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OneBad versus the Turkish Subway Token Machine

3 Jul

I see you, Turkish subway token machine.  It took me a minute, seeing as how this station consists of something like a square mile of ant tunnels plastered in creepy cell phone ads featuring a freaktastic bear and (inexplicably) concert promos for Nickelback. But I found you.

You’re waiting at the bottom of that escalator, next to a bunch of gates that presumably take tokens I can procure by stuffing money into your innards. But not just any money. I see all five of these ATMs at the top of the escalators. You might think that because this is Istanbul and I’m a silly foreigner, you can fool me, but I know better. You want my cash money. I’m just going to stop right here at this ATM and remove some cash money for you.

Well, isn’t this neat. This ATM has handed me a 50 Turkish Lira note. That’s nice, and it’s quite pretty, but the last thing I want to do is accidentally buy enough subway rides for a cruise ship’s worth of visor-wearing, fanny pack-saddled tourists. Haha. Yes,  that’s funny because cruise ships do actually come here and they do actually wear that.

I think the boat was over in this here blue part.  Is that what you think, Joleesa?

What’s that?

Well, yes, I am also a tourist, but I’m not wearing a fanny pack, so, you know.

Anyway, I’m going to head over to this Starbucks I found in one of these ant passages to break this 50 so as to avoid an embarrassing mishap, what do you think about that?

“Merhaba,” I say. [Did you see that, token machine? I said hello to the guy in Turkish]

“Do you speak english? Just this please.”

Hey, guess what, subway machine. I have change now, and I am coming for your tokens!

No, calm down, I was just joking. I’m just gonna buy one, like everyone else. Haha. Yeah, Americans ARE total dicks.

Alright, I’m just gonna press this British flag button here so I can understand you. *presses British flag button*

*shouting* “EĞER APTAL. EĞER TÜRKÇE BILMEYEN!”

No, Jesus, why. I just meant to… *presses British flag button repeatedly*

“BILET SATIN ALMAK ISTIYOR MUSUNUZ? SIZE APTAL ÇOK KÖTÜ.”

Ohmigod. Shutup. Shutup. SHUT UP.

A bored-looking attendant wanders over.

“Can I help you?” he asks.

“I just…how does it work?” I squeak, and the attendant pushes several buttons which result in you being quiet and handing me tokens.

You’re a jerk, subway token machine. You know that?

*kicks wall next to machine*

Yeah, what. You better be scared.

The Coachella Chronicles OR The time I took a vitamin B12 shot in the ass from a male nurse on mushrooms

7 May

If you’re anything like me, and missed out on the part of high school in which you were supposed to be dabbling in hallucinogens while helplessly making out with a kid with purple hair at the Grateful Dead concert because you were too busy being an enormous band dork, then you probably really like going to music festivals as an adult. I know this because I, a former enormous band dork, had probably an illegal amount of fun at Coachella a few weeks ago. (It actually WAS an illegal amount of fun, but never you mind about that, interwebs!)

I had been pretty unbelievably excited about attending for many months, and when it was finally time to go, I packed all my bathing suits and pink shorts and $5 teal zebra-print sunglasses into a suitcase and flew off to Los Angeles, wristband clutched desperately in my sweaty fingers. I was going to get a tan! I was going to dance! I was going to hang out with my friends and listen to Radiohead and drink beers and pick up lightsticks off the ground and watch M83 and.. and… and…

I was going to get the worst sore throat I’ve had since I made out with a dorm kid in college and caught strep.

************************************************************************

After arriving late the night before the festival began and riding all the way to Indio sandwiched between two members of a giggly couple high on pot lollipops and sundry other prescription pills that I shall call Thurston and The Neon Indian (The Neon Indian doth not like clothes that do not glow in the dark), I arrived at the apartment I planned to share with The Pharmacist, Party Monster, Gay Meow Meow and the Naughty Nurse. Three of these last few you might recognize as my former roommates (The Party Monster had a hand in that time I ate a bull penis… ). I rarely see the Naughty Nurse as he is busy being a fabulous gay nurse in LA and only comes to New York City once or twice a year.

