It was well past bell time, and I was sitting in a stranger’s car as he drove like our lives paradoxically depended on me making it to the match, but as if us dying in a crash wouldn’t be a big deal.
It was pretty fun. Well, at first, but when I had been doing my mental math about making it in time, I hadn’t factored into the equation, because I never bothered to check, that Arena Coliseo Coacalco, where I was scheduled to wrestle, was a 50 minute drive.
I tried to just keep myself in the moment and check out the scenery, but the scenery was whizzing by like bullets in a Tarantino flick, and taking in the more immediate surroundings meant watching my driver-friend skillfully not-kill us over and over again.
I kept checking the clock and hoping we were close.
About the fifteenth time that I thought, “This seems like somewhere a wrestling arena might be.” I was finally correct.
We pulled into an alleyway off of a residential cityscape. It was crowded with loud, lively people, dogs, and automobiles.
The expert city racing driver slowly pulled into a grassy parking area outside of what looked like the classic indoor-outdoor Lucha Libre venue: basically a small, open stadium with a porch roof over it.
I grabbed my bag and pushed my way through the doors literally just in time to…
...Watch an older gentleman sweep dust out of the ring and back onto the arena’s dirt floor.
“It all works out.” My fear-brain program mocked my intellectually-reasoning-brain program.
I smiled as my intellectually-reasoning-brain retorted, “It does: we got a free trip to Mexico, had extra time to read a great book, learned a lot about Ourself through patience practice, survived one wild-ass ride, and now we get to just chill! F__k yeah, it works out.”
“Well...yeah, but…” My fear-brain program trailed off in defeat.
I signed some flyers that I was on, and took some cell phone pictures with fans, who asked me questions that were beyond my Spanish comprehension skills but were probably along the lines of, “Why the f___ are you here, but didn’t wrestle?”
I made my way to the locker room and introduced myself to a few luchadors and to the promoter, who shook his head in disappointment and said, “Fuh-king American Airlines!”
“F___ing American Airlines.” I parroted.
Then I did what any wanderlusting American adventurer dropped into a foreign culture would do: I went and hung out with my wrestling buddies from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
A bloodied Jason Gory asked, “What the f___ happened, dude?”
“Weather, arrests, and whatnot.” I summarized.
“That sucks!” He lamented.
“See! I told you!” My fear-brain program rejoiced at the confirmation of its opinion.
“No worries.” My face said calmly, yet defiantly.
I went and shook hands with Dave Crist.
“What happened, bro?”
“Storms, honey-d__king, and whatnot.” I summarized.
“That’s okay. You’ll be back.” Dave told me.
“Ahem.” My intellectually-reasoning brain program said smugly.
“Yeah, probably. Either way. No worries.” My face said with neither remorse nor rejoice.
The promoter took us Americans out to dinner where I gorged on not-so-great on my body, but exceedingly great to my tastebuds food.
“Well, hell. Maybe you were, right.” My fear-brain program conceded.
After dinner, we checked into a hotel right in the middle of Mexico City proper.
I had a nice little room to myself, with a window I could open up and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city.
I was listening to the lulling background noise of people yelling at eachother in a language I don’t comprehend and looking forward to checking out some of the city, before flying out the preceding evening, as I lay in bed waiting for señor Sandman to bring me a literal dream match, when there was a knock at the door.
It was the promoter.
“Hey, Yayson. I just wan’ed to talk to ju about jur flight, tomorrow. I’m not really finding anything cheap and I really lost my ass on dat show. Could ju possibly stay an extra night or two.”
*Record Scratch* *Freeze Frame*
*Voiceover: Yes, that’s right; I flew to another country to wrestle on a one way ticket.*
“Yeah, no worries.” My face told the promoter.
“Always an adventure.” My fear-brain program and intellectual-reasoning brain program said in unison, as they agreed that it was about time to stuff my face with some damn donuts.