“Go somewhere you couldn’t possibly exist. Culture change – the good kind – comes from crazy people applying crazy ideas to places where at first, they didn’t belong.
After Calgary-gate went down, things went back to normal. I started work again at Morgan Stanley, and Anthony went back to…uh….working out. He was not buying me any elaborate gifts on his barbell budget, but he looked good on my arm and in my Facebook profile pictures still. The fact that I hadn’t been on a real date with him up until this point remained an avoided subject because I still felt bad about his fading baseball dreams. Anthony substitute taught a few times at our local high school, went back to hauling away trash from foreclosed homes, but this of course was not a life I – I mean, he – envisioned for us. And before I had the chance to slip out of the honeymoon phase and recognize my stagnant life predicament, Mama D swooped in with her red cape and offered up their last ditch effort to make something happen for him.
My first reaction to Anthony and his mother driving across the country in an RV was basically shock. My second reaction was…no, I’m still shocked. I’d never seen people fly by the seat of their pants as much as this duo. They didn’t even have a plan! They were just going and hoping they could make some connections when they got to Arizona. Well, when I got the chance to see this RV they were taking, I was pretty sure Anthony would be back home before I could finish my next three days of work. “She’s pristine!” Anthony said and gave her a nice pat on her early 80’s, brown side paneling. They also called her “grandma.” Yeah. Easy to see why. She was as old and crusty as dirt. As the new girlfriend still trying to earn the good graces of the family though, I really couldn’t disagree with their beaming pride. I just smiled and watched them pack the ‘ol girl up for her longest haul yet. When they drove her off I was like, “Shit, I just got left behind for the world’s sketchiest road trip.”
I cried (for at least the 40th time in the relationship) until I got a phone call 25 minutes after they left. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but they had only made it 20 miles down the highway before something under the hood went spastic and blew up. They spent the next three hours of their ambitious road trip on the side of the road in Maine while Anthony’s brother fixed them up again. I couldn’t help but to think, ‘Oh my God, just GIVE UP!” They hadn’t even made it an hour into the trip and 45 more hours waited ahead. But in true D’Alfonso-baseball-dream-chasing fashion, they pushed on toward attaining their goal.
Nothing too crazy happened in the next couple of days, but I remember the mental-face, picture messages I’d get from Anthony as they got further south. Their trusty steed had no air conditioning (if you can believe that), so they just sat there all day dripping sweat in the ever-rising temperatures, and Anthony graciously shared his sweaty mug with me every so often as a means for passing the time. On the third day I got a call from Anthony in the afternoon and they were somewhere in Texas or New Mexico – I don’t know – but the damn RV overheated and pretty much exploded again on the highway. I couldn’t help but to be in laughing hysterics at this point. He was so pissed and over the trip at this point and all I could hear were his grumblings mixed with the cars whizzing by them on the highway. On top of all of this, they were reaching out to some guy they met when Anthony played for the Yuma Scorpians, who spoke broken English and wouldn’t return their calls. I really just wanted to say, “you have got to be kidding me,” but… oh wait, I did say that. Pretty sure I also prayed for some direction in my life, cause this was not looking real good, but crap, I loved that idiot.
Well, ultimately they made it to Arizona and began enacting their master plan, which was to call some guy named Francisco and send prayers up to the heavens everyday. Turns out, that was actually going to work for them (to some degree), and it is that guy Francisco who got Anthony in a position to be where he is today in Mexico. Now, this was 4 years ago so A LOT happened in between then and now. Francisco was instrumental in getting our foot in the Mexican doorway, but he was not our fairy godfather by any means. And while all this was getting started, I was sitting at my cushy job with Morgan Stanley figuring out how I could be a part of all the madness going on in Arizona. Mom, Dad – I know you raised me better than that, but apparently you got some crazy in you that slipped into my gene pool, and I was on the verge of devising the dumbest master plan I’d ever thought of.