You know, ten years in Mexico as well two tours around the U.S. with my show, “The Deportee’s Wife” will naturally bring about a collection of surreal moments. Here’s one:
While living in Mexico, I went to perform my show in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. At the time, the hubby and I were broke as a joke. So apart from the fact that I love performing like how I love pretzel rods, Beyoncé’s music and asha bandele’s writing, I was also looking forward to the cash after the gig.
On the airplane ride over to the U.S., I decided to get a little snack pack to tide me over. It was around five or six bucks and I figured that I had that at least in my bank account.
I didn’t have it. A charge had gone through that I forgot about.
I may have the dubious honor of being the first person in the history of overdrafting to get slammed twice in a 12-hour period with double $35 overdraft fees while flying over the U.S.
When it happened, I didn’t know that I overdrafted, because I’m in a big metal box with wings, hurtling through space.
After we land, I go to the bathroom in the airport in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. In my stall, there’s one gold earring with small diamonds on the floor. I immediately open my stall door and ask the women in the bathroom if anyone’s missing an earring.
Now, let me back it up a minute. In Mexico, out of necessity, I became a pawn shop groupie. If it had a scrap of gold in it, that item went on the pawn broker’s scale.
My wedding ring. My abueltia’s jewelry. Nothing was too sacred for the pawn shop.
So when I found that earring in the airport bathroom, it was during a rough pawnshop phase. My wedding ring was actually in a pawn shop in Mexico at that moment, and I was about to perform a show about me and my husband in the U.S.
The irony was not lost on me.
After checking around for a good amount of time in the airport bathroom, I pocketed the earring.
At the hotel, I get online and have a heart attack, because my checking account looks like it got mauled by a financial tiger.
I reach out to the Princesa Pagana, and she emails me back quickly to let me know that she can hook me up with some cash the next day. A total save that I was completely grateful for.
However, there was still the issue about breakfast.
At the time, I was learning about what to ask for when I did a show. Getting all of my meals covered wasn’t yet something that I specifically included. Learn by doing, people. Learn by doing.
So I took a walk down the street that night to scope my options.
And there it was: A jeweler that was also a pawn shop. It opened at 9 am.
Around 9:15 am the next day, I got a check for $25 from the jeweler. He was all apologetic, in that Land of the 10,000 Lakes kind of way. He explained that if I had the pair, he’d be able to give me a lot more cash.
In my mind, I was all, “Dude, this will get me breakfast. 25 dollars works for me.”
I walked down the block to the bank where the check came from. I cashed it using my U.S. passport, because at that time, I didn’t have a valid U.S. driver’s license.
I walked back to the hotel and ordered the biggest breakfast on the menu. It was wonderful. It was my first solid meal in over 24 hours and I ate and ate until there wasn’t a single crumb left.
The waitress and I got to talking. I told her why I was in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. She was an open and attentive listener. At the end of the conversation, she sent me on my way with a delicious blueberry muffin, on the house.
I had money left over to buy some pizza and a drink for lunch. Bliss.
For dinner, I had my usual pre-show energy bar and a vitamin drink with the last of the $25.
The money from the Princessa Pagana then came through over the course of the day, as her and her sweetie have done on more than one occasion.
I did my show that evening. People came up to me to talk afterwards.
My right hand reached for my left hand, to play with my wedding ring, an absent-minded habit of mine. Then I remembered that my finger was bare.
A woman came up to me. Sometimes an audience member is really nervous to talk to me after a show, and they just steamroll. I understand where it comes from. This woman was that type of audience member.
She shared a story about her life, and I know that in her heart she was desperately trying to connect it to my show.
Part of the story had to do with something costing her 25 dollars.
In her nervousness, she said, “And you know, 25 dollars isn’t a whole lot of money. It doesn’t do much for you.”
I just thanked her, hugged her hard, and sent her on her way.
Ah my dear lady – if you only knew the truth. Beyoncé, sing it gurrrrl: