There I was. Starbucks in hand, embarking on my next life adventure in Tucson, Arizona…alone.
I told myself I was going furniture shopping, but the negative balance in my bank account caused by our astronomical moving expenses really meant I was just driving around wasting gas that I couldn’t afford to replenish. On top of that, I rolled into Ethan Allen with a Starbucks latte – which everyone knows is code for “I’m a rich bitch and this here latte is my gleaming status symbol” – and pretended I could afford the $4,000 couches I was perusing. The saleswoman, bless her heart, flocked right over to me and asked what she could help me with. Short of asking her for her credit card and bank account information, I politely answered with, “Oh, I’m just browsing, but thanks.” She followed me around the store for the next twenty minutes like my Starbucks was going to magically transform into a $10,000 line of credit, so I’m sure I broke her entire soul when I left it on an end table for her to throw in the trash before I left. “Thanks for your help!” I waved with a gleaming smile, and headed off to my next moments of retail deception.
By the time I walked empty-handed back into my apartment, Anthony had made it to El Paso and was settling in. He was able to stay temporarily with a team mate from San Luis who was also playing for the Diablos. The season was already more than half over with just over a month of games left to play, but I still was annoyed at why he was even bothering with a single month’s pay of $800. This was after all the last time he’d be playing organized baseball. I mean, THIS was it so why even bother with this last placed, independent league team?? I was so fed up with being told “one more year,” “one more league,” and then having that time come, only to be let down again. Every time I felt I was on the brink of normalcy, he’d change his mind again and rip the carpet out from under me all over again. Most people in my shoes would have learned to remove all expectations from dating Anthony D’Alfonso by this point, but some sorry part of me loved him as much as he loved the god forsaken sport of baseball. Chaos was just the way of my life now, and that was about all I had agreed to accept when I packed up my bags and my dogs for a weekend adventure to El Paso.
A four hour drive after work on Friday landed me at El Paso’s finest Motel 6 where Anthony would be staying for the rest of the season. It was a quaint two-story building situated just seconds off the I-10 highway, and by seconds off the highway I mean you could step outside the bedroom door and throw rocks at El Paso’s morning commuters. The parking lot was crowded with some of America’s finest machinery like the Dodge Dart and ’93 Ford Mustangs, so my 2012 BMW was yet again a glaring misplacement. But after whipping through dusty trailer parks and Mexican podunk towns in my German luxury, I couldn’t even be bothered by the petty bullshit anymore. Motel 6 in America, even four minutes from the violent Mexican border of Juarez, was amateur hour. It was 10:00 at night – I worked all day, drove all night and just wanted to get some rest. Since this was Anthony’s first night at the motel as well, we checked in at the front desk and got our magnetic strip key for our second floor accommodations. Walking to our room, some of the dwellers had left their curtains open for a good look into what was in my near future. Despite my new found tolerance for poor living standards, I still sighed a heavy breath thinking about how I continued to spend my weekends off from work. It was Angela’s Law (Murphy’s Law really no longer held a candle to the crap that continued to go wrong in my life) that the key didn’t work on our room. I stood there holding bags and dog blankets and the twisted leashes of two mental dogs while Anthony headed back to the counter to get a new key. I looked over the railing while waiting and thought about throwing in the towel. But then I decided I loved my dogs too much, and that there’s no way God puts someone through this much of a menacing test without the chance of a big reward at the end of it. Plus, the fall was really only enough to break some bones or paralyze me and I was not ready to sign up for that shit.
As we opened up the door to the room, I regretted my desire for the key to work. Angela’s Law strikes again. The room had clearly not been visited by housekeeping. Ever. The blankets on the bed were thrashed around, there were left-over snacks and dip-spit bottles on the nightstand, the toilet seat was still up (I’m gagging all over again), and the room smelled of dirty-man-laying-around-in-his-underwear-rubbing-his-gut. The place contended with some of the Mexican badlands I’d seen. And wouldn’t you just know it, Motel 6 was booked solid on this Friday night with no housekeepers available at 11:00PM to clean the place. They sent us off with some new pillows, clean sheets and towels, and a “sorry ’bout it” look on their face. No longer a stranger to this sort of debacle with sanitation, I walked down to my car to grab my 33% more free tub of Lysol Wipes. Without plastic gloves or seriously a care in the world, I went to town cleaning that room. I wiped down everything from the door handles and TV remote to the toilet seat and shower floor. Anthony did the real dirty work and made the bed with our new sheets and pillows. I didn’t even have the energy to be annoyed anymore so I just went to sleep and tried not to imagine what sorts of things happened in El Paso Motel 6 bedrooms.
The next night was Anthony’s game. It was really tough to take this league seriously since they not only paid their players in sweat shop wages, but they also ran out of pitchers one game and actually had Anthony take the mound. I’m not sure what sort of outcome they expected with that strategery, but needless to say I wasn’t expecting too much from this game. I sat there with one of his team mate’s girlfriends – Martha – and enjoyed a real-life, English conversation. Finally, another girl who understood me when I said, “This life is for the God damn birds!” We chit-chatted about psychotic, super-fans and Mexican minor-league groupies and cheers’d each other as we laughed about the similar bullshit we’d been through. It was refreshing to know there was some other poor soul out there that was in love with a gypsy-souled, baseball player whose picture would show up as some random girl’s Facebook profile picture. “Bitches be crazy,” she said, and we laughed til we cried. Tears of laughter or tears of despair – who knows – but at least we were laughing.
In the next moments, there was a bench-clearing “brawl” where all the guys were rushing at each other, only to stop in each other’s faces and yell empty threats across the infield. Anthony of course had to take it a step further and give a guy an instigating shove that ultimately got him ejected from the game. Oh how thrilling. I drove four hours to El Paso to text back and forth from the stands while he hid in the clubhouse. But then my dear friend Martha mentioned that the club house had a frozen margarita machine. I took to my cell phone and hastily started texting Anthony: “Make me a margarita, NOW!” He popped out of the clubhouse entryway with a cup in his hand and delivered the goods. If I was going to sit in El Paso and be subject to another six innings of Anthony-less baseball, I was going to at least get a good buzz going. Let’s not forget I needed to numb myself a bit more before returning to that motel room, too. Even with the margarita in my system, the game dragged on, finally ending at what felt like 3:00AM. We returned back to the room to find it still hadn’t been visited by housekeeping all day. Their lack of customer service made me feel a little less guilty about the pile of crap my dog left in the corner of the room that night. Woopsie.
I headed back home on Sunday afternoon with zero plans of going back to El Paso. Baseball was almost out of my life (have I said that before?), so I just decided I’d wait for Anthony to be home for good. It’d been a long time coming, but it was only a few more weeks after three years of waiting around for us to finally get a real life started together. Believing that would actually happen this time around though, and that Anthony’s word held any real substantiation, was seriously delusional. I was living in a world of “Angela’s Law,” and it was just about time to learn to accept that.