Misty Tequila Colored Memories

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There I am, a random sunny weekend day in suburban Northern California, with a bag of groceries in my arms and holding hands with my husband.

We’re headed to the car in the parking lot when a low, slow Honda Civic rolls by. The car has been lowered, the wheels are miniscule and from inside the car comes some techno music. Not the multilayered computer-mixed techno of this modern era, but a thin synth-pushed techno that was quite reminiscent of the dance club music of the late 1980’s.

And suddenly I am no longer on a grassy knoll outside of Whole Foods in suburban California, but I’m wandering over the Paseo del Norte bridge and stumbling down Avenida de Juarez.

And I am inside Alive, a bar just over the border in Juarez, Mexico. If I listen hard enough, I can hear the sound of tequila slammers hitting the bar, syncopating with the terrible music blaring from the terrible sound system.

Alive, a venue located underground (the irony was not lost on me) with a tan blown-foam covering on the walls and a trip-worthy ramp leading to the bowels of the nightclub. I’d remind myself as often as possible not to touch anything and mind my own business.

But a bucket of Coronitas and a few slammers later and hey, let’s dance!

And me with my walnut sized bladder begging myself to hold it because the bathrooms at Alive were awful. Just…frightening.

But who cares! I was young! I was invincible! I was the only responsible person in a group of very irresponsible college kids. We were having fun. In another country. With no parents in sight! Freeeedom!

Yes, I was young and in my prime and not something like 43 and worried about jobs and money and is that cereal I just bought gluten free because wheat gives me tummy rumbles and oh yeah, did I get hemp milk because by god I’m lactose intolerant too. And can you read the label on this box because the print is too tiny and I sure as hell can’t read it.

It was a fleeting memory and I told it all to The Good Man. He replied “You and I had very different lives.”

And I suppose that’s true, we did.

But I can’t shake the memory. It’s not that partying in Juarez was a particularly good time. I was always the “good kid” and worried to death about all my friends and how to get them all back home safe and intact. I worried that one of the guys would get in a fight and we wouldn’t have enough money to pay the Federales to let him go. I worried my pockets would be picked clean by the kids (I had fended off more than a few). I worried that if the time came to run that I would be the one not running fast enough.

None of that really sounds like fun.

Those times are long past, something of stories and fairy tales as I wouldn’t go near Juarez for all the tequila in the world now.

I guess that memory on that sunny California day was something like fond reminiscence? I think it is more my youth that I miss than the crappy bars like Alive and Spanky’s and The Tequila Derby.

While searching for photos of Alive, I found this story on CNN. The author perfectly describes what it was like then and what it’s like now and does a much better job than I did.


Juarez was fun – before it was dangerous.





This 1950’s (or maybe 1960’s) era postcard, oddly, comes closest to my memories of Avenida de Juarez. In the late 1980’s that big bottle over the liquor store on the corner (left side of the photo) was still there.




Image from an eBay posting selling the original postcard.



Same Venue, Different View

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Over the weekend I got together with a longtime dear friend for a much needed girl’s weekend.

My friend is the full time mom of a very happy and rambunctious toddler, so she needed a minute to herself to remember the not-mom side of her life.

On our weekend away, we walked a well worn path. Over the decade we’ve been pals, one of our favorite things is to grab a room at a really high end hotel, get tickets to a concert at the outdoor Shoreline Amphitheater, and have a raucous time.

To be honest, we haven’t done this for several years. I got married, then she got married, then she gave birth and suddenly life and all that goes with it intervened.

We were both glad to reconvene and return to our tradition. It bears noting, however, that on this weekend things were markedly different than in the past.

Where once we talked of work, our insane boss (we used to work in the same team), worries about saving enough money to support being a single gal, our dating life both good and bad, and the latest fashion available…

This weekend we talked of her being a mom, of how work is still important but takes a backseat to what matters in life, how to save enough money to retire on, our husbands, and the latest styles of magnifying reader glasses available and where to buy them.

We asked each other if it is inevitable to end up with the same physical attributes of our mother, no matter how hard we try. We lamented the years that have passed so quickly.

Back in the day after we’d gotten caught up, we’d start at the hotel bar, move on to a local Mexican restaurant with a wide array of tequila, then go to the concert venue grabbing beers and more fun on the way.

My friend weighs about 90 lbs on a good day, and when she drinks takes on the demeanor of a linebacker. Our friendship has been a lot about her having three to my one margarita and then bouncing off the fences.

I’ve pulled her out of girl fights, away from skeevy guys, off the venue railing, away from climbing up on the stage and I’ve literally carried her to the car more than once.

Friday, she arrived at the hotel and asked “Do you mind if we don’t drink much tonight?”

I said that was fine (and inside I felt incredibly relieved).

We ate room service, forgoing the heavily crowded restaurant of our usual mode. Then we went to see a Toby Keith show.

You know…Toby Keith used to play at the country bar Cowboy’s in Las Cruces. I used to go dancing to Toby Keith and Easy Money (when they were just known as Easy Money and no one cared who Toby Keith was) in my college years.

On Friday I read an SFGate article about celebrities that turned 50 this year.

Toby is on that list.

Seems even Toby has lost a step or two. He looks road weary and his set was pretty uninspired.

We left before the encore. As we walked out, the crowd of a billion girls in Daisy Dukes and boots pressed in around us. My friend commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show here where I wasn’t drunk. I’m suddenly very aware of my small size. How come I never worried about that before?”

I replied, “Because when you drink you’re ten feet tall.”

She laughed, then sighed. Then she said, “I miss my cub.”

I put my arm around her and we walked out of the venue together, solid on our four feet.

Later we texted our husbands to let them know we’d made it back to the hotel safely.

Then we both went to bed before midnight. Turns out that my tiny friend now snores like a longshoreman.

Things change. I guess it’s inevitable.

While sometimes I lament the past, I think we are both a lot happier today than we were back then.

Mostly.



Where once this view fired me up, now I think “what happens if there’s a fire?”


Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth



It might also be mentioned that my magnetic powers of attracting the most sloppy drunk Hispanic cowboy in the house are still strong. If they got white boots that are too pointy and a belt that’s too long, they will find a way to find me. He was harmless and I quickly pawned him off on a gaggle of drunk girls. I bet that he’d be barfing before the encore. My friend had more faith than I did and took the after. She won the bet.


Photo taken Friday night with the Camera+ app for the iPhone.


Ok. In case anybody asks…

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I’m going to help make you the smartest margarita drinker in the bar.

So what, exactly is Cinco de Mayo?

Ok, so like a super long time ago (1860’s) there was this Mexican president named Benito Juarez…totally like that border town, you know?

Anyhow, Benito stopped making payments on debt owed to France.

And France was all like “Whoa man! No waaaay” and they *attacked* Mexico to get their money.

Then they totally thought they would also take over Mexico, and that would teach them a lesson and stuff.

But Mexico was all like “No way Jose!” and they fought back.

And in this one battle in the city of Puebla on May 5, 1862, the Mexican army totally kicked some French *ass* and there was much rejoicing.

And so we drink tequila and eat guacamole in memory of those valiant Mexican fighters!

Unfortunately…it didn’t really hold up the French for long and by a year later they occupied Mexico City.

Some French dude named Maximilian thought he was all kinds of hot sh*t. Whatever Max!

Then the U.S. was all like “stop acting like children! Take your toys and go home!”

So they did. And Benito Juarez got to be president again.

But anyhow, there was that one super huge battle in Puebla, against all odds, and so that’s why we all have to eat Mexican food and drink and stuff.

It’s super patriotic.

I swear!

Mostly.

Source: Wikipedia

2007 Cinco de Mayo parade, Calistoga, CA. Image by Karen Fayeth.

Cheating my way to a daily blog post

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Cranky. Oh so very cranky. Crakasaurus kind of cranky.

And so, may as well channel my snark for the good of my daily blog post goal.

Today I’m retreating to an old trick used before on this blog, a conversation with the Imagination Prompt Generator.

It spits out a thought provoking prompt. I reply with the first thing that comes to mind.

Herewith, no cheating, taking the prompts exactly as they show up.

IPG: What keeps me going?

Me: A finely balanced concoction of sugar, fat and salt (not necessarily in that order) combined with various quantities of coffee, beer and margaritas, (not necessarily in that order).

IPG: Generalizations are…

Me: Generally useful in a generic sort of way.

IPG: Define kindness.

Me: Refraining from ramming my automobile into the $#&*head who cut me off, and when I honked to notify him of the pending collision, flipped me off, then called me an unflattering name.

I did not sway into his lane. I did not nearly remove the driver’s side fender of HIS sh**ty work truck. I was minding my own business when he came swerving into me.

I could have retaliated when he pulled over and stopped at the mobile taco truck.

I refrained.

THAT is digging deep for kindness.

IPG: If your best friend was right here, what would you say?

Me: They built a new Sonic Drive-In twenty miles from here. Load up, I’ll drive.

IPG: Five books that changed your life are…

Me: Ooh, this is going to be a tough one.

Gonna go with:

Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Johathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

and

Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

This is in no way a comprehensive list because so many books have changed my life.

If you were to ask me again tomorrow, the list might change. Also, I only picked fiction…there is a whole other list for non-fiction.

IPG: Describe a favorite childhood friend and something you did with her or him.

The visible ones? Juuuust kidding…sort of.

I’d have to say going to the rollerskating rink with my childhood best friend Kathy, wearing bell-bottom jeans and shaking it to the Bee Gees.

Kathy rocked. Wonder what she’s up to these days….

IPG: ____ was my favorite cartoon because…

Looney Tunes. Because they are all oh so very sarcastic.

That’s always appealed to me, ya big maroon!

If I had 15 minutes to evacuate my home before it was to be destroyed by a hurricane, what 10 things would I grab (not including people or pets)?

Oh geez. That presupposes that I have a presence of mind about these things. I imagine if someone said “15 minutes! Go!” I’d spend about fourteen and a half running around in circles howling and freaking out.

Assuming my husband and pets are safe and I have the luxury of grabbing stuff….

Hmm. Hard to say, really, as I don’t get bound up in material things.

The few things that matter most are my wedding ring and some of my folk’s old photo albums.

I’d say my camera gear, but honestly, that can be replaced. My clothes and shoes can also be replaced.

Maybe some vintage family items my mom gave me. And my backup drives with years of my writing stored safely.

Other than that….

Honestly, it is hard for me to come up with a solid 10 items off the top of my head. My family and my pets are everything and most of the rest is replaceable.

But this one has me thinking. A lot.

Maybe this is the question to end on. It’s at least distracted me from my oh so very grumpy state of mind.

Better get back to it.

As the poem goes, Thursdays child has far to go…..

With that, onward to the rest of the day!


https://cpsych.org.uk/z-pak-360/