“It was lit up like a PRIDE event yet it felt like Christmas”
Strolling through the rainbow lit town of Prescott, I wondered what local event had generated such community support.
I’d been so focused preparing for this trip that I had forgotten it was the month of December, it was officially Santa season. The downtown colored lights made two lesbians feel very welcomed, even the religious Santa was happy to see us. Santa’s wife Mrs. Clause, or perhaps Mrs. Cause, as her motives were faith-based, was very excited and willing to take our picture with her husband.
I really don’t remember the last time I had my photo taken with Santa. As a kid, I always felt rather silly having my photo taken with a fat bearded man who somehow became the face of Jesus’s birthday. Could Santa have been one of the wise men? The wise men traveled far and wide in order to bring gifts to Jesus, as did Santa with me as a child.
Easter was even more confusing for me. Imagine praying to a hanging dead man on your church wall, only to commemorate his death with a white rabbit delivering chocolate eggs. I vividly remember asking my catholic church Sunday school teacher if rabbits were present at Jesus’s crucifixion. Her answer was not helpful to a curious mind. Shaming instead of explaining seemed to be the conditioned authoritative response when it came to my endless questioning about the church. I would later learn from a fellow student that the rabbits and eggs were symbolic of “new life”. My uncle hunted rabbits on his farm, did this mean he was anti-Christ?
Mrs Clause made sure we did not leave Prescott empty-handed. With a religious brochure titled “The Real Santa” in one hand and a bag of gold coin chocolates in the other, Clarissa and I left the town square with a lasting impression of Prescott.
Prescott for me is a town with a strong sense of community. Residents seemed mindful of others and there was no sense of impatience or tension due to crowd gathering in the town square. After having spent the past nine months in a remote outpost town, Prescott was rather harmonious, my dream urban reintegration experience.
As we headed out to Seligman, I felt grateful that Clarissa’s flight had been redirected to Prescott. The few hours we spent wandering around town made me feel less awkward. I was still recovering from the reality that I was incapable of greeting her with eye contact at the airport. Even more embarrassing, she noticed and mirrored it back to me.
Imagine driving and internally celebrating the fact you can now look at the perfect stranger for a few sacred seconds?
Would you feel exposed and somewhat naked knowing your co-pilot is a body language expert?
For the next eight days, your middle name is “Busted”, and you simply don’t care.
Every head bow, smirk, smile, and body position will be noted and cataloged for future reference in the vault, more commonly known as the perfect stranger’s brain.
As we pulled into Stagecoach Hotel 66, I realized we spent the entire drive bonding through music. I have always felt one should play to their strengths when feeling vulnerable. My strength has always been music. Sometimes one can find comfort rapping and entertaining your co-pilot to House Of Pain’s, “Jump Around”. So here’s to two women, car karaoke, and the feeling of being naked while fully clothed.
Hotel check-ins and registrations are either very formal or rather funny. Forced formalities in chain motels feel very fake to me hence why I appreciate the personality and down to earthness of family owned lodges. On this rainy registration night, our experience was funny, informal, and rather entertaining. Imagine two giggling women doing Belinda Carlisle impressions as the poor male attendant tried to process our check in.
There was instant laughter from the peanut gallery when the attendant asked if we wanted to upgrade to a themed room. Prior to our arrival Clarissa and I had both insisted upon pre-booking a non-themed, non-smoking room, that offered two beds. The Stagecoach 66 website had given us the impression that themed rooms housed only one bed. Did the attendant pick up on our chemistry or was he just hopeful that perhaps he was checking in two playful lesbians? In honor of Heath and Jake, we upgraded to the “Brokeback Suite” as it accommodated us with two beds.
For the next three hours, we went through the Perfect Strangers gear and prepared her pack.
Since the early planning of this trip, Clarissa had referred to me as her Sherpa, primarily because I had given her clothing and gear requirements. The word proud comes to mind when Clarissa unzipped her pack and revealed all her new adventure wear.
The Perfect Stranger had made sure she obtained everything on the list. From this day forth Clarissa would be a poster child for Columbia’s Omni-Heat line, not to mention we were now both Keen hiking boot twins.
As the rain continued to pour outside, I reminded us both we could be looking at a snowy drive in the morning. We were both excited about possible snow, yet both knew the weather could be a game changer.