We were fucked.
It had been a wonderful experience. For three hours. Until my transmission blew out in Kingman Arizona and we tried watching video tutorials on how to fix a transmission on YouTube. Turns out rebuilding a transmission ain’t so easy.
Luckily, there happened to be an extremely seedy strip joint in the back of the gas station where my car was broken.
So we went in.
It was named The Big Rig Dollhouse
and aside from that massive dude in the background wondering what in the fuck business my buddy Tyler and I had doing there, and aside from the
QUICK! TAKE A PHOTO QUICK QUICK QUICK BEFORE THAT BIG ASS HICK NOTICES WE ARE TAKING A PHOTO OF HIM!
Inside, after making it passed the security dude who was certain we were lost, we walked in and saw three country boys flinging what little money they had at the one methed out stripper dancing with no pole barely able to stand up trying to look sexy on a loose boarded splintery stage. Oh yeah, and all the furniture was miniature. Like a dollhouse.
The Big Rig Dollhouse.
When I asked the dude at the front door where the bartender was, he ran behind some wooden table to take my order.
I asked for a Redbull.
We got beer, he says.
Hmmm… Ok. I don’t drink. Maybe I’ll get a lapdance?
The joint was getting seedier by the minute.
We had to get outa there. I don’t think we were very welcome.
We left without spending a dime, except for the twenty bucks they charged us to get into that crack den.
We called triple A at 2am.
An hour later they came and towed my car to some motel down the street and we went to bed.
The next day we walked around the small desert town till we found a mechanic and asked how much it would cost.
To rebuild a tranny?!
Shit, maybe three thousand? Four?
My car was only worth three thousand. Maybe four. Fuck it. We’ll just take out another loan and get another car.
So we called triple A again and they towed us to the closest city, Vegas… roughly a hundred miles away.
We roamed around Carmax in Henderson Nevada and looked at used Denalis. We had found our dream car. But then RIGHT BEFORE I BOUGHT THE CAR, a chick mechanic came out and found us and told me I had a full warrantee on the transmission.
Yeah, so Nissan’ll fix it for free. But you gotta wait till they open on Monday.
It was Friday.
This was gonna set us back three days, which gave us two days to get to Ohio for the Rootwire Festival so I could interview Blockhead and Turkuaz for VIBE Magazine. So we watched an episode of Breaking Bad at a Best Western with the hot gal working the front desk.
FASTFORWARD TO MONDAY.
We walk over to the GMC dealership while my Nissan is being worked on.
“We’re here to buy that car. Today.”
And we pointed to a brand new eighty thousand dollar XXL Yukon Denali and test drove it for fifteen minutes around Vegas, dropped it off, told the salesman we’d be right back, never came back, got my Nissan and got the fuck outa Vegas.
We made one stop in St Louis and stayed in possibly the weirdest Days Inn on Earth.
Miraculously, we actually made it to the Rootwire Music Festival on time and I did my interviews… Like I said, I was working as a journalist for Vibe at the time.
FASTFORWARD TO AFTER THE FESTIVAL.
LOCATION: DUFUR OHIO
After a three-day festival camped next to the “late night stage” and getting stomped on by gakked out MidWestern hippies every night, we decide to make a pitstop in Long Island and say hi to my parents and eat free food and do laundry.
I had a GREAT idea.
Let’s drive through Canada on our way back to Burning Man!
Our plan was to roam the country and end up back in Nevada a month later for Burning Man.
So we drive to Montreal determined to meet French girls.
After stopping by a movie theatre in Plattsburgh NY to watch Blue Jasmine but finding out the movie wasn’t actually playing there and that we had drove like fifty miles out of the way to see a movie that wasn’t playing which the rotten tomatos flixter app had told us WAS playing there, but wasn’t, we head on up to Quebec.
We pull up to our hostel and after an unsuccessful attempt at flirting in French with the two Parisian chicks hanging outside the porch, we went to bed, woke up and drove to Old Port, the fancy part of Montreal where all the cobblestone roads and huge churches are.
We park the car and find a nice cafe and sit outside sipping espresso. Ahhhhh… What a wonderful city in the Summer.
Then I saw some bikes.
“HEY! LETS RENT A BIKE!” So we rented two bikes and rode around.
La la lee ta da…
“Let’s check the car and refuel the meter.” So we go back to the car and
Three laptops. The one I use, my old one that was currently on auction on eBay and Tyler’s laptop. Also my iPad mini, my hard drive, BOTH our passports AND our FUCKING Burning Man tickets.
We went to the police and asked how to get out of the country without a passport.
Ehhmmm… Well, maybe yeau can check weeth thee Bohrdor Patrole?
Right but will they let us through?
Ehhmmmm, well, I don’t know?
Was that a question? Okay… These cops don’t know shit. We gotta move. I’m doing a movie premiere in three weeks in LA for my only client at the time and it was my only source of real money and well… I had to get out of Montreal.
We still had our phones… But we were in Canada. They didn’t work without wifi. So we head toward another hostel, with Tyler guarding the car since we were missing a window and still had our clothes in the backseat, and I head down to the living room area for wifi and post on facebook:
Got robbed in Montreal. Lost everything. No phone service. Help?
My friend Jojo from from NY introduces me via facebook to this bottle service girl he met through work from Montreal.