After our first day of wandering around the festival, which really is a magical fairyland of adult attractions (“Look at that man swinging upside down by his leg in the drum and bass tent!  Let’s go, let’s go. I can hear Calvin Harris! GOOD LORD IS THAT A GIANT GLOWING SHARK ON TOP OF A REMOTE CONTROL CAR??!), my throat swelled up to epic proportions, leaving me whispering to my friends like zombie plague patient zero.

I muddled through the rest of the day’s concerts (vowing to henceforth take every painkiller I could get my little hands on), and finally ended up lying back in the front seat groaning and trying not to swallow while we waited for Thurston and the Neon Indian to find their way back to the car (Unsurprisingly, they spent a lot of time… er… lost).

“How are you feeling, girl?” asks the Naughty Nurse.

“Throat hurts… Ok though,” I stage whisper, then groan.

“I have the perfect thing. You are so lucky. I only brought one and I’m gonna give it to you. You’re gonna be 100 percent tomorrow.”

“What. What is it?” I ask, knowing full well that the Naughty Nurse is actually a nurse who carries a medical kit with him.

“Vitamin B12 shots! All the celebrities do them. I only have one, but it’ll make you feel totally healthy by morning.”

“I don’t know about a shot right now… we’re all pretty fucke…”

“Trust me,” says the Naughty Nurse. And The Party Monster snickers.

(In our defense, we did all manage to keep our flip-flops on)

**********************************************************************

Back at the apartment, the Naughty Nurse calls me downstairs.

“Lie down on the floor and pull your pants down, and don’t look at this,” he says, pulling out the biggest needle I have ever seen.

“Ha. Like that’s the first time I’ve heard THAT!” I say.

He flicks the needle a couple of times and swipes an alcohol swab across my ass.

“Ok, one…. twooo….”

“Jesus Christ, don’t count, what’s wrong with you? Just do it before I freak out.”

I feel a pop as the needle jabs through my skin and at least several layers of ass muscle. Despite the many MANY beers I have consumed to make my throat feel better, it hurts like the bejesus.

“OW. OW. OW. OWWWWWW. FUCK. OW.”

He pulls the needle out. “All done! Wait. Whoa, this needle is big.”  The Naughty Nurse starts laughing. “This is an 18-gauge needle, hahahahaha. Fuck I am so high right now.”

“I. What?! I hate you!” I wad up a bunch of tissue paper and press it against my ass, which is continuing to bleed. Finally I wad up a bunch of toilet paper in the waistband of my shorts and walk upstairs, wincing.

“Did he stick a giant needle in your ass?” asks the Party Monster, sighing in front of the fridge.

I pout. “Yes, and now my throat and my butt hurt.”

“Yeah,” he says, looking wistfully out the window as he pours himself a glass of gatorade. “He’s done that to me like 5 times.”

“WERE YOU GONNA MENTION THAT?”

“Girl,” says the Party Monster. “Not letting N.N. shoot you in the ass with a giant needle is something you got to learn on your own.”

But then the next day I did feel better. And we were all friends again in time for Radiohead.

Coachella. Teachin people bout life the hard way since 2012.

*pictures, despite being really awesome, have been omitted to protect the guilty*

The Best Damn Thing

1 Mar

The other day, the best damn thing happened to me.

The.

Best.

Damn.

Thing.

No. Christian Bale did not appear on my doorstep wrapped in a bow. Which. Is. Too. Bad.

I’m not going to tell you what it is yet cause suspense is driving the narrative of this post (stop reading. stop reading right now. I dare you to stop reading right now, I already got your page view, motha fuckaaaa).  *ahem* But I WILL say that this awesome thing involved my parents. It is basically the most amazing thing I could ever tell my parents, and in particular my mother, in the history of the world ever.

