[Tom][Colophon][More Travel][Manual Control]


Marine in a Sundress
  Palm Springs 

"Yeah, Palm springs. Yeah, 11:40. No, I don't know when I get in, but it's a direct flight from SFO. What? Commuter flight? You're kidding. Well, I guess it is one of those little turbo prop planes. Well....Yeah, if I don't finish this story it's because the plane crashed. At least the vibration from the propellers is kind of relaxing, better then magic fingers at the motel 6. Yeah that was my battery, it's almost dead, OK I'll call you tomorrow. NO! No gifts, don't even ask or I'll buy you something disgusting. OK, buh bye." 

I turned the phone off. I don't think a little plane would have trouble with electrical problems, but I wanted to save on battery.  

I was on my way to another Microsnot (I don't have legal permission to print their real name.) conference in the Palm Springs dessert. This time will be different. I will refuse to go to any corporate sponsored parties. That's when I get into real trouble. Not gonna do it. Nope. 

I caught the United bus from the main terminal to what they call the "commuter terminal" which is a happy name for the former auto rental building they pull the propeller planes up to. I'm going to need alcohol, I know it. They have a little espresso bar but no alcohol. I settled for a snapple lemon aid, pink. I sat down in clear view of all three cute girls in the place.  

"Attention united passengers, I'm pleased to announce that flight 7089 for Chico is ready for immediate boarding. Please proceed to gate three." 

Only my luck is that bad. All three cute girls get up and get in line for the Chico flight. Figures. And if that wasn't bad enough two of them are talking to each other in line in a flirtatiuous way and laughing. What are the chances of that? Two beautifull lesbians in the commuter terminal and neither one is on my flight.  

Even Bill Clinton has better luck then I do. He has twenty-one year old interns falling all over him. 

I started thinking back to the funeral service last weekend. In the hour between the visitation and the actual service I snuck out and walked down the block to a liquor store and bought a small bottle of Johnny Black. One of those flat ones that I could conceal in my back pocket. It made a big clunk when I sat  down in the pew. But hey, It wasn't my idea. Sanchez had been floating around the funeral home and pulled me aside. "Tom, everyones acting like they are dead. Look at Monkey, he's staring into space, Pauly P is crying, fuck, you gotta lighten this place up, you'd think they were the ones that had died."  

How could I argue with an aborition, I mean, he kept fading in and out before he floated back over by the candles. 
After the service I found Jim (Jimbo to you and me) standing out in front of the place. 

"Hey Jim, what's up?" 

"Oh, you know, it's been a hard week. You hear about Kurt's uncle?" I shook my head. "We were all going down to Kurt's ranch outside of Santa Cruz. We were all going to fly together on Kurt's uncle's little Sessna. We didn't make it to the plane. Kurt's uncle was flying over the mountains and the engine went out, he went down, he didn't make it. We were all going to go with him. Fuck." 

"Jim, you want a shot of Johnny Black?" I cracked the bottle and handed it to him. He took a pretty good shot and handed it back to me. I took one too. 

So there I was, getting ready to get on a plane just bigger then Kurt's uncles. I felt like I should call someone and say something profound, something really philisophical, just in case it was my last words. 

I left a few choice words on the answering machines of a few friends. I couldn't think of anything real good. The best thing I could think of was "I'm about to get on a little propeller plane and fly over the desert. If you don't here from me again, it's nothing personal, it's because the plane crashed. It's possible with these little planes that I won't be found for weeks." 

I got on the plane. Each row has three seats, on the left there is one seat, on the right two. I was in row six on the aisle. Just as I sat down a guy spoke to me from a croached position. "Guess, where my seat is." 

"It happens all the time." I croached over the seat on the left so he could sit down. 

He still seemed like he wanted to apologize for making me croach. "I haven't flown on a plane this small for.....gosh, five years." Not a very good apology. 

"So, you live in Palm Springs?" 

"No, I live here, I'm attending a conference." 

I made my serious face and looked right at him. "You don't work for Microsoup do you?" 

"No, I publish a magazine. Microsoup is my customer slash partner. Do you work for Microphile?" 

"No, I work for ......" ( <- Insert the name of a large company in silicon valley that makes computer things.) 

"You know, that's a bit of an evil empire too." He thought he had me. 

I did not let his eyes move away from mine; "Resistance is futile.... you will be assimilated." 

Nothing happened the first night. I went to a bar and kinda watched the super bowl, somebody spilled a suicide express on me. (A suicide is a slurpee like drink made of frozen red stuff.) I went back to the hotel and fell asleep. I slept for over twelve hours. In my terms that's enough sleep for a week. For the rest of my stay in palm springs, I could stay awake. 

At the conference I was walking around and noticed a very beautiful woman in a sundress wearing a badge that stated her company to be the "United States Marine Corp" I had to stop and talk to her. 

"Excuse me, I was wondering, is there anyone inside the Marine Corp that searches the internet for people talking about the marines in unofficial ways?" 

I love marines. I talked to her again the next day, for almost a half hour.  

