Well it happened. The sun came up the next morning and I was officially, unequivocally thirty. Quite underwhelming actually, so I reached for my phone to see how many people had wished me happy birthday on Facebook. It was a nice assurance to see that while sitting in that dingy hotel room on the other side of the nation, people hadn’t completely forgotten about me. Thanks to the three hour time difference from the east coast, I had already wracked up a bunch of genuine birthday wishes from people I hadn’t talked to in more than five years. Man I love a solid social media turnout for my birthday.
After ‘liking’ all my well wishes on Facebook, as social etiquette now calls for, I rustled around the room making enough “accidental” noise to wake Anthony. He knew well enough on that day not to groan or complain and simply asked if I was ready to head out for some breakfast. Standing there completely dressed with my shoes on, I stared at him still laying in bed and tried (unsuccessfully) not to give a snide remark. We had discussed the birthday celebration the night before and decided on a breakfast party and a stroll through the seaside town of Ensenada. How romantic. Downtown was just a short walk from the hotel so we could explore the shops and street vendors while pondering how great life in my thirty’s would be. I have to say, it had more life and diversity than Yuma, so maybe this really was a best case scenario for the train wreck life I was working with. It was not how I ever envisioned my thirtieth birthday though. I was thinking more along the lines of Vegas and bottle service, but a small piece of me was just happy that we were together. We walked out of the hotel, hand-in-hand, and I remember trying to decide if I was happy or miserable in that moment. Confused, I just settled with being hungry. That, I was sure of.
We walked for about ten minutes down a line of street vendors before coming to any sort of establishment that served something without hot sauce. It was a quaint little coffee shop that looked clean-ish and somewhat out of place for Mexico, so I said “This will do.” We sat at the counter and I ordered a latte and a pastry, enjoying the closest taste to America I could find. Anthony kept me company, but refrained from ordering anything for himself. He told me it was too early for him to have breakfast yet, but I knew he was just holding out for an egg mcmuffin from McDonald’s down the road. He thinks he’s really sly sometimes, but I saw the golden arches in the distance too. I knew what was up. Sure enough we “wandered” in that direction where he ordered the usual – one egg mcmuffin and two hash browns. With a satiated stomach, I knew I had at least another good hour or two in him before he needed a nap. It was a game day after all, so naps were critical.
We strolled by a barber shop that seemed pretty popular, so Anthony popped in to see if he could squeeze in an appointment for a hair cut. He had gotten a little shaggy so I really didn’t mind. I desperately needed a hair cut too – I hadn’t had one since moving out to Yuma – so I asked the lady if she recommended anyone in town for women’s cuts. She took a small square of paper and drew me a map to her friend’s salon. I really wish I saved that piece of paper for everyone’s viewing pleasure. It was quite possibly less intuitive than a child’s home made treasure map. No street names, no address numbers. Just a few squares, some arrows and an ‘X’ marks the spot. I called Anthony half way through my treasure hunt to have him ask the lady where the heck I was going, but he didn’t respond. Instead he texted me that he was in the middle of a shave with a warm towel on his face and couldn’t pick up. Are you kidding me? I got a text a couple minutes later saying that the lady would come outside to flag me down, and sure enough she came out of the salon flailing. The good news was, she spoke English. The bad news was, she spoke English. I sat in her salon for over two hours getting a “trim.” She shared her entire life story with me, and inquired relentlessly about mine. I told her why I was in town and shared a bit of how I had gotten there. Just enough so that when Anthony came to the salon to pay for my hair cut, he was bombarded with strategies about how to treat a woman. I wasn’t all that upset about him having to sit through dating 101 from this coo-coo, but I felt like saying “Listen lady, I’ve tried this approach before and I assure you he’s not listening to a single word you’re saying.” By the time she finished jacking up my hair and curling it with a straightener, I was fully on board for that afternoon nap.
I dressed in my usual, low-key garb for the game that night, which we all know by now is as subtle as trying to read 50 Shades of Gray in public, and settled into my place in the stands. It was game three of the semi-final playoff series and a really great night for a some baseball. The weather was tolerable compared to the inferno I typically sat in, and the stadium was cleaner than most in the league, but I couldn’t help loathing the sport of baseball after sitting through my first full season. A word to the wise – the appeal of dating baseball players wears off relatively soon after about the fifth game of seeing them in tight white pants. It’s literally the longest sporting event I’ve ever sat through and if you told me it could get any worse, I would have never believed you. But oh my friends, it got worse.
The game was dragging on and on. Pitching in this league, in my professional opinion, is quite bad. There are a few pitchers per team that are undeniably good, but the rest are questionable at best. Both teams were getting a lot of hits and by the time it got to the sixth inning I thought I might die of boredom/A.D.D./ass-numbness/self-pity. Then I heard it. My name in a sold-out crowd in the middle of Mexico where no one knows me. I ignored it at first, assuming that there just had to be someone else there with an awesome name like Angela, but they kept yelling it. I finally turned around and saw. It was the hair dresser from earlier that day. I could. not. believe. it. Anthony had suggested she come watch the game, but in the same way you tell someone you haven’t seen in years that you should catch up over drinks the next time you’re in town. She headed down the stands with some guy she came with and plopped into the seats directly next to me. She started asking me all kinds of questions about baseball and the rules and I was like, “Where’s Mama D when you need someone who likes talking about this crap?” Only I would be so lucky, on my thirtieth birthday, to sit next to someone like this during the slowest game of all time. To make matters worse, the weather had really cooled off after the sun went down, and the dark clouds had rolled in. Somewhere between this woman asking me what a sacrifice fly was and me asking God what I did to deserve this, the skies opened up and started to downpour. We were only in the seventh inning and the game was tied. With the rain not letting up by the eighth, I thought that this woman would at least go away. I mean, why would she stay?? But no. The guy she was there with went to the car and she insisted on sitting there with me! I couldn’t believe it.
The game carried on for fourteen innings. FOUR-TEEN INNINGS. It wasn’t even scoreless innings. We would score runs and then they’d come back and tie it, ripping away all hope of changing out of my soaking wet jeans It went on for so long that the hairdresser’s “man friend” came back from sitting in the car, sat with us in the rain some more, and then went BACK to the car again. To make matters worse, we didn’t even win the game. As a result, the team got chastised in the locker room for at least half an hour. I almost barged in there and said, “Since this white kid has no CLUE what you’re saying right now, we’re gonna go ahead and take off now” but I decided to take the high road of pouting in my soggy jeans and runny mascara instead.
Thirty had undeniably lived up to all of its horror. And then some.