By a quirk of luck, the day after Best Damn Thing Day was my mother’s birthday, so in the interests of maximum impact (telling her the good news on her birthday), I kept the secret quiet overnight.  I’m not so good at keeping secrets though (When attempting—and failing—to keep them I usually jump around in my chair like I have to pee) so I was sitting at my desk feeling like my little heart was going to explode. For relief, I posted an extremely vague note that something good had happened to me on facebook. And because it seems I have friends (You like me! You really like me!), it rapidly got something like 30 comments that can be roughly paraphrased as:

“WHAT. WHAT THE HELL IS THE BEST THING WHAT IS IT YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE”

But now! To your great relief, I will tell you what the best thing was.

My company, a small publishing company that publishes in-flight magazines, including the illustrious travel magazine that I edit, has launched this new “happiness initiative.” They’re doing it to make the “corporate culture” better for the people who work here, which is a laudable aim. However, I have been pooh poohing this initiative for months because:

A. They put a pun in the title of the initiative and that makes me want to punt a baby

B. No one can tell me I HAVE to be happy. *wears Doc Martins for a month*

D. Did someone say “corporate culture”? *shoots self in eye with rubber band and claims Worker’s Comp*

As part of this happiness initiative, they had everyone in the office send their top three life dreams to the CEOs. They were going to select a few employees and grant them their dreams Make-A-Wish style. I didn’t want to participate because I am an incorrigible curmudgeon, but was finally convinced to stop being a grinch about it and send in a couple of ideas by a coworker. On Friday, I got a call from one of the company executives saying that they had chosen me as the dream-receiver of the New York office, and they were going to make one of my top three dreams come true.

Here is my dream:

My parents don’t have passports. They have never been outside of the continental US and Mexico, but they reminisce dreamily of the few, brief vacations they have taken to the beaches of Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Every year when I was in high school, my mom would get gorgeous travel calendars in the mail from aunts and uncles for Christmas, and we would sit at the bar in the kitchen and look at all the pictures. I remember us being particularly enamored of one calendar that showed shots of the Greek islands. We flipped through it until we got to a picture of the post-volcanic, possibly-Atlantis island of Santorini.

*sigh*

“One day, I’ll go there,” I said.

My mom smiled a tight-lipped smile and turned from stir frying something inexpensive. “Me too,” she sighed.

In college, on account of a saintly lawyer and a bastard of a family member I shall decline to describe here, I came into a sum of about $4,000. I used it to take a summer course in Thessaloniki, Greece. The course ended with a week-long cruise through the Greek islands, including Santorini. I sent my mom a ton of pictures, and she was as excited to look at them as if she’d gone herself.

Six years later, I became a travel writer.

My parents have still never been outside the US and Mexico, and every time I fly somewhere exotic and stay in some 5-star hotel I’m not paying for, I can’t help but wish that I could let them just once have the same experience. My long-suffering, one-time single mother clearly deserves it more than I. And so does my super-awesome stepdad.

And so, my company is sending my parents and I on an all-expense paid trip to Santorini, Greece. And giving me an extra week off to go.

I told my mom on the phone while she was in a J.C. Penny.

She cried.

 

Thanks company. Sorry I’m such a grinch. 🙂

Rollin with the Homies

7 Feb

Oh hai! (you may pronounce that Ojai, which is a place I just visited)

I have just returned, within the last 24 hours, from one of the better trips afforded me by my job (maybe my boss felt bad about the fire cupping thing?), and I am excited to tell y’all how it went! In general, it was an extremely relaxing trip to Southern California, which included postmodern tapas (foie gras cotton candy and Philly cheesesteak zeppelins, for instance) at Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, a massage and some time in a hot tub, beers by the beach, and a super plush hotel room with THIS view:

I'll just be not doing any work over here, if you need me...

There were even outdoor fireplaces, which I have to say is my absolute favorite thing about California and the Southwest. Y’all and your totally unnecessary fireplaces! It’s adorable! You’re killing me!

But not everything was so relaxing.  The reason I was there, in fact, was to review the 2012 extended wheelbase Rolls Royce Ghost, a car the size of a swimming pool that costs $300,000 and goes 0-62 in five seconds. For those of you who haven’t met me, let me just say that I don’t even like to hold people’s iphones in case I break them (also, babies), let alone things that are worth $300,000 and have a habit of hurtling down mountain straightaways like a herd of stampeding elephants. Suffice it to say it was a little nerve-racking to have somebody just up and hand me the keys to this thing.