Later, I had a conversation with my Dad.  I called him while I was waiting for the Microdinner. It ended with me explaining that yes, I really am OK.  

They had the traditional party on the last day of the conference at the Air Museum. Brian Setzer and his orchestra were suppose to open for Rodney Dangerfield. Brian showed up and rocked. The even played that Earth Wind and Fire song, 'Got to get you into my life!' 

As soon as I got to the party I knew something was a little funny. I waited in a long line for drinks. I was looking around for my Marine friend, I really wanted to dance with her. I got to the front of the line and ordered two vodka-cranberries. 

"What? You want three vodka cranberries?"  

"Uh yeah." I didn't know if I'd make it through the line again. I carried them away like I was looking for people and walked back by the planes. They had cool stuff, but the ones that really got me were the Corsair and the B-17 Flying Fortress. I always liked Corsairs. I've seen every episode of Bah bah black sheep at least three times. And the B-17, not only was that Yossarian's plane, but remeber that scene in the movie Heavy Metal? 

 At about ten thirty we heard a last call for drinks. I thought, that's weird, maybe they don't want us throwing drinks at Rodney. Then they starting pushing us out the door. What a let down. I tipped a bartender and he slipped me one more drink. I told my new friends to go to the Village pub. The only good bar in Palm Springs. I got on my bus. 

By this time most of the employees at the Village pub. I also knew members of both of the house bands. 

Late in the evening I was sitting with a few people I met. A guy from Portland,  a girl from Atlanta, a guy from South Carolina, a guy from New York and me, Tom. The focus of our discussion was the tall blonde creature seated outside flirting with two twenty year old boys. 

South Carolina: "That, is a man."

New York: "What? Who?"

Portland: "That one out there. The one in the fir coat."

Atlanta: "I don't know, she's kinda pretty. I don't know."

SC: "Look how tall he is. Look at his hands. That, is a man."

NY: "Oh no...it is..."

P: "Definately."

Me: "I don't think so. I've met some really beautiful tranies. And, I guess some ugly ones too. That is a woman. That one at the party tonight, you know the one I'm talking about?" 

SC: "With the huge brown wig?"

NY: "Oh yeah, I saw that one."

Me: "Well that was a...well I don't think that counts as a transvestite, that was more of a cross dresser..."

A: "I don't know, she's kinda pretty. I'd wear that coat."

NY: "You know, I was wondering with MicroPro didn't hire any professionals to walk around the party and flirt with all those multitudes of geek guys."

SC: "I haven't seen any in this whole town. I've driven all around ths whole damn town day and at night. I haven't seen anything remotely resembling a prostitute."

P: "Me either, but that, is a man."

A: "She's kinda cute though."

It went around like this for fifteen minutes. Finally I decided it was time for action.

Me: "OK, I'm going to find out once and for all."

I picked up my drink and walked outside and sat down next to her.

"I love that jacket, I have two minks myself, is that fox?"

She looked at me quizzically. I could tell she was wondering why I did not know it is polite to be invited to sit down before actually doing so. She didn't realize I was one a mission. How could she?

"Uh, yes, yes it is a fox."

I talked to her for fifteen minutes cmpletely ignoring her boy toys. I found out her name was wendy.

"Wendy, really?" She nodded. "When I was a kid, I wished I was Peter Pan....so I could marry Wendy."

I decided that even if Wendy was a trany, she was a babe. Iwas going to go back and tell them it was a she. I thought it would be funny if one of the guys picked up on her, took her back to his hotel, and then found out I was wrong.

The next day I went to the airport and tried to upgrade my ticket. I was flying another little plane to LA and then flying a big plane to SFO. I was denied, the plane, and the first class section were over booked.

The flight to LA was largly uneventfull. I was in the very last row of the plane. When the flight attendant came to take my order I asked if she had any whiskey.

"Uhm, yes I do, but, the flight is only twenty three minutes and, uhm, you'll only have eight minutes to drink it. So..."

"That's enough time, I can do that."

Once again money made a difference. She served me first.

The flight from LA to SFO was delayed. Un-happy people were massing at the gate. When they finally let us on, people were in the angry zone.

It was a hell flight. all kinds of fitting and bickering. I held my tongue until we were circling the bay. I was seated just behind first class.

First class guy; "Hmmn, I'm not sure what city that is. I think that's the golden gate bridge."

These people didn't deserve their first clss seats. "Uh no, that's the bay bridge."

FCG: "I think that's the golden gate bridge."

"No, that's Oakland right there. That is the bay bridge."

FCG: "I think that's the bay bridge, look at the lights."

"Look, see that island splitting the bridge in two? That's treasure island. Treasure island is in th middle of the bay bridge. You can see the golden gate bridge behind it."

FCG: "I think that's the golden gate bridge."

"Look, I'll bet you a hundred bucks that that is the bay bridge."

FCG: "Is that Marin over there? That would make it the golden gate bridge. It has lights."

"Look fucker, that's the god damn bay bridge. Now shut your first class ass up!"


[Tom][Colophon][More Travel][Manual Control]