Sometimes you have to make a big push to start out your life. A big, scary, all by yourself push. I had just graduated college and I was in love with a sailor. A submarine officer that was never going to live in the middle of landlocked West Texas. We weren’t ready to marry, we were just ready to see if our relationship could survive for longer than an extended weekend. So I loaded up my Isuzu Hombre with all my stuff and I headed out to follow my man.
I pulled out of my mom’s driveway on a Thursday morning and it took us two days to get from Texas to San Diego. I had never driven more than 4 hours away from my family and this was bigger than any adventure I could have imagined on my own. I had a total of $2,000 to my name, no credit cards, and I had no plans to live with Blake. I had to find a job and an apartment in San Diego in less than a week.
But I was young so these worries didn’t stress me out in the least. I don’t think my truck engine had even cooled down from our drive before we were making plans to go to the ocean. Blake’s buddies had a sailboat and the San Diego sky was a blue as blue could be.
We get to the boat and the Navy guys are doing what Navy guys do to get a ship ready to sail: hoisting the Jolly Roger, swabbing the poop deck, and dancing the hempen jig. It’s comments like this that get me thrown of the ship and sent to get the grog. Basically a beer run.
The sailboat was stored at a dock with many other ships all shapes and sizes. Ours was on the smaller end and further down were the massive beasts of the ocean. Needless to say they have measures in place to protect the boat owners. I end up trapped at the gate to get off our dock because I can’t figure out how this round key fob opens the gate.
I’m fiddling with the gate and a homeless man approaches and says, “Hey man, that’s not how you do it. You do it like this.” Then he proceeds to help me out of the gate. I’m fresh out of Texas and my accent was a thick as my mom’s buttermilk pie and my manners were just as sweet. I proceed to thank the homeless man and I bend down to pet his two ancient poodles. They weren’t cute, poodles do not age well. They get that crusty tear stain around their eyes, they shake, their hair looks like a badly colored perm and usually their breath smells. I continue to chat the homeless man up when I see a hugely muscled man sprinting towards us. Sprinting and mad.
I can not fathom why this man would be mad so I leap to the conclusion that these men are gay lovers and he is jealous and sprinting towards me to claim his territory. No shit, this is what I thought. I’m in San Diego, my mom told me about this stuff, I’m going to play it cool. So I use all my southern charm to chat the mad muscle bound man up to let him know I’m not poaching in his territory. I even reference my Navy boyfriend who is now sprinting past us all to actually get the beer I was tasked to buy.
It’s not even 2 minutes into the conversation when the muscle bound behemoth relaxes. I’m under the impression that I’ve soothed his jealous soul. We had a lovely conversation about dogs, San Diego, my adventure from Texas, sailboats and I end up inviting both of them back to our boat to chill and have some beers. I do have to tell them they need to bring their own beer as I think the Navy guys might drink every drop of their own beer. This seemed to amuse them greatly.
The homeless man and his huge muscle behemoth of a companion are as nice and nice could be and they decline graciously. I continue on my way back to the sailboat and we prepare to set sail. We are chatting with Blake’s buddies and they mention that Carlos Santana has his massive ship docked at this marina. It’s docked here and he is here all the time. And guess what, there it is. There he is!!
My super sweet homeless man that I chatted with for at least 15 minutes was Carlos Santana. The huge muscle behemoth was his bodyguard.
*That year Carlos Santana released his album Supernatural. It went 15 times platinum in the US and won nine Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year as well as three Latin Grammy Awards including Record of the Year.