A Memoir of 48 Hours in Phoenix

In other job-related news, I spent the 29th and 30th in Phoenix, AZ installing a firewall, removing an ICS solution altogether, configuring a network printer/copier/scanner to play nice, and documenting the entire monster for the furtherance of business as usual in the mortgage industry.


Some interesting things happened on this little trip. 

Well, okay, one interesting thing happened on this trip:  After the day’s end on the 29th, it was time to go out and find a party.  The curious thing about Phoenix, according to my hosts, is that the nightlife comes out at 10pm and goes back to bed at 1am.  For some reason I’m reminded of the flies with the 24-hour lifespan, eh?  Come out, party, get laid, and get extinguished (for the record, I stopped at “come out”).


I was given use of the CEO’s old Cadillac for the duration of my stay, so I followed the office manager and the LO who makes all the money over to a little section of town that reminded me of Cherry Creek in Denver.  It was just 1 story buildings, completely calm, and for all the overly-well-dressed people, it was rather a nice place.  I had a couple pints of margarita, which was sorely needed after a long day of praying to the gods of VPN tunnels, and managed to relax.  We had some black bean nachos, some Red Stripe Beer Girls propositioning us to play mini golf for clothing, and not much else.  The place was basically a ghost town.  I guess it was a Thursday night, but c’mon…  we walked over to another place, also dead, had a beer chatted with the girl tending bar about the complete lack of night life, and then the office manager bailed on us.  The LO and I headed over to the mall (of all places… I felt like a fucking teenager riding in the oversized H2).  I guess this mall is pretty huge, home of P.F. Chang’s and such.  Blah blah.  The LO handed his keys over to the old grandfather working the valet curb and we walked into the Kona Grill.  This place was packed, wall-to-wall, with extremely good-looking women of the “ultra hip, fashionable” variety – pleasant to look at, but not much to listen to, if you get my meaning.  We started in on the Talisker (a scotch my LO friend had not tried, oddly enough), and managed to work our way around to the enclosed patio, where the view was better in all directions.  The girl tending bar here was …  well, let’s just leave it at “fucking amazing looking”.


I’m not really sure how many tumblers we put away, but into the late part of the night, a couple barstools opened up and I commandeered myself one.  I was having trouble standing, you see.  Late night dining is fairly limited, apparently, so I leaned into the bar’s late night menu, and the LO (mister has too much money), ordered us a platter of calamari, a plate of spicy tuna rolls, and some skewers of chicken grilled and served with sesame plum sauce.  Needless to say, it was all very good, and staved off the rabidly drunk demon for a while.  I headed off to the can, and when I got back, the LO was rubbing elbows with this short, charming little blonde girl.  I left them alone, stared at a rather lovely redhead across the way, until the bar turned on the damn brights and kicked us all out.


We crossed the way to another bar, where I abstained from drinking further… uh, by “we” I mean the LO, his blonde, her friend, and myself.  This bar kicked us out a little while later, and standing under the “walkover bridge” we find out the valet service closed at 11pm, and locked the LO’s keys in a vault.  They wouldn’t be available until 9:30am the following day.  Now, you have to understand, I probably can’t describe this LO in any way that is fair to him.  Suffice to say he is a well-spoken man of stature somewhat taller and a trifle rounder than I am.  He lit into a security guard with such expert pissed-itude, I couldn’t help but laugh; I had to walk away.


We ended up hitching a ride with the blonde, back to where my borrowed Cadillac was waiting, and I made it to my hotel around 2 in the am.  I had such raging heartburn scotch stomach I had to sleep halfway upright to keep the fire out of my esophagus.  It was not pretty.  There was something more than wasabi in those tuna rolls.  I had to pay for my hotel that night, too, which I wasn’t terribly happy about, but I expect either the client or my boss will reimburse me.  The interesting part about this is that I had to cancel my MasterCard a week or so ago as a result of some mail tampering, and I had failed to destroy my card.  I even failed to take it out of my wallet.  So, I put my room on it, and the girl gave me my key.  Fifteen minutes later I’m not quite undressed, and mostly asleep when the phone rings.  I answer it and she tells me my card was refused.  This is when it dawns on me that I had in fact cancelled it.  Ugh.  So I plod back to the elevator, back to the ground floor, to the desk, somehow managing to put on a few more articles of clothing (and not backwards… at least, I don’t think so).  I don’t remember much else of the night beyond that.


I called the LO the following morning, since he was supposed to be the one that let me into the office that day, and find that he’s spent part of the night at the blonde’s house, and part at his own (he has a seasonal lodger that eventually let him in).  He managed to chase the blonde out before his regular girlfriend arrived, which somehow amused the shit out of me, and figure out how and when he could get his vehicle back.


So, no means into the office for me that morning, I instead call up the ancient man who is essentially the lynchpin for this office, the man whose book of contacts the office uses to make sales.  He mentioned to me the day prior that his PC at home was acting up and he’d pay me for my time.  Hey, sounds good.  I met him at a grocery near my hotel and he drove us to his palace (okay, it’s really more of a townie, but my fucking god the ceilings must have been 25 feet up.  Ionic columns made up a kind post-and-lintel fabrication within the drywall… the place was really quite amazing.  This is, also, just his winter home.  He has an equally grand place in Aurora, CO (that I have also been to).  I spent 30 minutes deleting off the crapware his broadband provider had installed on his PC, and making it run again without locking up horribly.  One should note that this system is some 5 years old, running a 9x-to-ME upgrade, and is host to this man’s life story, which is soon to be published somewhere.  He’s really a rather interesting fellow, I think.  But I’ll save that for another day.  Anyway, my 30 minutes of work was worth 100$, which he pulled out of a wad that reminded me of Jed’s from the Beverly Hillbillies.


I spent the rest of that day photographing the resultant cabling and appliance arrangement I had created in the office the day before.  Sometime in the afternoon, the office intern drove me back to the airport where I was not cavity-searched.


Thus ended my little adventure.  I went home and slipped into a much needed coma after stuffing myself on the most unhealthy (yet filling) fare I could find.


I also paid 30$ for parking at DIA.  That was a little bit offensive.  Oh well.


I’m back now, and tearing apart my life as it has been for two years now, stuffing it into paper boxes and being mostly unmoved by the implications, with the exception of this album I mentioned earlier.  I’ve since taken all the notes out of it and stuffed them into my office waste bin.  They’re so numerous they fill the thing wall to wall.  This leaves me with only a few pages with pictures from what feels to me like prehistory.  It invokes memories of when she first moved into the half story.  Memories of the first time she saw me naked, the first time I saw her naked (not the same time, actually), memories of driving past Wash Park listening to some hateful song and wishing the whole thing would just go away.  I guess I got my wish.  Now the task is to weed out the useless flak, and hang onto the worthwhile memorabilia from that episode of my life.

See, I’m not just older, fatter, and dumber.  I’m also practical.

That’s me, old, fat, dumb, and practical.  Practically as old, fat, and dumb as I could ever want to be.


February 1, 2004