The next great adventure turned out to be in Tucson, AZ where the annual Gem and Mineral show is going on, and also where my good friend Carol-Anne is working for Wormtown Trading Company during the show. She literally stands in a booth all day selling jewelry and shiny rocks to people, mostly hippies, then at night she and all her hippie coworkers (whose names include J-Ro, TJ, Alyssa, Long Hair, Mitch, Pat, and Mark) hang around, drink and smoke and then she sets up her bed in the same booth she’s been working in all day. I was happy to show up with some beer and hang out with all the hippies until we went to bed. The owners of the company were really cool and welcoming, the husband actually graduated from my high school.
Tuesday morning Carol and I woke up behind the booth and Carol had Tuesday and Wednesday off, so we decided to head up to Phoenix, where her friend and my cousin lived. We didn’t have much of a plan at all, but we arrived in Phoenix Tuesday around noon, it was sunny and about 80 degrees, so we opted to find a nice patio and drink for a while. Then we enjoyed food from Pita Jungle, where they also had $4 margaritas as well as some of the best Mediterranean food I’ve ever had.
As it started to get dark we decided that we needed a plan so I called my cousin Tommy, who was nice enough to let us crash his pad that night. He didn’t get out of work until eleven so we went into Tempe and wandered around Mill Ave, which is their college party street. There were some really cool places and needless to say, we drank some more. By the time we got to Tommy’s Carol was fading fast, she’s much older than me, nearly 25, practically a real adult, so she passed out. Tommy and I, however, decided we should stay up until 5am drinking beer, that is how we were raised after-all.
After a very brief sleep and a shower, Carol and I headed out to N Counter for breakfast, which was amazing.
Then we met back up with Tommy and wandered around Tempe some more, again the weather was beautiful, and we ended up in Tempe Beach Park, where we walked around (me barefoot) and laid around in the grass ,the park and the beach is nice, but the water is reminiscent of toxic waste.
We made plans to meet up with Carol’s friend Lauren, who actually graduated high school with us, but who I barely knew. She lived in Chandler, right outside Phoenix with her boyfriend Ryan, and they’re were both really nice. We spent the entire evening just sitting around, drinking beers, smoking, watching hockey, and eating pizza. It was nice to just relax after being on the move for most of the past 3 days. We went to sleep early, woke up early and made the drive back to Tucson because Carol had to get back to work.
Over the next 2 days, we slept behind the booth, waking up around 7am to open the booth. All of the hippies would come out of the woodwork and get ready to work for the day and I would abandon Carol and head out to explore Tucson. During that time I spent a good amount of time at Barnes and Noble, stealing their internet and looking for summer jobs, I climbed a mountain in Tucson Mountain Park, which was actually really cool. The path only went about two-thirds of the way up the mountain, but I made it all the way to the top, it was a nice day, windy, sunny, perfect for hiking.
I read a couple of books, ate at a delicious Mexican restaurant called El Charro, and explored Tucson a bit. I was also thrilled to find a Dunkin’ Donuts in Tucson, they are much less frequent out here then back east.
One thing I must mention is that Thursday night, after the booth was closed there were some stragglers hanging out and smoking with us, including a beautiful woman, wearing pink pajama pants, knee-high boots, a fur coat and walking a cat on a leash, and no one even blinked. She was just one of many, many colorful people I saw while in Tucson.
I returned to the booth a bit earlier on Saturday night because Mark, the owner of Wormtown Trading Co., was having a party. He loved a good party, and also figured it was a good way to get buyers. We hung out until about 2:30 in the morning in the booth, just drinking and hanging out with all the hippies, the ones who worked for Wormtown, hippies from other booths, and customers. After lots and lots of drinking one of the hippies decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, so he borrowed a $10 ring from Carol’s booth, proposed, she said yes, then he had to go to the ATM to get the $10 to pay for the ring, it was hilarious, meanwhile her 7 year-old son, who was pretty badass was showing me magic tricks and hustling drunks out of money, it was quite a site to see.
Woke up in the booth Sunday morning hung over and sore, my last shower was 4 days before and I decided it was time to hit the road. Bade farewell to Carol and all her Wormtown coworkers, and jumped back on the road!