So I land at LAX, and call the publicist in charge of the press fleet, and a man who appears to be about 6’7″ shows up in a collared shirt and dress pants with the sparkling silver vehicle. Meanwhile, I’m standing on the side of the airport pickup ramp in a pair of shorts and a sleazy rocker tee, with ripped nails and a pair of old boots and my hair all catywompus. I’m wearing a pair of giant sunglasses and am so short that it appears I might need a phone book to be able to see over the steering wheel.

The guy looks at me.

“You are….. OneBadYamPajama*?” he says, a little nervously.

“Yup. That’s me!”

He looks me up and down. “Why don’t we go somewhere where I can, um, show you how to use the car.”

He drives to the Park N Fly near the airport (which is apparently where they stash all their press cars…. SHOULD you be looking to rob a car lot…) and proceeds to show me what every single button on the console does. One turns on infrared night vision, so I can stalk my prey, and one sets a cruise control distance between me and the car in front of me so I can just chill out and basically not even drive, and, I swear to god, one of them makes a fucking umbrella pop out of the door. The car is so ridiculously cool that I forget for a second that I will never in a million years be able to afford one of these things and I start connecting my phone to the bluetooth computer system so I can call my friends by saying “Excuse me, JEEVES, can you call Sarah?”

This is maybe a slight exaggeration. Ok, it's a plane. Shut up.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” says Tall Pants. “It’s not a good idea to be texting while driving. I give lessons out here and this girl I was teaching was texting on her cell phone the whole time and I was like, you know, you’re gonna end up on the pavement in a big smear…”

*cough* “I’m, uh, not 16?”

“Yeah, no, I know. I mean, of course you know that.” He laughs awkwardly.  I start fiddling with the navigation system and apparently impress him enough with my fearsome computer skills that he thinks I can safely be left alone with the car for 15 minutes.

“I’ll just go validate this parking ticket,” he says.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Next thing I know I am cruising the Pacific Coast Highway at like 110 mph, pulling up next to guys at stoplights in pickup trucks who are practically licking their windows over the car. And they look at me…. and I look at them… and then the light turns green and I go “Ha. HA! Sucka, this thing is the size of a hippo but it goes 0-60 in five seconds!” and I smoke them.

And this is basically what I do for four days, with intermittent stops at various valet parking lots, where the valets stare at me as if I am made out of money and steak and quaaludes and everything nice and park the thing in the front and don’t even charge me for it.  And all is well. Until I get to route 154 through the Santa Ynez valley, which is one of those roads they put in car commercials during the Superbowl and you look at the guy driving it at 250 mph in an Audi and you’re like, Jesus, that man must have balls made out of titanium. It was one of those roads, and while I am normally a careful driver, this car was so cool it made me feel like the Red Baron again so I just had to drive it like this:

WORTH. IT.

And then when I got to the bottom I drove the Rolls through the drive through at In N Out so I could get a burger to calm my nerves. I think it still smelled like animal-style fries when I dropped it off. Tall Pants is not going to be pleased.

*Obviously not my real name, fools.

Money: It doesn’t grow on trees. Cause that shit is a root. OneBad, that doesn’t even make sense. Shit, is this thing still on?

14 Jan

Hi y’all!

My friend No Pantsu, who you all may remember from the time he unceremoniously signed me up for military-style torture, IMed me the other day in a tizzy about my latest post.

“Your New Year’s Eve sounded SCARY,” he said. “But I don’t understand. Are there really ghosts in your basement?”

“Don’t be silly, No Pantsu, ghosts aren’t real.”

“Well then what was the laughing you heard coming from the bottom of the stairs?!”

“Oh! Gosh, I guess I never cleared that up. That turned out to be my downstairs neighbor guffawing at old episodes of 30 Rock. My roommates told me after they came home and went down to the basement in a troupe to turn the lights back on, then found me cowering under my blanket like a six-year-old.”

“Ahhh.”

———————————

So let that be a lesson to you, readers. There are no such things as ghosts.

