I’ve never been good at telling people I’m a comedian. It took me years- almost decades. And once I did start blasting the fact, I was annoyed cuz then someone always says,
“You’re a comedian? Tell me a joke.”
But in my younger years, I always felt like I had to say,
“I’m a comedian/bartender.”
Cuz that was the honest truth. Humble? Maybe…
But that second job always helped me cross the border.
(Canadians know what I’m talking about.)
When the customs agent asked what I do for a living I was swift to pick the better of the two careers.
“I work at Boston Pizza!”
Sure, “worked” would have been more accurate, since technically I was moving to Huntington Beach for a guy who convinced me I was his soulmate in a nightclub in Las Vegas, but why mention THAT? I still have a warm pay stub in my purse with OVER TIME on it because I’ll need to buy Billabong shirts once I land.
Even if they call my boss to verify I work there he probably won’t hear the phone ring. He’s still using his keys as Q-Tips to clean his ears. Every other word is always,
But luckily it didn’t come to that, so I continued into Little America, aka that part of every major Canadian airport where your passport says you’re officially in the States, even though you’re still on Canadian soil eating Tim Bits. (Donut testicles.)
As I get on the plane, I hope I have a seat close to the TV screen. I lost my glasses sometime after I “finished” university but never replaced them because who cares? I don’t have to read chalkboards anymore. Why waste the money? But in this moment, I was really worried about how I was going to watch Cameron Diaz in The Sweetest Thing.
When I land at LAX, my first fear is,
“What if I don’t recognize him…”
Maybe I DID need new glasses.
But I got a new passport and that seemed responsible enough. I was quite confused by the fact this was the first year they DIDN’T let you smile in your photo. Weird… Isn’t dental work how they identify dead bodies? Why would they want you to hide teeth in an essential picture? They should MAKE you smile. Added security, cuz every one notices an over bite or snaggletooth. Anyway, this is just a round about way of saying I’ve looked like shit in all my passport photos every since.
As I walk into the arrivals area to look for my suitcase and now boyfriend, I’m approached by an older man.
“Hi, how are you? I’m so sorry to do this, but my bag got lost by the airline and all my travelers cheques were in there. I just need $20 to get a cab. Could you please help me?”
Seems legit. I hand over $20, even though the Canadian dollar was so tragic it cost me $1.46 to buy one American dollar, so my life savings turned into $1600 USD. Whatever. That should last for a while.
I see a guy I think could be Mr. Huntington Beach, wearing checkered Vans and a Hurley baseball cap, looking bored sitting on a bench. It’s 2002, pre-smart phones. If you didn’t bring a book to pick someone up at the airport you were staring at baggage carrousels and counting fanny packs. He looks up and gives me a nervous wave. I walk over.
“Is it you?”
(Facetime really would have helped. All these phone calls and AOL chats didn’t do anything for remembering what he looked like.)
He seems a little upset I forgot what he looked like. Or he’s pissed I missed my first flight. But I sit down beside him and hug him. He warms up immediately.
“You’re just as hot as I remember.”
Phew. I was so scared I looked gross after traveling across the continent. Plus I’m so much paler than him. I tried going to the tanning bed a couple of times in Ottawa, but I always got scared it would break and I’d land on all the burning hot bulbs. (I think that eventually made it into a plot point of one of the Final Destination deaths.)
We cruise south on the 405 in his Ford F150, the preferred ride of surfer dudes in SoCal. He blasts punk music, appeasing me only slightly with a version “A Thousand Miles” I had never heard before. Due to my lack of knowledge in this genre of music, I assumed all songs were by Blink 182.
The exit for Beach Blvd approaches. I can’t believe I’m going to LIVE on BEACH BLVD… it all seems so surreal… (A phrase we all use at 23, eh?) We ditch the two suitcases I narrowed my life down to in his townhouse and head to Fred’s Mexican Cantina to meet his friends.
The Huntington Beach pier looks so cool. As I hear the waves of the Pacific Ocean crash, I feel so far away from Ottawa. I can’t help but think,
How crazy is it that you can just LIVE somewhere else in the world when fate takes over…
(By spontaneously purging your job, car, boyfriend and apartment.)
I’m a little spaced out and tired at Fred’s. I didn’t worry too much about my lack of personality since I was fighting a three hour time difference. Plus I had already met his roommate in Vegas (who I liked) and my “bf” had trash talked the other girl at the table so hard I didn’t worry too much about impressing her. (Classic 2000’s! Trash talking people you hang out with on the reg. lololol.) On the way home, he took me to the Del Taco drive-thru, because I had never had it before, and he said it was a California delicacy.
But as I woke up the next morning, I realized there were a few loose ends I forgot to tie up before I left Canada…
Like for instance…
I forgot to tell my parents I was moving.
Oopsies. It must have slipped my mind. They live in Vancouver. I couldn’t even use them for a ride to the airport, so how were they to know?
And remember how I refused to give my family my cell phone number?
Well, Daddy Walkinshaw sure did call my sweet Glebe apartment in Ottawa. And my roommate sure was home and picked up.
“Hi, is Christina around?”
“No, she JUST moved to California, but if you talk to her can you tell her Kïrsten says HI!”
A few days later, I get an email from my cousin Debbie in Surrey. (Ya, Kristeen. I said SURREY! I know you’re excited.) The subject line reads:
THE SHITTETH HAS HIT THE FANNETH!
To be fair, the part of this conversation I was avoiding was less about moving to Orange Country and more about my issues with discussing boyfriends with my parents. A girl with my level of turnover can’t mention EVERY guy to mummy and daddy. (Using those words makes me sound posh but I assure you I was upper white trash at best.) I had to be sure a guy was lasting at least four months first before my introducing them to family.
Should I wait another two months to respond to the email?
(This is me and my cousin Debbie and she will LOVE I used this pic.)