Beale Street, Memphis, TN – Beale Street is a less popular version of Bourbon Street in that there are no open container laws, there are a lot of flashing lights, and plenty of intoxicated out-of-towners drinking too much. The crowd on a Wednesday night is primarily middle aged, unattractive, and under the influence of various controlled substances. Like most such streets in America visiting is highly recommended.
I woke up. 6:30am. Fuck. I just fell asleep three hours ago. My mouth is dry as hell and I feel some sense of urgency to get out of here. Not out of this hotel. Out of this country. Out of Tijuana. Out.
I don’t even want to take a shower. I am packing my bag and checking my pockets. My ID and passport are here, thank God. Holden insists I shower. I hop in and rinse the filth off from last night. What I can remember of last night anyways. I put on some clean clothes. My hands are shaking a little – dehydrated. We eat the mediocre hotel breakfast, drink three bottles of water, and we book it.
Holden and I don’t say a word. We know what happened last night can’t be mentioned. My visa card is missing; my cell phone is gone too. Thank God I locked everything else in the safe. Holden still has his cell – I dial my bank and cancel everything. A replacement phone will have to wait.
Holden and I try to fill in the gaps from last night. Neither of us want to remember what the other has to offer. We leave it at that. Thankful for forgotten memories. That’s how it will stay.
It hits me. We have to come back tomorrow. I’ve never felt such dread from having to return to a place. We’re on foot by this point heading back to the US/Mexico border. We get in a cab – $1 each. That’s when I see it – the busiest boarder on earth. 300,000 daily crossers hustling in both directions.
I think back briefly – the whole night was a blur. I remember beautiful Mexican women – they were on us like a bunch of tweens at a Justin Beiber concert. We saw them do things I can’t believe. Beautiful amazing things. The beer, the tequila, too cheap. We took advice from a taxi driver and a stranger – that might have cost us. I see two American guys – they hand me a rum and coke. I drink. I drink. Drink.
They kick us out. Holden and I aren’t willing to pay for sex – the other two guys do. We leave. That’s when I woke up in the hotel. That’s why I have to get the hell out of here. My memory is destroyed. The only thing I can recall is bits and pieces of shit I wish I couldn’t.
The border again. Focus. It’s packed. We pay some guy $5 to get us to the front of the line. I’m still a little drunk. We get into a van. I’m not sure if this is the right thing to do. Are we being robbed? No. There are normal people in here, good.
Thirty minutes later we are across the border. Long trolley ride back to San Diego – I have to come back tonight. For now I want coffee – I want air I can breathe. We get to San Diego and I feel better – a good taco helps my mind and my stomach smooth things over with last night.
From the ages 6 – 12 I lived in a predominately black neighborhood in South Atlanta. To be honest it was the hood. Not just the kind of place where people claim they grew up in a rough neighborhood, but it was really just the suburbs – this was quite literally the ghetto.
I was the only white kid, that I knew of, in my neighborhood. I remember two high school guys fighting outside my house one day and even my dad was unable to break it up. I remember being a little scared that the one boy was going to kill the other.
He had a padlock in his hand and was bashing the poor bastard’s skull in. His white shirt was drenched in blood. What’s even more fucked up is I remember rooting for him too. The guy that was winning was from my section of the neighborhood and I kind of looked up to him.
Another time a young man was shot a killed at the beginning of our subdivision. I remember walking to the bus stop for school the next morning and seeing his blood still staining the sidewalk. It was strange – he was the first and only person I have ever known personally who was murdered.
There are times I look back on my life and relive it like a movie. I can barely believe it myself. I remember times my parents would have so many people over they wouldn’t notice and wouldn’t care when people slipped me shots of liquor, which I took proudly, just to seem cool.
I remember seeing pounds of pot stacked in my living room being packaged for sales. Even back then I knew how many grams went into a nickel, dime, or quarter bag of marijuana to sell on the street.
I saw my Dad go to jail a few times, I saw my Mom on the brink of self destruction, and I saw enough young people come and go through our home that I’m quite sure both my parents will find a warm spot in Hell for all eternity for blindly instigating their addictions.
Ying and Yang
My life is almost a Ying and Yang. On the one side I look back on events that seem surreal – some of which I’ve mentioned. Other events make me realize how I made it. For example, my best friend, who I spent a lot of time with, had two of the best parents on the planet.
They were from Puerto Rico and devoutly religious. I distinctly remember once suggesting to the Father that he lie to his daughter so we could leave to play basketball without her getting upset. He looked me directly in the eyes and said: “I never lie to my children.” That will stick with me for the rest of my life.
I also remember playing little league football. It seems like every child who grows up in a rough neighborhood is absolutely convinced he will grow up to be a professional athlete. I thought this too, without question, for my entire childhood. I think that explains why so many excellent athletes come out of seemingly rough circumstances.
