last 5 years with “Hmm…I like to play squash, and ride my bike….oh and I’m gay and have a real person job!” Marco sums up his last 5 years with “School, school, school”. Solid catch up; we move on to drinking games.
The next morning, we head to the cutest crepe restaurant and eat a seriously delicious salmon egg breakfast crepe:
After total consumption, I reach for my wallet to pay, but Marco has already beaten me to it, with his ‘fake money’. Marco, a soon to be second year med student, squelches my protests by explaining loan money isn’t real money, it’s “fake, like Monopoly…you can spend all you want!” Suddenly, the mortgage crisis becomes very clear and my only response is: “You are so….American.”
Post breakfast, Marco & I head to the local rock climbing gym, to test our fitness.
After three climbs, I feel my forearms pumping and I know I am on my way to being completely spent. Two climbs later, my delicate hands tear and I fight my way through two final climbs to the top.
I nurse my wounds and Marco and I head home to prep for a night of painting the town red. We pre-game with Marco’s med school friends (we legit drank out of beakers), and head to bar #1.
Good news: All the students have left town for summer vacation, and it takes <1 minute to get a drink (how do you like them apples, crowded Dallas bars).
Bad news: There are no randos to make friends with at the bar.
As we are leaving the bar, Marco comments how “difficult it is going to be to find a cab, as the street we are on is a ghost town tonight”. No sooner do the words leave his mouth then we step into the empty back alleyway of the bar and find a cab sitting right there, with no passengers. And, the cab was a van, perfectly suited for our party of 5. It was kind of magical. OR, one of us perhaps drunkenly called a cab and then forgot about it. Let’s go with magical.
We spend the rest of the evening dancing our little hearts out, and round out the night with a 3AM visit to the local Mexican restaurant, where I have the following conversation with Marco’s friend, regarding the menu:
Me: “So, what is good here?”
Jason: “Oh, the burritos! They are so good. I would go with the carne asada burrito–that is their staple. It is unbelievable. You will not be disappointed if you go with that. Also, the bean and cheese is really good. These are definitely the best burritos in town. We always end our nights here. Get the burrito, add some hot sauce, or salsa verde….hmmm yum! SO GOOD. BURRITO!
Me: “So…hmm…are the tacos any good? I think I’ll get a taco!”
What a lez move.
As we’re eating our burritos/tacos, I drunkenly make a date with Jason to play golf at 9Am, while Marco volunteers to wheelchair kids around (or something like that). The fact that I’ve never played golf a day in my life? Not important. The fact I will be extremely hungover at 9AM? Don’t care. I’ve made what I determined was a good decision, and I am stickin’ to it!
Jason’s first mistake in this ordeal was agreeing to play golf with someone who has literally only swung a golf club once in her entire life.
Jason’s second mistake was agreeing to let me drive the golf cart. To inject adrenaline and thrill into the sport, I decide to treat the golf cart like a race car. Vroom, Vroom!
To Jason’s credit, he masks the fear in his eyes as I peel out of the parking spot, tear around a corner and launch myself onto the golf course.
“We’re here!” I announce. “By the way, how is that hangover headache treating you?”
The game ends up going much smoother than I had imagined; I didn’t lose any balls in lakes or ditches, nor did I knock out the windows of any nearby homes. Score. I mean, FOUR. I mean, Score.
Post golf, Marco & I head to Tubac, Arizona to play at the desert oasis his Dad calls home.
Marco’s study buddy Alina, and Alina’s husband Ryan come over, toting along their beagle, Peanut and labrador, Penny. Penny is the spitting image of Doug from the movie “Up”, and has the same attention span and mental capacity as yours truly.
Penny spent the entire day fetching balls; she is the most duly named labrador retriever I’ve ever met.
Tuxedo, Marco’s chihuahua mutt dog, was also very energetic and persistent…in humping Penny. Penny spent 8 solid hours chasing balls, and Tuxedo spent 8 solid hours chasing Penny. It’s not easy being pretty…although it’s debatable whether Penny ever noticed the little squirt humping her hind leg.
While the dogs were being ridiculous, Marco, Alina, Ryan and myself got wild n’ crazy over the longest card game in the history of card games…10 phases. As the name indicates, there are 10 phases to this card game and the first to progress through the 10 phases, with the lowest amount of accumulated points, wins.
4 hours of 10 phases and 3 hours of Uno have never passed quicker; time really does fly when you are having fun. And words cannot express the fun and laughter that was had that evening.
The laughter was paused by the immense and powerful display of nature, at it’s finest: the showdown between a beetle the size of my hand and it’s formidable predator, the bullfrog.
The gang crowded around the patio, whopping and a hollerin’, excitedly cheering on the bullfrog and offering sound shouts of advice, such as “stick out your tongue!” “Go, NOW!” “GET that nasty beetle!” and “C’mon, you can DO IT! ATTACK”.
In the blink of an eye, the bullfrog darts its tongue out, snatches the beetle mid-air and consumes the nasty beetle, whole. The lot of us go wild, high-fiving each other like we just won a championship football game. It was kind of epic. Please watch the episode, in all it’s glory.
After the showdown, the predator turns into the prey and has a standoff with Penny, who has briefly halted her ball chasing to join the excitement.
Luckily, the (potentially poisonous) bullfrog leaps away just in time to hide in the garage, and Penny resumes her ball chasing, happy as could be. Tuxedo resumes his humping of Penny. Penny does not notice.
The evening commences with a beautiful Arizona sunset:
The following morning, Marco and I hop on his ATV…and that is how I come to end my weekend trip in the ER. The middle is a little fuzzy, but I do remember flying through the air, wishing we had spent a bit more time looking for that helmet.
Totally kidding…we had a very safe ATV trip, followed by the saddest part of the weekend: the ride to the airport 😦 HATED it.
The next Tucson trip is high on my radar….slightly more time allocated to sleeping, with the exact same amount of time dedicated to dogs, 10 Phases, and outdoor activities. Perfection.
LOVE you, Marco!!!!