Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Not all butt rashes are obtained through sexual contact
So I've had a rash on my butt. Don't jump to conclusions and assume that I blacked out at a frat party and woke up wearing only one sock and someone else's puke. Likewise, don't assume that I like to hang out on the docks, looking for sailors ready for a party. (I mean, I do like doing that, but still, don't assume.) There's a perfectly innocent explanation.
My friend Mick and I graduated from college together. As a little graduation gift to himself, he decided to take 2 weeks and drive to California to visit his dad. He'd be driving his motorcycle, and wanted some company, so he asked me to go.
If you've ever lived in Missouri, you know this is a very silly question. The answer to "Do you want to leave the state," no matter where to, or for how long, or by what means, is always yes. If you were due to start your new job tomorrow, or get married this evening, and someone asked you, "Do you want to take a road trip to Illinois with me right now to transport some used kitty litter to my ex-convict cousin Switchblade to use to bury a corpse with?" the answer would be yes. When you live in Missouri, you occupy a large portion of your time dreaming up scenarios which might take you out of the state, for any reason at all. I had ridden a motorcycle only once before, and it was a big comfy Honda Gold Wing driven very slowly by a responsible retired man of 56 around the block in my small hometown. The trip probably took 4 minutes. Mick's bike was a very small Honda something-or-other, no luxury bike, and Mick was no retiree; he was 22. But I didn't even blink before shouting, "Yes, I'll go!" It's just lucky for me he had asked me to go someplace interesting and beachy like California, because I'd have said yes to a trip to Kansas.
The trip took us 3 days to get there and 4 days to get back, with a week spent in California. The trip highlights:
--It rained on us as we drove through the mountains in Colorado, and we stopped at a laundromat in Salida to dry our clothes. While waiting for them to dry, I walked across the street to a Wal-Mart, the only business in sight. Somehow, because God is a jokester, I ran into my ex-boyfriend--who I had recently broken up with and now loathed--and who, of course, like me, lived in Missouri. How we happened to meet up in Colorado at that moment, when neither of us had any idea the other would be in Colorado, is beyond me. Small, cruel world.
--While on the road, we slept wherever we happened to be. We had sleeping bags, and would sleep wherever we found a spot most of the time. Outside Vegas, in fact, we just slept not too far off the side of the road. If you knew what a prissy little princess I am, this would impress you, but actually, I didn't even mind it; it was an adventure, and as I said, I was out of Missouri. And then sometimes, for a break from roughing it, we'd get a hotel room. (Nothing funny happened, I can assure you. Not only did I have a new guy I was seeing back home--who was none-too-pleased about this trip, by the way--but Mick had recently gifted a friend of mine with chlamydia--after I set the two of them up. She thought he was very cute and very smart and very witty til the communicable disease portion of the relationship. That can be a real downer in a budding love story, apparently. I suppose that could be my Lessons I've Learned Part 5: Don't play cupid to people who may have STDs. And yes, I've changed his name for this story, just in case he ever finds my blog and decides to hunt me down and kill me for revealing his seedy sexual history.)
--We planned the Mojave desert portion of the trip so that we'd be going through in the middle of the night, and hopefully therefore not scald our skin right off our bodies. A wise move, but you'd be surprised--driving through, it still felt like we were driving around in a very big oven. And it's not hard imagining why there are emergency telephones all along the highway at regular intervals, because if your car happened to crap out on you in the middle of the day, it would take about 14 seconds for you to die of exposure. So yes, for the curious among you, the desert is indeed one hot mother.
--A creepy moment occurred in Vegas, moments after Mick and I had been talking about The Doors. He was saying he loved them, I was saying I hated them. Then we stopped at a gas station, where we found an abandoned Doors CD sitting on our gas pump. Creepy.
--When we arrived in California, I learned we'd be staying on his dad's houseboat. That was actually kind of cool--we had the place to ourselves, and it was small but had separate sleeping quarters. It was neat to stay on a boat for a week...except for the fact that I discovered on that trip that I get sick on boats. When we were docked it was okay, but when we went out into the open water, I got green. Nice. Still, I got to do a lot of sunbathing, and really, we didn't spend much time on the boat anyway, but instead visited various beaches and touristy spots while we were in town.
--Oh yeah, the rash part. So it turns out that a tender, delicate booty like my own doesn't necessarily take easily to sitting on a bike for days on end. I had acquired a minor rash by the time we arrived in California. Then I sunbathed almost every day, because, well, I'm an idiot. I'm also a very white, very pale idiot, so I burned. Then after a week of cooking my rashy behind in the sun, I hopped back on the bike for the return trip home. Rash stacked on top of burn stacked on top of rash. Ow. Not a very Jack Kerouac scene.
--And for the final trip highlight: The wasp in Mick's pants. We were almost home, maybe an hour away, and I was sitting there admiring the passing scenery, my legs continuing to get pelted with insects and debris, as happens on a bike. I was sitting behind Mick, naturally, but there was no need to hold on to his waist or anything; it was a small bike, but I had a little back rest and I could lean back on that, leaving maybe six inches of space between his body and mine. For no reason I could imagine, he began sort of hopping left to right in his seat while driving, kind of doing a crazy shimmy. I thought he had lost his mind. He then pulled over, leapt off the bike and raced for the ditch, where he was able to quickly drop his shorts out of the sight of passing cars (and me), shrieking the entire time. Turns out a wasp had beaten incredible odds by managing to get between Mick and me at 70 MPH and insert himself into the tiny gap at the top of his shorts, and was apparently then disappointed to find that frolicking in the crack of Mick's butt was not all he had hoped it would be. But the wasp was soon freed, and we were back on our way home.
The lesson: When embarking on a motorcycle trip cross-country, take into consideration the general well-being of your butt. I'm no biker chick, so I still don't know how to properly advise you in avoiding bike-induced butt rashes, but there's got to be a way. Bring along a pillow, maybe--liberally slather your posterior with lotion, perhaps--or at the very least, understand the wisdom of letting irritated skin heal before cooking it in the sun for several days.
Labels: Lessons I've Learned