Attack of the Vampire Bear
Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
4Trip End Jul 05, 2010
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"Happy hour at Swingers?"
Me: "Can't. San Diego."
Tanner: "Leaving immediately?"
Me: "At airport."
Tanner: "Dude you were still at work when I left?"
The only thing I could do was text him a picture of the sign reading "Denver International Airport". Message sent. In a matter of just a few weeks, I went from not knowing what I was going to do on this trip, to being ecstatic about hanging out with Malcolm, my old roommate from Richmond, VA. He had been living out in Glendale (just outside Los Angeles) for several months, temporarily staying with his mom and her family until he got his feet wet. I told Malcolm about my plans for San Diego over the weekend, he put some things together, and at last, it was turning into a great weekend-to-be.
My preference on airplanes is the aisle, and I sat next to a young guy who looked like he was California-bound. The middle seat left open, a girl about our age sat in between us. I was watching one of my favorite movies, "Into the Wild", on my iPod when I decided to break the silence and start up conversations with the two. By the end of the flight, we all had shared a few beers and exchanged phone numbers. The girl, Katie, was a twin, so of course we took this opportunity to dissect the mentality of twins, and much of the flight turned into a question-and-answer session directed by me and Greg.
"If you guys were separated at birth, do you think you would have still found each other?" and "Do you both quietly judge other people, then subconsciously look at each other knowing that you're both thinking the same thing?" I remember those being some of the more ridiculous questions we asked. I've come to the conclusion that people who aren't twins just don't understand it. We don't get it, but the questions just keep coming. Twins, on the other hand, can't imagine life without having a twin; someone who is very similar to them in appearance, but also a best friend.
Packing only a few t-shirts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shorts, I was hit pretty hard with the unexpected cold weather. Now I say cold, but it was really about 60 degrees. It just seemed much colder, as I was used to the warmth of Colorado this season. Coincidentally, another one of his buddies, Patrick Keys (goes by "Keys"), was also out visiting from Newport News, VA. Malcolm and Patrick greeted me at the airport, and we drove right downtown to find a hotel. Those two had never been to San Diego, so Malcolm spent about fifteen minutes just in awe of the Gas Lamp District and the lively surroundings. The streets were packed and a good vibe was in the air. The song "Fancy" by Drake was blasting through the car's speakers.
"OH YOU FANCY, HUH?!" Malcolm would shout out the window to the girls walking by on the street. He was the kind of guy who would get really ensconced in the moment, and a well-timed song would only amplify that moment, sending him into outbursts of jubilation that were highly contagious. I found myself doing the more low-key bopping of the head from the back seat. The San Diego Padres baseball team was in first place in its division, and the stadium was just a couple blocks away right downtown so you could hear all the cheering from the fans in the stands. If you didn't mind the chilly breeze, it was a fantastic night to be out downtown.
Since we were looking to go out right away, we had to suck it up at the Comfort Inn and sleep three-deep in a room that only had a king-size bed. No, we all didn't share the same bed <get your head out of the gutter>. I told Malcolm and Keys they could fight over the bed later and I volunteered for the floor. The hotel was right off of 6th and G st. so if you know San Diego, that intersection is right in the thick of it all. Before we left, Keys had rolled a blunt for him to smoke so he could get into the groove. He called it "taking his medication".
"Gotta go take my meds," Keys would announce to us, and I'd end up hearing this phrase multiple times over the next few days. So after Keys heavily medicated himself, we parked the car in a local garage and waited on Malcolm's date, Daye, to arrive there. Pulling out a bottle of Sky Vodka from Malcolm's trunk, we played "pass it back", as we shared the vodka and swapped stories. I found myself watching and laughing at Keys and Malcolm as they bickered back and forth about women and all that lies ahead in life. The more the fifth of Sky was emptying, the louder our laughter got, and the more interesting our arguments became. Just as the friendly banter was really heating up, Daye arrived and parked her car.
"Watch," I told Keys, "if Malcolm greets her with a hug and a kiss, he really digs her. If they just give each other the 'ass-out hug', it's only temporary." Sure enough, Malcolm gives her a big ol' wet kiss and throws his arms around her. Daye was very attractive. She was a tall, slender, African-American woman whose funky hair resembled Erykah Badu's. I'd say she was about 35-37 years old, a good thirteen years older than Malcolm, but seemed more-than-happy to get down on our college-level of excitement for the night. We marched down the sidewalks, dodging the panhandlers and filling each other in on all that was going on in our lives lately. Daye was a San Diego native, so she knew the streets and provided great recommendations of places to go for the night and beaches for Saturday.
We landed at Henry's Pub on 5th Ave. This place was totally my scene...five years ago. Immediately, Keys bought us all a round of tequila shots, and we struggled between shouting at each other and shaking it on the dance floor. The place was crowded as hell and the energy was booming, but I started to feel old when I looked around at all the college-aged people dancing their asses off, and here I am, just standing around looking like a night stalker. What can I say? I wasn't feeling dancing right then and there weren't many other options. I had a laugh to myself remembering how I used to fight with my ex-girlfriend back in college because I refused to miss any kind of party. This used to be my scene, and I suppose I had graduated from this as well. I was also exceedingly tired.
I've always been proud of being responsible on work nights and not risking a hangover. Well I kept my promise when bar-hopping the night before, but I still had only about three hours of sleep that night. So now, it's about 3:00 a.m. Denver time, and I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. Out of the blue, a drunk girl stumbles up to Keys and just throws her arms around him, then starts making out with him. Now I'm starting to really worry about how the night's going to end, and whether or not I'll have to get a second hotel room, because I damn sure wasn't going to do that awkward, fifth wheel thing on the floor!
Keys didn't get the girl after all, and he ended up giving the bed to Malcolm since Daye wanted to sleep over. On the walk to the hotel, we stopped by "Hot Dogs @ 428", a small store/bakery specializing in late night hot dogs for people like us. Malcolm hoovered his layered chili dog, then grabbed another after insisting it was the best he'd ever tasted. Initially happy to be hitting the sack, I quickly became preoccupied after hearing Malcolm warn me of Keys' snoring habits. I've slept in the same room as people with snoring issues, but Malcolm insisted that this was the worst. Guaranteed. He was right.
After Keys took his "meds", he passed out by the door of our hotel room. I was on the other side of the floor next to the air conditioning vent. Malcolm told me to hurry up and fall asleep, or risk not sleeping at all. I did fall asleep relatively quickly, but I remember waking up in the middle of the night and hearing the God-awful noise.
I'm going to paint a vivid picture. Imagine a grizzly bear and a vampire getting ready for a sumo wrestling match. Both are at opposite ends of the ring, getting ready to square off, the vampire is hissing and the bear is growling ferociously. Then, they both charge. As they're wrestling and growling/hissing, the vampire bites the bear in the neck (this is about mid-snore here). Suddenly, the air goes quiet, and the bear stumbles back, grasping his neck (ten-seconds of grace period here to fall back asleep). But wait, the infected blood from the vampire starts to course through the bear's veins, and the silence quickly turns into savage moans of pain. The bear is now becoming a vampire itself, and the two sounds converge to make one mega-sound. The snores now kick up to a whole new level, leaving the listener wondering how Keys could possibly sleep through this, or worse, wondering whether or not to call 911! Now, I was left battling this mutant grizzly-vampire and strategically timing my return to slumber.
If you don't believe me, just check out this clip: