Random Encounters – Tijuana Tales

Over Thanksgiving Break I found myself in the Stroud Mall. Strange creatures masquerading as humans love to roam freely in the Stroud Mall. I do my best to avoid them. Always. Who knows what attracts these extraterrestrial fedora-wearing teenage beings into that tiny shopping complex?

Probably Auntie Anne’s pretzels.

Susanna followed me all the way into the Men’s department of Sears. She stood in the aisle waiting as I drowned in a sea of jeans. Slim fit jeans, Boot-cut jeans, stretch fit jeans, Extra-blue jeans, black jeans, ripped-jeans, gene jeans- the variety can be dizzying. Vertigo outright smacked me when I saw the price!

$70!!! For jeans!! They better shave off a few pounds for that price!

Sadly, the tag did not indicate weight loss features for the jeans. Maybe I’m just cheap.

“So what are your plans for after Grad School?” Susanna asked

“Umm? Move to San Diego is my only plan right now,” I replied hastily. “Why are jeans so expensive?”

Susanna ignored my second question completely, “San Diego? That’s cool and you could even visit Mexico too.”

“MEXICO?”

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Cue spontaneous Mariachi  band

Susanna and I looked at exchanged confused looks. The mentioning of Mexico brought in an uninvited participant to the conversation.

“Me and my buddies went to Mexico a few years ago, beautiful country…”

Um who are you?

The stranger in question was a short middle age man in a dirt splattered black sweatshirt and grease stained jeans. His appearance resembled that of a homeless person, not someone who could afford to go to Mexico. Giving him the benefit of the doubt I continued to listen. Susanna did the same.

“Yeah my buddies decided to take me to a cathouse in Tijuana. They said ‘listen here man, we’re going to get you laid’…”

“Oh? That’s umm….” Leaving the sentence, I unfinished I tried to think of a means of escape. A cloud of unease rested around me. I did not expect a story about prostitution while jean shopping. I’m officially uncomfortable.

“… and everything is so much cheaper down there. I bought a Sombrero for $3 USA, hell I could have bought a house! I had $15,000 in cash!”

I threw glances and every nonverbal signal in the book at Susanna to get us out of there. She caught none of them. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying this stranger’s tale. Why does this always happen to me?! With no way out I let him drone on for 10 more minutes.

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Still didn’t get the hint

“And also the Tequila there is no joke! None of that watered down American bullshit! I drank a shit ton of Tequila and blacked out. To this day I refuse to drink Tequila…. And another thing”

Finally, Susanna intervened, “Well I think we need to get going now!” In the parking lot I could help but to be annoyed by the fact that we left the mall with no jeans and oddly personal anecdotes about a strange man’s adventures in a foreign country.

Maybe I should buy jeans from Mexico – Barry

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