last year i visited 292 of my then 325 facebook friends. i went to thirteen countries, the four tips of the united states. i visited a strip club in cincinnati because my facebook friend owned it. i went hiking in the topanga mountains because a facebook friend persuaded me that the mountain lion warnings were just for show. i had dinner in a home in calabassas that is in the same gated community that has within it a gated community that britney spears lives in! i went fishing, golfing, to a casino, to dinner at everything from the chili’s in morgantown, pa to the pizza place in nome whose delivery team uses planes. i wore out the tires on my car and my patience with airlines and the transportation security administration. two hundred and ninety two out of 325 is 90% and the remaining ten percent were dead, spambots, ignored my invitations, or declined my conditions.
in the albany, new york apartment i was told by a t.s.a. agent that she would put her hands on my ankles and feel me up until she “reached resistance”. like a good catholic girl, i put my knees together. in her own little braille, she was able to establish that i was wearing a tanga panty and that it had been several weeks since i had brazilianized myself. everybody stopped to watch. i was chagrined but i think anything a t.s.a. agent is going to do to you in their offer of a “private” room is going to be much worse.
my passport has a lot of stamps and looks like i’m either a terrorist, a drug mule, or a war criminal who is confused about which countries have extradition policies. most countries, i got off the plane, paid a customs official some money, got that magic stamp on the passport and went on my way. the exception was india which required three weeks notice, a money order and an appointment at the consulate.
this coming week was set aside for brazil. i had managed the visa application. no problems. but then my two chaperones had their visas denied.
captain reginald gholston was the 32d facebook friend i visited last year. he also chaperoned me on two facebook trips. i was planning to go to brazil with him and last year’s facebook friend #57 vince peters. it’s important in meeting any new friends that you have safeguards: for instance, take a trusted friend, meet in public, and NEVER agree to meet someone in their home or to invite them into yours. out of the ten percent of facebook friends with whom i didn’t meet, two were gentlemen who would only meet me in my house or theirs. so i didn’t. but i would have if i could have brought a chaperone.
a week before a scheduled trip, a brazilian visa speed bump. reggie and vince can’t get visas. i’ve got one.
my choices: go it alone, reschedule, go to the next place on the agenda and come back to brazil another time, or cry. i did the cry thing.
reggie is being deployed to afghanistan next month. he has been deployed to iraq twice. i feel like he’s a son–er, younger brother–to me. i had hoped he would have fun in brazil.
in mexico city, reggie and i met my facebook friend #79 yoshi maeshiro whom i knew because he admires my grandfather fritz leiber, jr.’s science fiction novels. long after i was asleep at the hotel, reggie went out to a samba bar. it was a photo finish getting to the airport for an eight a.m. flight back to the states. reggie was smiling. i wanted him to smile after he had seen brazil!
after the nice, long cry, i remembered what one has to do when there’s a speed bump —
we strike west for los angeles and las vegas. this is going to be like a combination of three musketeers, driving miss daisie and the hangover. except i don’t want to be the dude who loses a tooth!
obrigada brazil–i will reschedule and be there soon!