Tucson, more weird encounters, rainfall

I can’t keep track of the dates following my vacation, all I know is that I left DC on April 7. Now, I’m back in the district, where people miserably dodge thunderstorms every day during “spring” and only interact with others when the correspondence serves a relevant purpose.

On a more positive note, I had a peaceful vacation to Tucson. My short-lived trip was much more relaxed than my last two visits, and although I upset some friends by not hanging out with them, I’ll admit it was a relief to not feel so rushed and pressured to please everybody. All I wanted was to chill out and laugh with long-time companions, and thankfully I got to do this.

Friday was warm and I had a massive facial sunburn by noon. Call me negative, but it’s clear that I’m a prime candidate for skin cancer. I’m a half Irish, pasty redhead who was never meant to live anywhere besides Europe or the northeast, where my father grew up. Ironically, I despise east coast weather and truly believe it eroded my sanity, so it’s interesting that most of my family hails from Boston and New York. Considering my heritage, I should not have been brought up in California, and I certainly should not have spent my beginning adult years in Arizona, which gets much more intense sunlight than the bay area.

I can’t tell you how many sunburns I’ve had, but I’ll just say the number doesn’t do wonders for my health. I had some life threatening sunburns in childhood, one of which left me with no choice but to lick and salivate over my burning hand until I could get home and basically glue an ice pack onto my lobster arm. I’d been at the Boardwalk with day camp and forgotten to lather on sunblock as I’d been instructed, so I assumed my parents would punish me for neglecting my health. Rather than get angry, they rushed me to the doctor, who prescribed me a special aloe to soothe my burns.

When I was 15, I got an unattractive leg sunburn that actually caused my skin to fly off like dandruff flakes. What’s worse is that I wore shorts to a date while my skin was peeling. Even weirder is that the guy asked to see me again after that movie night in spite of the fact that my flesh had been falling off my body.

Anyway, I definitely got some sun on this weekend adventure. I’m pink now, but in the words of my friend Kyle, who happens to be in a relationship with my best red-haired friend Dyanna, “Sunburn is the ginger’s tan.” I’ve been told I look sickly when I’ve
gotten no sun, so I guess having a red hue is better than maintaining a pale face. I tend to look pretty washed out, all thanks to my father’s Irish roots.

Angela and I caught up over coffee on Friday. It was nice to gab and rant, I could use a DC wingman with whom to vent and exchange stories. (Thankfully, my new buddy Kate has agreed to get drinks with me, hooray for being more social!)

It was particularly wonderful speaking to Angela, my France partner-in-crime. We traveled to Cannes last summer with our generous friend Lola, who gave us free room and board for a month. I didn’t get to catch up with Lola on this trip, partly because I got a massive headache on Saturday that sort of debilitated me, but more on that later. Angela and I have a unique dynamic that I haven’t really found with many other people. We could literally spend every waking moment together and never get on each other’s nerves. We did this in France, where we constantly told jokes, snapped photographs, and told stories.

For lunch, I met up with Dyanna, Kyle, and Kendra at Paradise Bakery. It was great chatting and joking with them, I wish we could do that every single week. Later on, I had an awesome dinner reunion with Jazmine and Luke, my good friends from the college newspaper. We only knew each other during my final semester, but they’re some of the most fascinating, intense, hilarious, and hard working colleagues I’ve ever had.

Because they keep me asking for more, I ended up making a total fool of myself at dinner. Within five minutes of sitting down at No Anchovies, I accidentally poured water onto my paper plate. Jazmine and Luke laughed a little, but they had no idea what was ahead. It didn’t take long for me to knock my tray over, spill my entire cup of water onto the table, and send the pizza slice onto my lap. Luke dashed for the napkin box and I glanced down at my outfit, relieved to see my dress miraculously had no water droplets or food remnants on it. I’m not sure when I became such a maladroit, but if I weren’t so apathetic to my obvious clumsiness, I’d probably creep out the world. I pat myself on the back for embracing this eccentricity.

For my next social outing, I’ll ask my 3-year-old nephew Lukey if he can recommend any quality sippy cups. He’s outgrown them, but I clearly have some work to do in a social dining setting.

