My long trip too

A far cry from a Boeing 777.

My wacky friend Steve Cotton lives by choice on a Mexican beach in the sweltering heat which, in itself, illustrates his wackiness. He’s a talented writer, so check out his blog.

Recently, he flew around the world, which is an interesting thing on the face of it, but he did it oddly. Except for two plane changes in which he did not leave the airports in Tokyo and Dubai, the trip consisted entirely of sitting on the plane. That’s it, two days in the air.

Sitting. Go figure.

His long trip reminded me of something similar I did in 1964. I too sat in a steel tube, but it traveled from Los Angeles to New York City. Instead of Steve’s two days, my trip lasted four. Steve’s trip seems to have had no purpose aside from flying around the world.

My trip’s purpose was to see an 18-year-old Jewish Princess hottie in New York City. Her name was Janie Friedman, and we’d been an item in high school. I was in looove.

Unlike Steve’s cushy, Business Class accommodations, I had a standard seat on a Greyhound bus. There was no stewardess, and there were no onboard meals with cloth napkins and a fresh tulip.

We stopped at diners to eat and stretch our legs.

Unlike Steve’s extensive planning (one supposes), I did no planning whatsoever. I did not even think to take a toothbrush onboard. It was stashed in my luggage below. I spent those four days unbathed in the same duds, same underwear, same everything.

Looove inspires madness.

But it was an interesting ride from the southwestern corner of America to the northeastern. We went through deserts and plains and farmlands. Some cities too though I don’t recall which ones. In the middle of the night near Pittsburgh, the bus broke down, and we sat a spell in the dark till a replacement arrived.

It was my first and lengthiest visit to New York City. I stayed four nights in a cheap hotel near the Manhattan bus station.

In the mid-1970s, I returned briefly to New York City en route to Europe, and I’ve never returned.

The reunion with Janie was a disappointment. She had moved beyond me, and I realized we were not to be. I hopped another Greyhound down to Nashville where my parents were living, and life continued thereafter from one misstep to the next.

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(Note: I addressed this trip from another angle over three years ago in a post titled The New York City Adventure.)

The New York City adventure

I WALKED OUT the front gate of Castle Air Force Base in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California a free, young man. It was the mid-1960s.

Taking a taxi the few miles into Merced, I got on a Greyhound down to the City of Angels where I boarded another bus headed to New York City, 2,451 miles away as the buzzard flies. It was a four-and-a-half-day ride.

I thought I was in love, and maybe I was. The object of my desires, my high school sweetheart, lived just outside New York City in White Plains. She was staying with her psychologist — or perhaps psychiatrist; I don’t recall — and his family, sent there from Jacksonville, Florida, by wealthy, worried parents.

Her name was Jane, a beautiful, teenaged Jewish Princess and only child.

Aside from one breakdown near Pittsburgh, Pa., in the middle of the night, and the fact that I had stupidly put all my clothes and toothbrush in my suitcase locked in the belly of the bus, the trip was uneventful.

I walked out of the Greyhound station in Manhattan and spotted a hotel nearby. I checked in, showered, brushed my teeth and combed my hair. Ah, that’s more like it. And I phoned Jane.

It was either that afternoon or the following day — it was over half a century ago — that she came into town to see me. We got naked in the hotel, just the second time in my life, and then we went out. The first had been with her too, a couple of years before.

I recall neither where we went nor what we did, but I do remember she was distant, which saddened me.

Over the next three days I found a studio apartment in Greenwich Village and got a job as a painter’s helper via an employment agency. The memories are quite vague now. I saw Jane one more time, and I walked her one evening to a subway station that would return her to Grand Central and on to White Plains.

I never spent a night in the apartment and never reported to my first day of work as a painter’s helper. Instead I returned to the Greyhound station and boarded a bus to Nashville, Tennessee, where my parents lived.

I did not say goodbye to Jane, and I never saw her again.

* * * *

(Tomorrow: The City of Angels Adventure, back to California.)

Drive safe, amigos!

Bulletproof, baby!

FOR THOSE who consider travel to Mexico dangerous, let me show you something you can buy — or maybe rent — before you come down to live or visit:

An armored Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the price is $1,679,900 pesos or approximately $96,000. That’s U.S. cash.

It’s waiting in the showroom here.

This means that as you are barreling down a highway, and you spot a “police” checkpoint ahead, and you’re not sure if they are real cops or just the pretend ones you have heard about, you can  floorboard your armored Jeep. Don’t stop!

You’ll be protected from the submachine-gun fire, from real or make-believe police that will be aimed your way, by the Jeep’s 19-mm-thick armor. No joke!

If the real or pretend cops do not let loose with their heaviest artillery, be secure in the knowledge that you’ll be protected from the following weaponry too:

.22 LR HV 40-grain lead, .38 Special 158 GR JSP, 9mm Parabellum 124-grain FML, .357 magnum 158-grain .44 magnum 240-grain SWC and, of course, the 9mm Parabellum 124-grain FMJ. It’s also grenade-proof! And it runs on flat tires.

This comes from the Jeep-Mexico website.

Another scenario: You’re driving through backwoods in the area around Los Reyes, Michoacán. You round a curve, and there’s a huge tree trunk across the road. All is silent.

It didn’t rain last night. Think fast!

You floorboard that mutha! It’s got four-wheel drive and is powered by 360-horse Hemi V8. You’ll fly right over the tree. If gunfire erupts from the treeline, like with Bonnie and Clyde, just remember the armor. Don’t look back.

I also visited the Jeep website for the United States. There is no armored Grand Cherokee offered. I had always assumed that armored personal cars were special orders, and it appears to be so in the United States.

But in Mexico, just stop by your local showroom.

This seems unfair. Say you encounter a Black Lives Matter gang blocking a street in Oakland, California. Or Antifa halfwits. Drive right through/over them, but they could be packing. Best to have an armored Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Say you’re driving through New York City with your red MAGA cap on your head. An armored car just makes sense.

While we have our fake cops and highway robbers in Mexico, you Gringos have your Democrats and other sorts of EPs*. In both scenarios, an armored vehicle could be a lifesaver.

Drive safe, amigos!

* * * *

* Equality people. See definition in right column.

The liberator

VERY INTERESTING video. Author and filmmaker Laurence Jarvik speaks for an hour on the Trump phenomenon. Among other themes, he points out that Trump is neither Democrat nor Republican but another thing altogether.

Trump is a deprogrammer of the American mind.