Rat kings, however: Real as fuck

On account of not being real, ghosts are a lot less scary than what I did today! Remember the part where I talked about having basically been butt poor since I moved to New York four years ago cause I had the admirable foresight to join the print media industry at the very beginning of its death/an international recession/the end of the world?

Well.

I’m still pretty broke, but now that I freelance a bunch and don’t live in an apartment with 14 people in an area NY Magazine accused of having the highest rapes-per-capita ratio in the entire city, I thought I’d do something nice for myself to reward myself for all my hard work.

See, all my friends are doing quite well for themselves: Party Monster is working on commission for Allsaints Spitalfields, and those (beautiful, beautiful) clothes practically sell themselves. The Pharmacist hawks diamonds for a living. Gay Meow Meow is slinging drinks in midtown and dancing in music videos.  So they go to, like, a $150 concert a week.

And then I’m like, no NOOOO, y’all go! Hey! Yeah! Have a really good time! It’s cool that I can’t go…. No, don’t worry! I’ve got, you know, underwear… I need….to sort. It’s really important! Seriously, I don’t even mind!

*Gets drunk on $5 beers at the corner bar that serves free pizza*

So today, I thought to myself, “Fuck it, OneBad, you only live once. Go ahead and buy a $250 Coachella ticket.”

After waiting for an eternity in the virtual line, I finally get in, and it keeps declining my credit card because my phone number in the system is wrong.  Finally, I’m so frustrated I pull out the debit card. “Fuck you! System.  You don’t like that card? I’ll just pay in straight CASH! Because I am a BALLER!” I think (This is inaccurate, it seems).

I’m so excited to get to the purchase screen that I barely notice the $70 in fees they tack onto the damn thing, until I look at my bank account later and wince. Then I get an email from Party Monster, which looks like this:

“The plan is to get a solid crew (10 people max) to take over a house and MTV Beach House that shit to the ground! I’ve found a couple of reasonable places all around the $3800-4500 mark. So let’s do the math kids… that comes to roughly $380-450 a person.

THE CATCH…

Each property that I’ve been looking at has a security deposit coming in around $3000. Making our grand total for the house UP FRONT MAX $7500.
 
10 people
$750 up front, but only $450 after security deposit return”

At which point I panicked and ran around in a circle and fell down and vomited. (ok, not really) But then I was like, you know what, I should just burn the remaining $2 in my wallet for good measure. Stick it in a little pile in the corner and roast a marshmallow over it and cackle like I’m the 1%.

But I’m too scared.  What if I run out of money and those two dollars are the only thing standing between me and starvation?  (I once read that people who have been poor for a long time think this way permanently. And if Great Depression stories are to be believed, they also tend to hoard food–which is the excuse I’m using for the nest of year-old McDonald’s junior cheeseburgers I’m lying in right now in my underwear.)

So I just sniffed it instead.

Mmmmmm. Mooooonnneeeyyyy.

(P.S. Seriously, anybody want me to write some shit for them in exchange for money? I write real good. Promise!)

The German Edge (Not a Figure Skating Movie)

4 Nov

Over the past couple of months I’ve found myself inside a number of terrifying things. (Not this, thankfully, but still…)

At one point I was inside a lava tube in an active volcano in Hawaii. Another time I was in the middle of a sleazy older couple wearing leather matrix jackets and entirely too much in the way of animal prints that was trying to take me home with them. One time I was inside a taco bell, and I was EATING. And one time I was….

IN A MINIVAN.

But enough about that. The scariest thing I’ve been inside lately was a German knife factory filled with robots, fire pits, razors, hot pokers and knives– all just itching in their itchy little inanimate object way to maim me in some horrifying and irreversible manner.

Just because I didn't see one of these doesn't mean they don't have one.

But much like the remake of The Amityville Horror, which I managed to watch without peeing my pants by drooling over a shirtless Ryan Reynolds every time he appeared on screen, this knife factory had a legion of horror-attenuating hotties to keep me from freaking out.