Luke and I hung out at Auld Dubliner, a college bar I not-so-secretly loathed during my university days. Whenever my friends expressed an interest in going there, I complained that the atmosphere was stuffy, loud, and perfect for washed up old men. Sure enough, I like the bar now for precisely those reasons. I used to love Gentle Bens, and I still miss
it from time to time, but when I want to relax and have a single drink, Auld Dubliner is the go-to place. Oh, how priorities change in six months!

Tucson wasn’t as toasty as I expected, and hoped, for it to be. I wanted 95 degree blistering heat. I expected more than just a light sunburn. After such a brutal DC winter that has truly taken a toll on my mind, I was desperate to paint the sunlight onto every inch on my body. I longed to surrender to the UV rays, but sadly there was no battle this weekend.

Saturday was fun, but disappointing because of my health restrictions. It rained and I had a pounding migraine, which left me feeling incapacitated. I went out to lunch with Anna, Maddie, and Katey, all of whom are spectacular in all sense of the word, but I was not too happy about the downpour or my throbbing head. Even so, I watched lots of cute movies with the lovely ladies, ate Nutella with a spoon, and laughed a lot. Anna was worried I’d be bored doing nothing that day, but I was incredibly thankful to veg out and turn of my brain. It’s impossible for me to chill out, so this was a much needed mental health day.

By Sunday, the sun reappeared and I had a nice conversation with Kendra at the Cereal Boxx, our favorite campus breakfast spot. It was great seeing her, Anna, Jess, and everyone else who brought me back to my old life in such a vivid manner.

When I originally penned this post (during my Tucson to Chicago flight), I wrote that the flights home seemed to be free of any oddities (unlike the trip over, as you’ll learn if you read my previous blog post), adding that this kind of normalcy was beyond my realm of understanding. I wrote: “Considering all the creepers I met on the
last flight (and I’m not even mentioning the guy who asked me to go on a date with him), I was relieved to have a calm travel experience home.”

Well ladies and gentlemen, I should have knocked on fucking wood before typing out this blog entry. Little did I know, one of the most awkward encounters of my life awaited me the following connecting flight. I kicked myself for speaking too soon and assuming my trip back to DC would have no surprising run-ins or weirdness.

Here’s the thing: On my Thursday flight to Arizona, a polite young man asked me out. He was a nice person and for a while I considered taking him up on his thoughtful offer. I even gave him my phone number. But after further consideration, I realized I wasn’t down to meet up with this fellow. Sweet and well-mannered as he was, I felt our priorities and interests didn’t align. I’m often told I have impossible expectations, but I’d truly rather be alone forever than lower my standards.

Much to the detriment of my health, which has surely been damaged by my innate high-strung personality, the same guy showed up on my Chicago/DC flight. As soon as I saw him on the plane, I dashed to the back of the aircraft, frantically texting my friends that I’d just stumbled upon someone I had no interest in seeing. To make matters worse, the dude text messaged me in that moment, asking if I was on the same plane. I did not respond.

The Liberian guy seated next to me kept insisting that I eat some of his Ritz crackers, and though this force feeding incident was a bit bizarre (especially since I had my headphones in and was playing on my iPad when he tapped on my shoulder), it was much less uncomfortable than everything else I’d previously gone through. I’ll admit I was rude not to write back to the man who texted, but it’s easier to do that than to explain why you don’t think something would work.

My first flight of today was more amusing than stressful, even though I became annoyed by a prissy, high maintenance straight man behind me in the boarding line. He repeatedly bragged about how amazing his McDonalds dinner smelled and spoke to his girlfriend in a baby voice, which literally gives me the chills because it’s so damn irritating. One of my biggest pet peeves is a person (male or female) who speaks like a child to acquire something. It’s not cute, it’s actually insufferable.

Naturally, I had a good laugh during the flight when I saw the female stewardess dropped coke all over this douchebag’s designer pants. He swore, whined, and yelled at the Southwest flight attendant, who profusely apologized to this distressed Nancy boy, but I maintained somewhat of a grin. He couldn’t handle having sticky True Religions, I guess. Anyway, I am not afraid to admit that I smiled to myself when Karma repaid him for being a loudmouthed tool.

I unintentionally whacked his shoulder as I waited in the aisle to exit the aircraft, and even though I said sorry, he proceeded to moan and bury his blond head in his hands. Life can’t be easy when someone wrecks your $300 jeans, I suppose. I can’t say I regret pissing him off.

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