I drive around in a Chrysler Town and Country with a bumper sticker that in one, single solitary, sentence describes my existence. I Used To Be Cool.
How cool you ask?
Well, I drove a Mazda Miata for years to start and I had two car seats in the back of a grown up Convertible up until the point the latest pee stick showed two lines and that was the end of that sweet ride.
In my culture you go to college to earn your M.R.S., find a rich guy, get married at 21. I wanted none of that shit so while my friends were planning their weddings– “She Went To Paris Looking for answers to questions that bothered her so….”
I went to the Louvre and beheld the beauty of The Winged Victory.
I ate Tapas at Plaza Mayor and danced with the gypsies in the caves of Sevilla.
I went to the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome and before I realized the Italian guy was going to grab my perky 21 year old boobs (they do that there) I swung a right hook into his jaw, eyes rolled back in his head and dropped him like I was Rhonda Rousey…. On a good day.
Then another steamy Italian grabbed my hand and said “crazy American run for your life”. We ran holding hands communicating only through our joyous laughter until he stopped and bought me a gelato.
Sigh…I used to be cool.
On the beach in France I pulled my top off and went topless just like all other girls–and 80 year old grandmas.
I hitchhiked in Brussels because we met these cute guys who liked to dance, stayed out too late and we missed our ride.
I crossed Checkpoint Charlie from one side of Berlin to the other and left my name written on The Wall. I remember crying for joy the day that Wall came down. I saw firsthand what building walls can do and it left an indelible imprint upon my soul.
I used to be cool.
I swam. Topless again. In Greece and met a Danish guy who had a motorcycle. He showed me the island and slept on the floor of our hotel room until morning. Then he jumped into the ocean and swam out to the ship he was working on that week. His name is Patrick. We are still friends. He met a beautiful Colombian girl and they live in Georgia with their two little boys. He still has a motorcycle. And that shipping company he used to work for? He bought it.
Sigh…We used to be cool.
Sitting in a café in what used to be Yugoslavia I pulled out a pack of Wrigley Spearmint Gum- you know the green packages from back then. I had a guy offer me his jeans (Levi’s 501) for a pack of American gum. I gave him the pack; he kept his jeans. He wasn’t so cute and he had bad teeth.
One of the girls I met on my trip and I met these two very handsome British guys-with good teeth-at a floating bar on the River Thames. Once again, due to a few extra beverages and some 21 year old infatuations we were catching a ride back to our hotel with two strange guys (hmmmm).
All of a sudden I really had to pee. Kristen and I are squeezed into the back of a Fiat and my bladder is exploding. One of the guys tells us he will stop at his “office” so I can pee. His office turned out to be what looked like a park but I did not care. I jumped right out, popped a squat and peed right there in the grass. It felt so damn good to pee! I could’ve cared less where I was peeing. That is until I got back in the car and the cute gent said “Congratulations Yank! You can now forever say you peed in the Queens garden.”
His office was Kensington Palace. His job- bodyguard to Sarah Ferguson.
I used to be cool.
I cried at the sight of Michael Angelo’s David,
fell to my knees in front of The Pieta,
ate an 8 hour meal in Florence,
drank an $18 beer in Munich,
saw the tulips in Amsterdam (a little on the high side),
stayed at the original Cinderella’s castle in the Black Forest, slept under the stars in Switzerland, took a paddle boat out on Lake Lucerne, gambled in the casino in Monaco.
I used to be cool!
I rode on trains, slept on the deck of boats,
walked across borders just to get the stamps on my passport,
put a lock on a bridge,
walked across another bridge in a famous nursery rhyme
while waiting for the strike of midnight on the clock the world knows.
I used to be cool!
I am grateful for all the experience I have had and all the chances I have taken.
Oh, I also picked up and moved from Miami to LA in my 30’s not knowing a soul because I was inspired by the Dixie Chick’s Wide Open Spaces- and a job.
Two years later I moved to Kansas City – which I could not even find on a map because I lost a bet with myself. The bet you ask?
If the place has my birthday in their address–I have to take the job. My birthday is 6/6/67.
Their zip code-66607. Swear to God!
But you want to know the truth?
The truth is that all of those amazing adventures and experiences you can’t pay for,
All those people, places, things- hot guys and amazing marijuana got me to the greatest and coolest adventure of my life.
Being the person they look at and roll their eyes at. The one they apologize for and laugh AT more than with. The one with all the stories and the map with all the dots on it that I am SO very glad they envy and scream NO FAIR at when pull it out to prove to them that–Hey! I was a me before we were a we!
Cool is over rated.
This- right here-right now-this place-at this moment-
THIS IS THE SHIT!!
This is the reward, the gift, the pain, the joy, the unfathomable blessing,
the grandest adventure and another bet I lost with myself:
“I am 36. I bet I won’t have kids now”.
Ummm… wham, bam-bam-bam, thank you m’aam.
Yes, I used to be cool.