HELLURRR

Let me explain:

On the dime of a fancy knife company based in Solingen, Germany (a place that has been making knives for so long that it has been given the nickname “City of Blades”), I took a flight to Dusseldorf and drove out to the aforementioned death pit/adorable 1800s brick industrial complex to write an article about the town’s history of knifemaking. After I arrived, drank my weight in reisling and took a long nap in a hotel whose floor plan was so confusing I would swear it featured prominently in a Greek myth, I arrived at the factory with three other reporters (all straight and male), and a fabulous gay male publicist.

Yeah, good luck with that.

The head knifemaker, a white-haired, bearded man with a thick West German accent, arrives in the conference room (also full of knives) and begins telling us about what he does. Then he starts to introduce his staff.

Knifemaker: “So this is Kristian, he is our head of quality control and will be taking you on your tour”

*The most gorgeous, six-foot-plus, blue-eyed ski instructor-looking dude I have ever seen walks in *

Knifemaker: “And this is Henrick…”

*The most gorgeous, six-foot-plus, blue-eyed, BLONDE ski instructor-looking dude I have ever seen walks in *

Knifemaker: “And this is Klaus”

*The most gorgeous, probably underage, Japanime-looking german ski-instructor-looking dude I have ever seen walks in*

Gay Publicist: *Grabs my arm in alarm*

OneBad: “Hahaha… ha…. ha…did you guys just hire the German Olympic Ski Team or something?

So we start the tour with the ski team, and the very first room, which has superheaters and glowing metal and all sorts of sharp shit,  is chock full of strapping, blonde, blue-eyed knifemaker types with big shoulders and overalls.

Picture this, but with knives.

Gay Publicist: *looks nervous* Um…. we’re not dead, right? This isn’t heaven?  I mean, it’s okay if it IS heaven… I could do without all the fire but this is a heaven I can live wi… Oh GOD look at that one over there…WAIT. IS THIS HELL?!?!?

OneBad: “Shhhhhh. Shhhhhhh. It’s okay, it’s just Germany.”

It was like a magical sexual fairyland full of knives and Chippendales dancers, and despite almost being stabbed to death by sentient sharpener robots, I had a phenomenal time.  Every now and again I do find myself wondering what the cost of living is like in Solingen though…

*Stares dreamily off into space*

Trouble Always Comes in Tris

8 Oct

Wow y’all. I haven’t blogged in so long I forgot there was even such a thing as blogging…

Ok, that’s not true. I have the internet and haven’t been a victim of brain damage, so it is highly unlikely that I’d just up and FORGET what blogging was. (Although my new roommate did tell me a story about an indigenous tribe that lived in the woods and how if you went to visit them for extended periods of time you would just forget about everything that was more than three feet in front of your face because of the proximity of the trees and people would actually go insane in there because everythingwassocloseandWILLSOMEONEGETMEOUTOFTHESETREES?)

Ahem, anyway, as I understand it, I left y’all in a season finale cliffhanger, contemplating whether I was to die at the hands of the Westchester Triathlon. I am here to tell you that that did not happen. But it almost did!

You see, in order to participate in the Westchester Triathlon, which opens at 5am sharp at the Rye Playland in upstate NY, I had to rent:

1. A wetsuit so I could swim in the freezing Long Island Sound

2. A bike with gears so my legs wouldn’t turn into blocks of wood mid-race, and

3. An enormous SUV to haul all this shit to a hotel the night before so I could eat some pasta and go to sleep at 9pm.

Of course I saved renting the bike and the SUV for the day before the race, which pretty much any person (let alone triathlete) on earth would probably tell you is a bad idea, and the G train, which is the only reliable method of transportation to and from my new Greenpoint apartment, was nonoperational all weekend.

Long story short, it took me so long to pick up the bike that I skipped lunch (also a bad idea) and went straight back out to get the car. At 2pm, I am waiting for the G shuttle bus, staring longingly at a slice of pizza in a window across the street. At 3pm I finally get to the first train station and wait 15 minutes for a train, because it’s Sunday. Once I get on the train, it stalls underground because of a debris fire. Around 4:30pm, I finally make it to Queens, and realize I have to take another bus just 10 minutes to the airport. Only, I have to stand in the middle of a street fair full of food to wait for it. With no cash.

