What year did the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” come out? Surely it was after May of 2002, right? Otherwise how do you explain a Canadian girl coming home from Sin City just to dump her boyfriend, quit her job, sell her car, sublet her apartment, and move to Huntington Beach for a guy she met on the dance floor who convinced her she was his soulmate?
OR could it be that at the ripe age of 23, she thought the phrase was just in reference to the yard stick cup you spend $42 on to drink a watered down margarita out of? No point in dragging that through customs.
(On a side note, I had a boyfriend once who was very inexperienced at filling out declaration forms, and thought he had to put down the amount of money he SPENT in the States, and not the value of items he was actually bringing back in to Canada. When the border agent asked him what he spent $2000 on, he casually said, “Mostly booze.” Took a few minutes to sort out.)
Upon returning to my cozy Glebe apartment, nestled behind Kettleman’s Bagels (24 hrs, FYI) I was very entertained by the messages Mr. Huntington Beach had left. He had NO voice after getting home from Vegas, so it was hard to make out anything he was saying. I’m probably to blame cuz we chose to get to know each other beside a blaring DJ.
I suppose I could have given him my cell, but considering the phone plans of 2002, he’d have to go on the land line list, just like Daddy Walkinshaw. WHO COULD AFFORD ALL THESE PHONE CALLS?
(Plus I still had a boyfriend for a week or two.)
Our phone calls went long and late- super late for me since he was on the west coast. He had just quit his day job, convinced corporate America wasn’t for him. He took a job at BJ’s Pizza and Grill, which only made us feel more like soulmates because we were both servers at PIZZA restaurants! (Me, Boston Pizza, respectfully.) Both chains, so he didn’t really escape “corporate,” but how would I know that in Ottawa? (And no, I’m not going to insert blow job jokes into dating a guy who works at BJ’s. I had enough of those in my act already.)
I spent many nights driving down Bank St. to an internet cafe so I could instant message him on ICQ. (In hindsight, didn’t the sound this site made when you had a message sound like “UH-OH!”?) We’d spend hours online, then I’d return home so we could talk on the phone. He’d pay for the calls because we both knew Americans tipped better.
One day, he finally broke down and declared.
“That’s it! I’m moving to Ottawa!”
This startled me for several reasons.
First of all, it was WAY too soon after breaking up with my boyfriend. I might have been a dirt bag, but I did feel bad. I couldn’t just have a new boyfriend landing in Ottawa, immediately living with me. (Especially when I met him on a trip with my ex. BAD GIRL!)
Second of all…
If anyone is moving, shouldn’t it be me?
I’ve dreamt of living in California all my life. So many road trips to Disneyland as a kid, cruising up and down the I-5. It always felt so right to me, even if my dad was writing off family vacations by going to car auctions and buying used cars while we were at the pool. The most embarrassing year being the one my dad bought ex-cop cars to sell to cab companies in Vancouver. My parents drove separately with my sister and I each in black and white Chevy Caprices all the way from L.A. to Vancouver. The good news? Nobody ever cut us off. (I KNOW I have pictures of this in the motherland and I WILL publish them when I turn this blog into a book.)
So Mr. Huntington Beach put the pressure on.
“Okay, then you’re moving here!”
He did live mere blocks from the beach. Paled in comparison to my proximity to the canal…
And we did have such a good connection…
It just made so much sense!
So I walked over to the travel agent on Bank Street.
“Hi, I’m looking for a one way ticket to L.A, maybe in like two weeks?”
(That’s how long a 23 year old thinks is takes to move across a continent.)
The travel agent was nice, but concerned.
“Oh… can I ask why you need a one way ticket?”
“I’m moving there.”
“Do you have a Green Card?”
“No, I’ll get that once I’m there.”
“Oh… well it’s really not advisable to get a one way ticket into America right now. Since 9/11…”
That day was still haunting us.
“I’d recommend getting a return ticket. We’ll make it exchangeable so you can come back whenever you’re ready.”
Ummmm, I’m moving for my soulmate. I’ll never need the other half of that ticket. But I get it.
“Sure, let’s do that.”
I handed over my credit card with a $500 limit, and she handed me a ticket to LAX.
I had two weeks to binge work before my departure. I took every shift I could, and had one last weekend on the road, going back to Kingston. This time with a comic who coincidently lived in L.A, so I figured it was a sign! The hilarious Lisa Gay Tremblay was headlining. I told her the big news. She was VERY concerned.
“Wait?! What?! No! You can’t just move for some guy you just met! No, no, no!”
Should I tell her I already bought the ticket?
“Well, when it doesn’t work out, and you’re broke, can’t afford tampons, you call me! I’ll come pick you up, AND bring tampons.”
Jokes on her. I was still wearing pads.
The rest of my time on Planet Canada consisted of going away parties. And if I can recommend one thing to people in their early twenties, it would be DO NOT HAVE GOING AWAY PARTIES THE NIGHT BEFORE YOU MOVE!
Cuz guess what? Multiple people crashed in my living room that night, none of whom had the power to wake me up in time for my flight. I woke up 45 minutes before it took off.
There was that hippy part of me thinking,
“Is this a sign?”
But I refused to believe this wasn’t meant to be. Plus nothing is more embarrassing than having multiple going away parties then still lurking in town.
So I marched back up Bank Street to Travel Cuts.
Same girl working.
“Hey… remember when you said I had to buy a return ticket… well I should have bought TWO one-ways. I missed my flight. Can you fix it?”
That miracle worker had me on a new flight by 6pm. Just enough time for me to squish in one last round at Mexicali Rosa’s, to prep for real Mexican food in my near future.
And just like that, I left Canada even faster than a young comic today.
(The pic of me at the top of this blog is from Vegas in 2016 but this one is from 2002. You can tell by the weight difference and the Sens hat. Thanks again to Andrea for these pics of me, her and Tania:)