Opening Night

At some point in every man's life, there comes a moment where he has to say, "Screw it. I'm walking home." For me that moment came on opening night of my play. Although I wasn't paid in cash for my performance, I did receive a large tub of jelly beans and a single rose, which I heartily accepted with an air of excitement.

I took both of my gifts along with me only to stand in front of the theater wondering where in the world my ride was. Had I known my ride was still in Fresno, clubbing with his cousins and apparently taking shots off of scantily clad women, I probably would have taken matters into my own hands much sooner, but after circling the block for two hours I had to realize I was on my own.

I had no cell phone, after leaving it with my wife who had left that morning for a trip to Los Angeles, and after paying fifty cents to a pay phone that had apparently been disconnected in the early 1990's, I realized I had no way to contact anyone on the outside world. A few trips to the receptionist at a nearby hotel proved useless after realizing that I had no knowledge of my in-laws phone number. So I continued to wait.

Somewhere, deep in my mind, I rationalized that my situation would be resolved in the same way my situations of being lost in a supermarket were resolved as a child. I would simply wait in the same exact spot until someone realized that I was missing. And maybe cry. Around midnight I began to realize that this was not the same situation.

At this time a friendly black man approached me and, laughing to himself, said in a raspy voice, "Boy's got a single rose for a lady! All you need is one my man! All you need is one!"

I laughed back and nodded, slightly hoping this was enough of a reply. It wasn't.

"Girl's always ask for a dozen, but you know what happens? They die, my man! They die!"

"Ha, I know what you mean." I said, quickly nodding while slowly backing away.

"Say my man, I only have six dollars and my car needs gas. You think you could spare a few bucks?"

Realizing I had only two dollars in my wallet and that this guy probably didn't own a car, I apologized and started walking home.

Although I've spent some time in New York, here it's a bit harder to find a taxi. Also, I'm cheap. Really cheap. So I never really wanted to find one in the first place. It wouldn't be until the next day that I would find out that the distance between my theater and home was just about four and a half miles, which to a reasonably in-shape person is perfectly fine, but to someone who prefers to play video games and uses stumbleupon is basically the same as the Oregon Trail. Would I end up with dysentery? Only time could tell...

The town I live in is mostly known as the agricultural capitol of California, so I was surprised to come across a guy twirling fire within the first three blocks of main street.

"Wow. That guy is crazy!" I thought. While I held a jug of jelly beans, a single rose, and was wearing heavy makeup and eye-liner.

I continued walking, and having been without food for a mere few hours I already began hallucinating that the person walking behind me, who was blasting techno through their headphones, was not only following me but was playing their music to the exact pace of my feet.

About half-way I decided, probably poorly, that if I was going to go through with this that I might as well be mildly intoxicated and bought a beer at 7-Eleven. Still wearing eye-liner.

Now, slightly intoxicated, and dehydrated from said intoxication, the trip slowly became less scary, then more exciting, and then as a result, a little more scary again.

Nevertheless, I made it home. It's a difficult realization, understanding that you really need someone else to count on when times are hard, but at least I'm glad I made it back safely when I realized that I could make it home on my own. Next time though I'll be sure that there are two cell phones in order before I leave.

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