The fall of ’73 was a strenuous time for me. At the PSC where I worked, the utilities we regulated were in crisis. My book about the Albany political machine had just been published. And, as a ward leader, I was deep in a tough election campaign.
One of my foot-soldiers was Dawn, into whose crazy-quilt household crashed her sister, Mickey, having left her husband. Mickey was attractive and dynamic, and I went out with her.
In conversation, the subject of travel came up. I said I could really use a vacation, but had no one to travel with. So Mickey volunteered! We quickly settled on Mexico; it would have to be after the election. “And to make it interesting,” she said, “let’s agree not to see each other till we leave.”
OK, I said. Mickey did make a point of confiding the information that she was considered “a great lay.”
Mind you, I was still practically a virgin then. (I don’t count the hooker in Rome.) So to say I looked forward to this trip would be an understatement.
You might think this tale a little flaky. But it gets worse.
It’s Mickey. She’s gotten a job offer she can’t refuse. Must start right away. No Mexico.
To say I was crushed would be an understatement. I had told everyone at work, and my family, I was going to Mexico with a chick. How puffed up I’d been! What humiliation loomed now! To go alone would be pathetic.
“So how am I supposed to find somebody to go to Mexico in a few hours?” I say to Mickey, seemingly a futile rhetorical question.
“Well, do you know Nancy, who lives here?” Mickey says.
“No. Put her on.”
Nancy says yes. And we go. (In pre-9/11 times, the name on a plane ticket didn’t matter. Remember?)
Nancy proved to be personable and pleasant, and we had a fun adventure together. I did try one polite attempt on her virtue, which was politely rebuffed. Nancy was clear that my paying for the trip didn’t make her my girlfriend. I wasn’t actually pissed about this. It merely made this big blind date with Nancy no different from any other date I’d had.
Ironically, we had to register in hotels as man-and-wife, Mexico being very Catholic. It was also cheap, with a highly favorable exchange rate. Our first night, we dined in a lovely restaurant, a multi-course meal, complete with margaritas. When the bill arrived, in pesos, it translated into two dollars and change.
On the return trip we got stuck overnight in New York, and since my parents lived near the airport, we stayed with them. I’d previously described my intended travel companion as tall, skinny, and dark haired. Nancy was none of those things. They’d already looked askance at my plans, and now were further confuzzled.
After getting home to Albany, I never heard from Nancy again. Nor Mickey; I think she went back to her husband.
In retrospect, there’s something fishy about this story. The “let’s make it interesting” thing. The last-minute phone call. Nancy being ready to go. It had to be some kind of set-up. But why? What was the logic?
Sometimes life doesn’t follow logic. This happened. It remains a mystery to me. Like the Great Seventh Grade Poetry Report mystery. Maybe someday I’ll tell that one.