It’s kind of funny too. While my Mom and Dad were terribly addicted to one drug or another most of my childhood I distinctly remember that my Mom would make me do all of my homework and write my spelling words down five times each until I was in the 5th grade.
If she did one thing right it was letting me know how important school was to her. Both my parents knew how to make me feel proud of myself and I think that has proven invaluable throughout my life. If anything, I have never had an issue with self worth.
I’m not sure how I would have turned out had I not moved out of that neighborhood when I did. Man was that conversion interesting.
I remember going from a school where I was almost the only white kid in the entire building, where you had to be checked with metal detectors before entering the school, and security guards walked the hallways – then to a school with almost all white people and no security what-so-ever.
I had an accent, wore baggy clothes, and was completely oblivious that I was any different from the rest of the kids. In fact, it wasn’t until high school that I started to dress like a typical “white guy”. It took a thorough lashing by all of my “friends” in high school until I realized I dressed like a black guy. I quickly remediated my wardrobe problems and slipped into the expected mold.
Somehow I found a place on the sports teams, made all A’s, and found a way to fit in. It is almost insane to me how resilient yet fragile the human mind is. You can overcome almost anything or crumble because of almost everything.
When I take a careful look at my life over the past 25 years I am incredibly thankful for what I’ve overcome. I’m incredibly thankful for what I don’t have to relive. I’m infinitely thankful for the future I see myself having and sometimes it all still feels like I’m remembering a movie I saw – not my own life.
Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday. I didn’t call. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t remind my wife or say anything to my best friend. I thought about it a few times and let the idea fade from my brain until I was busy doing something else instead.
Maybe I could have been the bigger man and gave him a call. I’m not sure he deserves it though. On the other hand maybe it would have been good for me – evidence that all of my harsh feelings towards him mean nothing. I didn’t call though. I want him to know that the life he has lived isn’t okay and that he doesn’t deserve a phone call from his only son.
My Dad represents almost everything in life that I dislike. He abuses the system, he mentally and physically abused my Mother, was never and still is not a good provider, he is the most selfish man I have ever known, he is a drug addict, and toxic to everyone he’s around. The worst part is that he walks around with a since of entitlement like the world and everyone in it owes him something.
The last Straw
I think the last straw was a couple months back when my Mom attempted suicide. My Dad and me weren’t really on speaking terms then either, but I hadn’t completely abandoned the idea of speaking to him. My Mom called me crying saying that my Dad was seeing someone else and that she “wanted to go be with Jesus.” It was terrible and I was more disgusted than afraid.
After that incident I found out that my Father had been sharing his meth addiction with my Mother. They were both hooked and it made more sense than ever why she was so fucked up. My Father has successfully used drugs and mental abuse as a form of mind control based on insecurity and getting high for the past 26 years on my Mother. No I think its too late for anyone to do anything about it. I somehow escaped.
The holidays are approaching too. This should make avoiding family even more difficult. At this point I completely refuse to speak to my Father or his mother. She has harbored him at a motel he owns where he makes beds and does maintenance for rent. That’s also where he cheats on my Mother and does meth.
The part that most disgust me is that my Grandmother is on this holy trip. She is and always has been “religious” yet she has somehow justified allowing my father to live on her property, have sex with other drug addicts, buy and sell meth, and abandon his responsibilities as a husband. That motel is a compound of irony.
I will not be uncivil – my quiet protest will be my absence. Luckily I have in-laws who are excellent people and I have adopted as my family. That also make my wife happy so it’s a win-win. I will make a small amount of time for my Mother, but her inability to do anything for herself, her mental laziness, and her constant complaints are something I can only deal with in small doses.
In years to come I am not exactly sure how I will deal with this situation. Part of me says just forgive them and move on. Let them live their shitty lives and let the universe punish them accordingly. It is not my place. The best thing I can do is let it all go and move on.
Another part of me says just never speak to them again. Forget about it completely and move on in a different way. However; honestly I am not sure which method is the right one. If I maintain a relationship with my parents does that set me up for more heartache and trouble? Does it give my parents more opportunity to suck me in and make their problems my own? That is the risk.
Either way this whole thing has taught me the value of being a decent human being and a man of integrity. I am thankful for that.
I think this judge from California articulates a few good points surrounding the legalization of marijuana.
My Mom called me while I was at work today. She was upset, but that’s not terribly unusual. She often calls me crying when my father and her have had a fight. I stepped outside to get some privacy and that’s when she said it.
“I just swallowed a whole bottle of Klonopin”.
She was sobbing almost uncontrollable at that point and the adrenaline hit me in the face like a hammer. I almost started to shake and I could feel my lungs contract a little because my body was preparing itself in a fight or flight sort of way.
