So, I’ve been going back and forth for a while now, and it seems to be that the most appropriate way to start this off is to say that I think that I’ve lived a pretty adventurous life thus far. The one thing that I can’t quite decide on, is whether or not I am the one seeking the adventure, or if the adventure just has a way of tracking me down. I should note that I am part of a crew called “Adventure Gang” (which, in my opinion, peaked 7th through 12th grade, but still runs strong in it’s collaborative efforts to this day) and that my father and mother have always pushed my brother and me to create extraordinary out of the ordinary in whatever ways possible. None the less, my most current roller coaster ride (in this case, Central America) started off well before I was even strapped in.
The night after the night I was supposed to leave (long story), I went to a show at Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix. A last “hoorah”, if you will. It was an amazing set up; between the music and the energy and my friends and all the other random people, I really couldn’t have asked for more. But as most things go, at least for me, you always receive more than you put in for. In this case, a pair of new “OMG Best Friends” sitting directly behind us who went by the name of “The Laurens”. Yes, I said “The Laurens”, just as they introduced themselves to us. As in two people named Lauren. Little did we know, “The Laurens” would soon become a very intricate part of our night.
The show we saw was a group called Active Child. If you’ve never heard of them, I highly suggest that you look them up. They are a collaboration of elegant and electric put together by a tall skinny redhead harpist with a choirboy type of voice. They are the type of group that not only stimulates your mind, but also puts a sense of metamorphosis into the music. The description above should let you know what you’re getting into. It was the first time I’ve seen a show at Crescent Ballroom with chairs arranged in the standing area, which was highly appropriate in this case. This concert in particular was a match made in heaven for the term “Sit down, relax, and enjoy the show”.
They performed beyond expectation, so, as always when that happens, we collectively (now standing) requested an encore. They kept us begging for at least six or seven minutes. We held a steady transition, back and fourth, between chants of “One. More. Song!” and the all too familiar accelerating clap that quickly turns into static and is drowned out by hoots and hollers for an extension of entertainment. We happily continued begging for more until they resurfaced, and obliged, for one last time.
I specifically remember being one of the last few to sit down. The vibe of that final song, in some way, required a superior level of open-mindedness and tranquility, yet whatever was happening internally felt like something more. As I sat, I closed my eyes and smiled, calmly enjoying the moment along with the rest of the crowd. It was peaceful beyond description; it was a final going away that I never asked for and openly received.
Then, without notice, Daniel and I couldn’t help but to be interrupted by a splish splash on the back of our legs, coming from the seats positioned directly behind us. It was one of the Laurens. It was the one who was earlier saying that it was her first time there, the one who wouldn’t stop talking throughout the show, the one who I jokingly questioned about her age, asking if her older sister let borrow an old I.D.. The proof was in the pudding, or in this case, the Carne Asada. Yes, I could tell. Like a couple walking down the aisle, Daniel and I rose to our feet and made our way out of the crowd into a peaceful space where we could analyze what had just happened. The bathroom seemed like the most appropriate place to do so.
Both of us were speechless at first while wiping down our legs, then Daniel asked, “Did she just throw up on us?” “I think she mostly threw up on herself” I said. “But you felt and heard that, right?” “Yeeeeeah.”
At this point, I couldn’t help but to recognize that the only other guy in the bathroom was an employee, so I felt that it was appropriate to make sure he had heard our story.
“So, did you catch that?” I said. “That someone just puked on us, and all over the back center of the venue?” “Yeah, someone’s taking care of it, right?” he said. “Well, I don’t know.” I replied. “It only just happened about 30 seconds ago, and as of now, we’re a little busy cleaning ourselves up.” “Have you told anyone yet?” he replied. “I was waiting to run into someone who works here, and here we are. So yeah, I suppose I have, if this counts as letting someone know.” “Will you show me where?” was his final response. The three of us walked out of the restroom together.
It was almost without saying. We began to describe exactly where it had happened, but without effort, it became obvious by the small area of chairs that had suddenly became vacant. He headed over and in no time there were close to 40 bar towels thrown onto the ground, swooped up, and thrown into a near by trash can. Efficiency at it’s best.
Soon after that, the show was over. Surprisingly, or at least as far as I could tell, the encore was hardly interrupted by the mess. Applause erupted at a rate in which would make Lauren’s bowels green with envy. The band headed to the merch booth along with half of the audience, including my small group of friends. I, for whatever reason, felt that it was more important to beat the rush and close out my tab at the bar. My less than 24 hour away flight and the vomiting patron might have had something to do with that.
“Mettler”, I gently hollered, while waving an upside-down West Side hand insignia through the air. My use of the un-official sign language for the letter “M” has always worked just fine when used from time to time, but I also know that it’s more than likely very far from necessary, and perceivably ridiculous to anyone watching and especially to those who know even the most basic amount of sign language. Feeling as silly as the gesture, I decided to retire it right then and there. As I closed out my tab, noticing that I had under-ordered and over-tipped for the one millionth time, I reached into my front left pocket to find nothing more than a small amount of lint in place of my wallet. Shit. Front right pocket, phone. Back right pocket, keys. Left back pocket, $0.41. Front left pocket, a small amount of lint, no wallet. Shit.
I immediately headed back to where we were sitting, knowing that it had only been a few minutes since the show had ended. My wallet and it’s contents had surely fallen out of my pocket during the rush to the bathroom after the splish splash event had taken place. The chairs and everything beneath them had already been cleared. Feeling defeated, I mentioned the prospect of my missing wallet to a few staff members and headed towards the merch booth to reconnect with my friends.
They, of course, didn’t believe my missing wallet story, which I suppose isn’t too surprising. It wouldn’t have been the first time I tried to instigate some playful panic, especially right before a big trip such as this. I half-expected one of them to produce it out of thin air, finally having the joke be on me, but no such luck. They all expressed concern of course, but at that point I had already dismissed the missing wallet as one of many obstacles that I was sure to face during my journey. I did everything I could to resolve the issue and at this point my only choice was to leave it in the hands of fate. Luckily, by opening a tab at the bar, I had my debit card in hand and my passport was safely waiting for me at home. I called to cancel the credit card that was in my wallet and besides that, it wasn’t much of a loss. I did have a Target gift card with three or four dollars left on it that I had been forgetting to utilize for over a year, along with a few other random cards that were more than anything just weighing me down. It felt cleansing in a way, like a fresh start. Or at least I’ve always tried my very hardest to find the silver lining.
As exhausted as I was that night, falling asleep proved to be easier said than done. My motionless body sank into the mattress as my mind raced around every corner of the universe. I was thinking about the next day, my last day in town, and what it had in store for me. Mostly finishing packing and a few last minute chores, I imagined. But more than that, my mind was dancing with the deeper spectrum of what all had let up to this, and where it would eventually lead me. I had never felt so nervous and excited at the same time; an emotional cocktail that I rarely have an opportunity to taste, especially at this strength. I convinced myself that there is simply no way to be fully prepared to enter the unknown. My mind cleared as I realized that I will always have questions to ask that will never be answered, and answers to questions that will never be asked. My life will always be full of farewells to wish and farewells to receive, more stories to tell, and far more stories to hear. As I made peace with this never ending cycle, I drifted off into a deeper than usual sleep.
The next morning when I woke, I recall feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to write the next chapter of my life. I also remembered my dream from that night. After a long and daunting hike, I had found something of value on top of an unknown tropical mountain. I’m not entire
ly sure what it was or what it represented, but the one thing I can say with a very high level of confidence is that it definitely wasn’t my wallet.