Anthony left for his mother/son excursion on a Wednesday, so I held out until right around Thursday morning before I was on Expedia looking up flights to visit him. The amount of people flying from Portland, Maine to Yuma, Arizona is surprisingly low, so flights were going for right around six billion dollars round trip. Chump change, really. Especially for someone who just emptied their 401K for a worthless, round-trip drive to Florida. I mean, I also paid off an entire school loan with part of that money, so I felt a little better about myself with that in mind. That is until I, a newly hired financial adviser at Morgan Stanley, found out that you will get taxed on any breaks you are given when paying a balance in full, as untaxed income. Turns out that will cost you more than your entire life is worth, so you’re welcome for that unsolicited financial insight.
Either way, I found a way to make it work. All I had to do was: ask a bestie to watch my dog, wake up at 4:30AM to drive two hours to Boston, park my car in a lot 700 miles from the airport, take a shuttle to my gate, layover in Dallas, land in Phoenix, get picked up in the purring-like-a-kitten RV, drive 3 hours to Yuma, and BOOM! Just like that, I was there. What a mecca this place was. If I could recommend you using your PTO to travel anywhere it would definitely be Yuma – the RV capital of the world. Not. But I suppose there was no better place for “Grandma” to end up, and I was just happy to be with Anthony for a little while.
Apparently, after resorting to texting only, Mama D was able to rope this random Francisco guy into some batting practice. Again, all we had to do was unhook the poop hose from the RV, lock up any moving parts, and head 30 minutes toward the Mexican border. I don’t think I need to remind you that there was no air-conditioning once we disconnected from electricity at the RV Park, but here I am reminding you because it seems kind of pertinent. I don’t know, you tell me. It was only, like, 105 degrees by 10AM so lack of air conditioning seems like a legitimate reference in my “bitching” blog. I also think it’s a good time to plug in here that I still haven’t been taken out on a date at this point.
We rolled up to some community park in San Luis, Arizona and waited around for our biggest baseball connection, Francisco, to show up. When he arrived, we all knew enough to say “Hola!”, but that was pretty much the extent of our cultural acumen. Good thing he spoke fourteen and half words in English so we managed to get by. Francisco threw some pitches, Mama D reveled in the glory of her talented son, and I ran around the outfield shagging balls in the blistering sun. “Dry heat my ass,” I’d grumble under my breath as I ran back and forth listening to the three of them laugh about God only knows. They couldn’t even understand each other, so I don’t know what kind of jokes they were piecing together in the infield. Probably just laughing at my sorry ass.
Once “tryouts” were over, Francisco mentioned that he knew a team in Mexico just over the border who was looking for a hitter. He wanted Anthony to come take BP (batting practice for all you baseball novices out there) to see if they’d hire him. Well, Mama D and I didn’t have passports so we just sat at this park in the heat, while Anthony rode off to Mexico with some stranger in a baby blue Chrysler 300C. I was kind of in a panic and pretty sure I’d never see my boyfriend alive again, but when I glanced over to his mother she was sitting in the sun, not a drop of sweat on her, reading The Holy Bible. Okay, well that’s one way to deal with this shit. God bless her.
We got a call from Anthony an hour later from a phone number that looked like a kindergarten homework assignment. Apparently he smoked a few balls out of the park and they wanted him to suit up and play for them that night. In an hour. So with only our licenses and birth certificates, Mama D and I locked up “Grandma” and headed on foot to the Mexican border. Francisco, our well-trusted, best friend, let us know that his ‘amigo’ in a black SUV would pick us up after crossing the border and bring us to the stadium. Oh, muchas gracias buddy. I decided at this point, even though there was no shit in my pants yet, that I wasn’t going to share my fears with my family for the sake of them affirming how stupid this was. Instead, I started glancing toward the Bible in Anthony’s mom’s hands and wishing I paid a little more attention in Sunday School. Lord, hear our prayer!
Well, we got picked up all right. In true Mexican fashion there were about 14 other people in the car, so if we were getting kidnapped and sold on the human being black market, there was no avoiding it. Or, in a ‘glass-half-full’ mentality, we already had a fan club for Anthony. Obviously we didn’t get sold. I was probably too expensive. That, or they saw the sweat rings under my armpits and decided I was not going to make an enjoyable sex slave for any amount of pesos. So, as an alternative, we got to watch Anthony’s first game with the San Luis Algodoneros. His first at bat was a hit (if they even kept stats here) and they were nice enough to give us gringos the ball to remember it. I have to say, I’m not entirely sure I could forget this moment, even if I tried.