“Mom, call 911 right now.” She refused. “Mom, for your only son, please call 911 right now.” She refused again and the crying became more intense. “I just want to go and see Jesus” She said. The crying became uncontrollable at that point so I hung up. I took a deep breath and knew it was essential that I stay calm so I could handle the situation; however I couldn’t for the life of me remember my Mom’s address to call 911.
By the time I was able to reach 911 I was informed that parametics were already on the scene. Apparently my Mother also called her sister. I honestly believe that her “attempted suicide” was more a call for help than anything else. She didn’t really want to die.
More to the Story
Oh, but the story gets more interesting. After rushing to the hospital some hours later I find my aunt who has interesting news for me.
“They found Meth in your Mom’s system.”
My only question was who is she getting it from. “She’s getting it from your Father – he’s addicted to.”
So great – though my parents are separated they occasionally share a few hits of Meth together – how romantic. I can’t say I’m surprised though, I’ve had to deal with this shit my entire life. Fucking druggies and liars – you can’t really have one without the other. My parents are both.
I immediately called my father to get the whole story because as it turns out my aunt is a notorious liar too. I have to be a goddamn CIA agent to get any truth out of anyone. So my tactic was to seperate each, question them, and compile the truth from each of their corroborative stories.
Not surprisingly my Dad lied. He first said he had no idea what I was talking about. He said it so convincingly I’m sure he believed it himself. After about a half hour of questioning and begging him to simply “man to man, level with me” he came clean. He has himself been on Meth for years and occasionally shared with my Mother. This is not surprising since each of my parents have done stints with drugs that they finally admitted to me over the years. My Dad, though he does Meth daily and will not quit, claims he is not addicted.
So here I am – a guy trying to live his life. A mother who attempted suicide today, a mother on Meth, a Father also addicted to Meth – and just wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do with this mess. I have shielded myself and my wife from my family with a veil of selfishness – a refusal to recognize my parents’ problems as my own and continued successes in my own life. I refuse to bring myself down because of them. I’ll handle this shit just like I do everything else. If/When I have kids one day – they will never have the burden of their parents to worry about.
I think the helping my Mom to move closer to me is out of the question now, but we’ll see how this plays out. The idea of bringing that kind of trouble into my life may be worse that leaving her to rot in her own soup of destruction. This requires more thought.
She was asleep when I arrived at the hospital so I didn’t even speak to her. The hospital refused to wake her because she was “extremely aggressive” when they brought her in. More good news.
So for the next few days my Mother gets to stay in the hospital. I get to drive 60 miles (one way) to visit her and eventually they will transfer her to some sort of mental hospital for a week or so. At least I’ll have something to write about for the next
“Legendary-ish Stories” is a series I plan to write occasionally in which I describe actual incidents that happened in my life. These incidents often involve alcohol and at times immorality – neither of which I necessarily condone. With these stories I hope to add a touch of humor and display human imperfection while simultaneously eroding my credibility. Enjoy.
If you are curious about what the quickest way to develop cirrhosis of the liver is I can tell you. Plan and attend two bachelor parties over the course of two consecutive days.
Right now I feel filthy. I have ingested more alcohol than I care to consume in the next 6 months, I have witnessed more whores undress for singles than I have in my entire life, and I’ve seen enough vomit on cream colored carpet to last a lifetime.
Since my memory is too foggy to tell a decent story about what happened I figured a few highlights would suffice.
1. Shot and beer guzzling at friends house. I have procured moonshine from a local distillery. We realize moonshine does in fact put hair on your chest.
2. Binge eating of meat products at one of the best BBQ joints in the South. I manage to get the local band playing to give our bachelor a shout out. The crowd cheers and we quickly realize this was a great idea due to multiple patrons buying us alcohol and encouraging binge drinking.
3. More beers and shots at the local pub. Realize a gay bar is next door and what could be more tempting to a bunch of gay guys than a bachelor?
4. Gay guy hits on me. I’m flattered.
5. Drunk. Go to strip club to reaffirm our manliness.
6. Become more interested in the type of people who frequent strip clubs than the actual strippers themselves. Try to carry on “real” conversations with strippers and quickly realize she only wants my singles. I do not want a lap dance – neither does anyone else – I become disappointed because I really wanted to write about an entry on this blog entitle “this hoes life”.
7. Bachelor goes shirtless in probably the most crowded street in Atlanta. Arrest seems likely.
8. The Bachelor, who is a literal and certified genius, can no longer remember basic tax code nor add 3 digit numbers. He begins rambling incoherently about “what’s happening to me.” We ignore his complaints and continue force feeding him alcoholic beverages mixed with energy drinks. Bad idea in retrospect.
9. Take taxi back to house. Bachelor passes out. Wakes up briefly and vomits all over the floor. Success.
I wish I could go into more detail about what happened, but I think that’s against the bachelor party code of ethics – especially when the grooms in question are business professionals. I’ll just leave it at this – everyone survived and the wedding is still on. That’s good enough for anyone.