“Dude. This girl is flawless. You’ll thank me.”
Or some shit like that he said.
Anyway she wrote me back pretty immediately and happened to live around the corner from the hostel I was at and invited Tyler and I out later that night. I say sure. Just as I’m about to run out and tell Tyler the good news
my phone rang.
It was a Montreal area code.
[thick Quebecan accent] Are you, ehmm, Greg?
I found youhr backpack?
Why was everything a fucking question in this country? But
SHE FOUND MY BACKPACK!
But it was empty.
EXCEPT OUR PASSPORTS AND BURNING MAN TICKETS!!!!!!
Apparently I had left one of my business cards in my backpack! And she found it! And called me! For all I know she was the one that actually robbed me but who cares?! Progress!
As Tyler and I were driving to where the woman told us to meet her, we slowly started falling in love with the city.
Should we still stay? I asked Tyler.
Yeah let’s just… I dunno, hang out for a bit.
What about Burning Man?
Dude I have to sell that ticket I have no money, he says.
I gotta guy in Harlem that’ll buy em off us.
So I call my guy in Harlem, but he’s already in Reno. The festival was only a few days away so we run to the post office and overnight the tickets to him, both of them, at $800 per ticket and he sends me $1,600 via PayPal. Then I run to the Mac store and buy a new computer and run back to the hostel and do some PR work for my movie premiere before night fell.
At 10pm I went to meet Michelle, the hottest French Arab chick I’ve ever seen in real life, and she took me to three clubs, all of which were weird as fuck, especially cause I didn’t speak a word of French… She was apparently bottle-service-girl-famous from working VIP at a club called New City Gas. I hung out with her till 5am till we somehow ended back at her apartment. We made out on her couch and she invited Tyler and I to stay at her apartment, with her roommate Chloe, instead of paying for the hostel.
FASTFORWARD TWO WEEKS.
I wake up in Michelle’s bed.
We are days away from my movie premiere but we decide to look for apartments in Montreal and start a new life and I figured I’d just do PR up there.
We look at five apartments, make a deal to rent this beautiful three bedroom by the park for 1200 bucks and begin making rash irrational decisions at a split moment’s notice.
Right as I was on my way to sign an illegal lease, reality sets in.
Jeez… I gotta get out of here. So I go back to Michelle’s apartmen to tell her the massive change of plans and she says
Let’s have sex.
Okay fine. I’ll tell her later. Let’s have sex instead.
FASTFORWARD TO AFTER SEX
As we lie in her bed having those after sex talks that you sometimes have, she poses the question again, as if to make sure I’m not some dude that’s just gonna bounce and asks
So you are moving here right?
Umm… I’m gonna make some espresso. She had this dope espresso machine.
I leave the room and ponder again if I should risk never having sex with this flawless girl ever again. I mean, I had promised to stay with her and be boyfriend and girlfriend and live life with her and said everything would be fantastic and all that stuff you say when a girl like that asks you questions such as those…
But I go back in her room and tell her I am going for a walk…
I head to her living room and I pick up my bags.
Where are you going? Are you leaving?
I gotta go.
I had no idea what to say so I just said
I gotta go.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!
Ummmm…. To get a haircut.
ALL WEEK she had been translating in French to landlords all over Montreal to help us land a deal for an apartment and now alla sudden I just grabbed my bags.
She got mad. So I kept lying.
You’re going to get a haircut????? With your bags????
Huh? Oh… Uhh… No, I’m just going for a walk.
Wait. Now a walk? You’re going for a walk????
Yeah. That cool?
So just leave your things here, she said flustered with my confusing responses.
No I just wanna reorganize my car.
What? Your car?
The lies kept changing.
You know, it’s uhh… Dirty. By now, mind you, the window was fixed and the car was spotless.
I’ll be right back, and I grab my shot and tell Tyler to hurry the fuck up and we rush down her creeky stairs and get in my car.
Fuck. What just happened???
Okay. Reality check.
The movie premiere is in two days and we were three thousand miles from Hollywood Blvd.
Did I mention I had never done a movie premiere in my life and had no idea how to actually do one?
I got in the car, the passenger seat, Tyler in the driver side, and he asks me
Where should we go?
I DON’T KNOW!!
I was confused as fuck.
Well, should we leave Canada?
Let’s just drive and if we make it to LA. Well, I guess we do the premiere?
Dammit, now my statements are starting to sound like questions.
No way we’ll make it, I thought.
Michelle starts sending me messages on whatsapp.
A million of them.
Shit shit shit what do we do?
Then Tyler just started driving. Before I knew it we were crossing the border in Detroit.
Now Michelle is really starting to freak out. So he just drove straight. For like twenty hours making one stop in Boulder and getting is back to LA the day before this movie premiere.
Michelle asks me where I am.
Dammit! Another fuckin statement question!
YOU’RE BACK IN LA?!?!?!?!?
Turn your phone off Greg, it’s the only way.
So I mindlessly do this movie premiere and Google how to do a red carpet and somehow I managed to fill up The Egyptian Theatre for my client, David Veloz.. Dude that wrote Natural Born Killers, and
That’s how we never made it to Burning Man, how I fucked over a girl in Montreal (we are friends again) and launched what began my career in entertainment PR.
What a fuckin roadtrip that was…