California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Trash Talkin’ Tina

Tina and I had been together for a few weeks, and had planned a weekend camping trip to the mountains. We packed and headed off. By noon on the first day, we were up in the mountains, miles away from anyone, anything, and decent cell phone service.

We had been having a nice time, and then it was time for lunch. At a site, we opened our packs and pulled out food, including a couple of cans of vegetables.

“You have the can opener?” Tina asked me.

I had said that I’d bring it, and I thought that I had. However, upon searching through my packs, I found that I didn’t.

“I’m getting hungry, here,” Tina said, becoming agitated. I was also hungry, and I searched high and low for the can opener that simply wasn’t there.

“I can’t find it,” I admitted, “But I can probably use my knife to pry the lids open.”

“You forgot a can opener?” she asked.

“Yes, but I can use my–”

“Holy fuck. You forgot a can opener? Are you fucking retarded? I’m starving!”

I repeated, “I think I can do it with my knife.” She picked up her pack, shouldered it, and stormed away. “Where are you going?” I called after her. She yelled back, “To find a man who has a can opener!”

I yelled back, “I can open them with my knife!” She kept going, and I wasn’t about to chase her. Less than five minutes later, I had two cans open, thanks to my knife. I ate my lunch and decided to wait for her to return.

One hour turned into two, and two turned into three. It was mid-afternoon, and I was worried. I called for her over and over, but there was no response. The only thing I could think of was that she had circled back to the van.

I returned to it and found her sitting, leaning against it. When she saw me, she sprang up at once. I said, “I had the cans opened in minutes. Want some?”

She replied, “Why did it take you so long to come looking for me?”

I said, “Why should I have had to look for you in the first place? You stomped off on your own. Now, do you want something to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“You said you were starving before.”

She said, “I want to go home.”

It wasn’t a big deal. I could always return to hike on my own or with another friend. My main goal was to slide this whiny psycho out of my life as quickly as possible.

I shrugged, said, “Okay,” and opened the van. I put my bag inside and reached for hers.

“No,” she said, “I’m not riding with you. You’ve treated me like shit all day. I’m walking.”

She turned and started on her long journey. “It’s a 20-mile walk to anywhere,” I called after her, “Let me drive you.”

She said, “I’d rather die out here,” and kept going.

I wasn’t about to play games. I had given her plenty of chances to be nice. I jumped into my van and drove away.

Three hours later, I was almost back home when I received a text from her: “Some fucking strangers had to drive me to the closest gas station. You come and pick me up right the fuck now.”

I wonder how she ever made it home.

 

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Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

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