Remember the old antacid commercials where an actor would say something along the lines of, “I like tamales, but they don’t like me?” Then the camera would show said actor’s face turning green and his tummy rolling in that special effects thing they do. Well, that’s the relationship I had with tequila. Except that tequila felt more than a dislike for me. It was more of an “I hate you, stupid old woman, and you should die a painful gut-wrenching death” kind of emotion.
I’ve had several run-ins with tequila, but one of the most notable occurred the year I turned 50. To celebrate my milestone birthday I decided to embark on a solo motorcycle trip from our home near Champaign, Illinois, to our son’s home in Dallas. Now, to me that was a big deal. I know other women who have made major solo trips, but I’m not an adventurous woman. I’m a “stay home and read a good book about adventurous women” woman.
It took all of my courage to mount my bike and head down the interstate that summer morning in 2006, but I did it and soon relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I’d divided the route into a three day/two night expedition with the second of those two nights to be spent in Fayetteville, Arkansas. My cousin is a singer/songwriter who was living there at the time, and I planned to spend an evening at a restaurant listening to him perform.
The restaurant served good Mexican food and even better frozen margaritas. I sat with my cousin’s wife and daughter, and we chatted while listening to the mellow music as we ate and drank and then drank some more. I was feeling happy. So very happy. And so glad I’d taken a cab from my hotel to the venue. At the end of the evening we parted ways and my cousin dropped me off at the hotel. Good times. Until, they weren’t.
I knew I was in trouble when the automatic doors at the hotel seemed to be moving up and down instead of back and forth. Whoa! That was a new one. Somehow I got them to hold still long enough for me to lurch into the lobby and on to the elevator, even though the lines in the carpet kept rising up to greet me. I successfully found my room and slid the key card into the door. Always a stickler for cleanliness, I washed my face, brushed, and even flossed my teeth before falling into bed. In retrospect, such a waste of time.
Anyone who has ever had too much to drink knows exactly what happened next. Whee! The bed started a raucous spin, less like a carousel, more like a tilt-a-whirl. Oh, and I knew the worst was about to happen. Frantically I scrambled out of bed, one hand clasped over my mouth. I made it to the bathroom, but then the dam broke. And it was Hoover Dam. A damn big dam.
The worst part was my dam burst onto my toiletries bag, and I spent a good half hour cleaning it up. I took a shower and went to bed which had been tamed considerably by then. When I packed up the next morning I felt like I’d been in a wrestling match with a large, scared skunk. I stuffed everything into my bike’s storage compartment and headed down the road.
The last leg of my trip from Fayetteville to Dallas was brutal. I was riding severely hungover in 104 degree heat through dusty, dirty, windy Oklahoma. Think blast furnace. At one point I called Studly and confessed my sins. I desperately wanted him to say, “honey, you stay right there and I’ll come get you.” Instead, he laughed uproariously, called me a knothead and said something about hoping I’d learned a valuable lesson. He was right of course. ;#^;@$%#!
At the end of that very long day, when I unpacked my bike, the smell that rose from my corrupted toiletries bag had me gagging anew. It seems that drunken cleaning is little better than no cleaning at all. Oh, the humanity!
I’d like to say I never had another drink of tequila ever again, but I’d be lying. I can truthfully say, though, that I don’t drink it anymore. Maybe wisdom does come with age. Yes! Finally something about aging to celebrate. I’ll make another solo trip one day, maybe to celebrate my 60th birthday in a couple of years, but neither Jose Cuervo nor any of his ilk will be invited to tag along. Good riddance.
Oh, here’s a clip of my cousin Effron White, singing one of my favorite songs, “Yankee Dime.”