April 10, 2010 by David Gillaspie
What do you do during a week in San Diego with the nights free? Go to Tijuana with someone who’s never been there, of course.
A guy from the conference came all the way from Northern Iowa. He had hair long enough for a pony tail and wanted someone to go over the border with him. After spending the first evening at an English pub in SoCal, I was game for something more authentic.
Getting to Revolution Avenue was the easy part. Bus to the border, walk over, and catch the chicken bus to town. It wasn’t called the chicken bus, but riders carried chickens in cages with them. I chalked it up to a cultural thing, and the absence of KFC.
We got off the bus and walked to a bar across the street. A big crowd of locals, guys in Navy uniforms, and big white guys, watched dancing girls dance. I pushed forward and threw a dollar in the stage. It seemed like a good idea.
The dancer said, “You can do a lot for a dollar.” A lot? I backed out to where Iowa was and told him what she said. I asked what he thought “a lot” was all about. He said he wanted to find out, but not there. I said great, I’ll fly wing.
We walked up a few blocks, then back. Iowa decided to stop in one place. I flew wing. We slid into a booth and before we stopped sliding, two girls popped in. Beautiful girls. Girls who needed a cuddle.
I smiled and pointed to my pal, all wrapped up with the girl on his side. I pointed to him and held up two fingers to my girl. I made a zero and pointed to me. Then pointed to my wedding ring and raised both hands, shrugged my shoulders, and offered to buy her a drink.
She pouted. I was a dud. I encouraged her to scoot over to the other side with the other couple. She shook her head. I put a dollar across the table and pointed to it and her and said “For you.”
She moved over and picked it up just as Iowa and his new girl got up and walked to the back of the bar.
I didn’t notice the curtained sections at the back when I came into the place, but that’s where they went. The other girl and I sat across from each other. I said the only Spanish I knew, “Mi nombre es Daveed, et tu?” I think I said my name is David, and you?
She didn’t have time to answer. Iowa flew out from the curtained rooms with a quick, “Let’s go.” He wasn’t waiting.
Here’s a guy two thousand miles from home looking for some fun in Tijuana and he goes maybe twenty seconds and leaves. It only means one thing. I hurt myself to keep from laughing. I knew if I started I’d laugh the rest of the week.
“Where do you want to go next?” I asked.
“Home, man. I want to go home.”
“What about the conference.?”
“I mean back to America.”
“But it’s early. Let’s look in here.”
I stopped at another bar and opened the door.
“It looks like a men’s club,” I told him. “You want to go in?”
“It’s probably a gay bar.”
“But it looks like the other place where you found your soul mate.”
He didn’t laugh.
“Let’s find the chicken bus and head for the border,” he said.
“You want to get something to eat first? Maybe a big burrito?”
He didn’t laugh or answer.
“No. We’re leaving.”
“Look, whatever happened back there, don’t let it ruin the night. We’re in Mexico. You know what they say about Mexico?”
“Me neither, but what the hell. Was it that bad.”
“Was what that bad?”
“You had a great girl. She really liked you, man. I could tell by the way you were kissing her that you liked her. You guys made a nice couple.”
“Look, our bus.”
We walked over the border that night and all I could think was how glad I was to fly wingman for a guy from the Heartland on his first trip to Mexico. I knew it was more than he expected.
It always is.