Then that bus is late. An HOUR AND A HALF LATE.

By the time the airport bus gets there, I am sitting on the curb, drooling on a Vietnamese tourist and cheering on the president of Ecuador, who is making the rounds of the neighborhood in a caravan. I am so tired of waiting for transportation that I’m not even sure why I’m in Queens anymore, but the president of Ecuador is here, so that has to be it.

Around 6:30, I make it to the airport, where I wait for the Budget bus, which, when it comes, is arctic with air conditioning. By now, I have run out of any extra calories I might use to keep my body temperature at a reasonable level, so I just huddle into the corner and shiver for warmth.

At 7, I make it to the Budget counter.

And the line is out the door.

At this point I’m ready to take off my shorts and run howling through the rental agency declaring my allegiance to the United States of Underpants just for some excitement (or food?), but I manage to wait until my turn without doing anything rash. Budget gives me a minivan the size of a small country.

I hate you AND your shiny windows, you van of lies. I bet those aren't even real leaves.

Which turns out to have so many buttons and automatic doors and folding seats that it takes me 25 engineering-heavy minutes to get the damn bike into it. By now, I am starving and stressed out. I find a Cliff bar in my cupboard and shove it into my mouth whole.  I just want to get on the road, eat some room service pasta in my hotel and go to sleep.

But where are the keys?

I still have the giant plastic key fob in my hand, but the place where the metal key was just a moment ago is now just a plasticine knob. The Twilight Zone theme music plays in my head. I retrace my steps back into my apartment looking for it. I press all the car buttons. I climb under the chassis. I curse the heavens. I throw things, but the key does not grow back. I begin to think that maybe I am inside a Stephen King novel, and that I will soon murder someone.

I sit in the drivers seat, almost in tears, and mash the plastic key fob into the ignition.

“Why can’t I just start it with THIS?” I cry.

And the car starts.

Because, you see, there never was a key. Apparently, behemoth minivans with hundreds of buttons start magically with the little plastic knobs of their key fobs, and I was so exhausted I hadn’t even noticed.

I drive to the hotel in Connecticut, where I eat some watery room service pasta with sausage and what may be the hardest roll on earth. I fall asleep around 11.

I arrive at the race and unpack around 5am, and am briefly concerned that I have one piece left over from my triathlon packet–which is a thing that seems to happen every time I build anything from bookcases to lego sets. It is a roundish hardware-looking appliance that I assume is used to secure the strap to your wetsuit so it won’t flap around during the swim.  “Don’t need this,” I think, and toss it back into the cavernous backseat.

I am the one that looks like a sausage.

Finally, I have set up my transition area and am waiting with my age group to run into the water. I am so excited that I think my heart might beat right out of my chest, and when they count down the seconds I actually start hopping up and down in anticipation.

Then I hit the water.

And.

I.

Can’t.

Breathe.

The water is so unexpectedly cold that I start gasping and sputtering and can barely keep my face in the water.

“Jesus Christ,  I just trained for a triathlon for five months and I am GOING TO DROWN,” I think (repeatedly). As my last thought, I murmer:  “GOODBYE CRUEL OCEAN/BUSSES/BUDGET/CAR KEYS,” as I flounder in a soup of splashing elbows and flapping wetsuits.

YOU try not to drown in that.

But then, after struggling for two or three minutes, I warm up enough to swim normally. I am saved (!) and  the rest of the race goes off without a hitch. I make it through the bike without a flat tire or my legs falling off, and I even manage to pass a few people on the run.

When I reach the finish line, people I don’t even know are cheering for me and I have a straight line of sight to the free beer table. I get to stop running soon! I am in heaven! Until I finish and get to the unlikeliest of finish line managers–a pair of 10-year-old girls.

“Here’s your finishers medal!” says one.

“Thanks!”

“Timing chip?” asks the other.

“Here you go sweetie,” I say, and hand her the rubber ankle bracelet with the bit of metal that I’ve worn throughout the race.

She scowls. “Not that. THIS,” she says, and holds up the piece of hardware I left in the car.

*gives up, drops rubber thing, makes beeline for the beer*