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Chapter 5. Moving to Tijuana: First Apartment and First TJ Girlfriend.
My editor has me working on a story about the morgue of Tijuana. I would have never imagined I would be doing that years after arriving here. Obsessed with the city and constantly writing about it. And making some money doing it. No. I hated it. That’s how it all started.
After quitting my job in Los Angeles as a paparazzo. Yes… That’s another book that was never a book, but more of a blog that evolved into a daily word vomit. I wrote shit exactly like this. But a lot of it. That’s my page. Matingas.com. Follow the link to the word vomit. 460+ posts about my life and 100+ about encounters with celebrities.
I quit my job as a paparazzo. I was tired of it and I got demoted from staff at LAX to freelance on the streets (more money possibilities, but harder work). I didn’t want to work doing that anymore, but I didn’t know anything better. I started when I was 21. It was my first job and I was making way too much money for being so young and not really understanding money.
I quit when I was 25 after going on a long-ass road trip through the US. When I got back to Los Angeles I realized I didn’t want to live there anymore. I didn’t want to continue as a paparazzo.
So I moved out. Except I had no idea where I should move out too.
I ended up in northern San Diego in a shithole called Rancho Peñasquitos. My brother was getting married in Tijuana, so why not be close to the family in San Diego.
I was going to grow marijuana legally, sell to dispensaries, go back to music school, be a guitarist. What I always wanted to do.
It didn’t go as planned.
I lasted less than 6-months in the house with horrible roommates.
To escape the roommates, I would often go to Tijuana.
Downtown Tijuana was as close as downtown San Diego.
It was an easy choice.
And thus my party days in Tijuana started to become more frequent.
And my first apartment.
Two out of the four roommates in San Diego decided that they were going to move out. One of the roommates was the guy on the lease. They told us we can stay behind and get other roommates and talk to the landlord.
The house was a disaster. The water bill wasn’t paid and was large. I signed a contract with AT&T because fucking roommates forced me to do so. They never paid me. And they decided to move out.
I was left behind with another roommate. The roommate that I thought I wasn’t going to get along ended up being the coolest of them all.
They abandoned the house. We interviewed other potential roommates but decided to abandon the house as well. We cleaned the fuck out of the house and took everything that was abandoned to the dump.
I interrupted my marijuana growth tent in the middle of a cycle and sold all the lights and plants for cheap.
I packed my car.
Moved to Tijuana.
It took two trips to fill my 2006 grey Mazda 6, named Eddie, with all my shit and moved to Tijuana.
Surfboard, mattress, longboard, three guitars, 42” inch TV, 27” iMac, shitty IKEA desk, all my clothes, the paparazzi magazines, and lots of other bullshit that I carry when I move.
My first apartment was in la Colonia Cacho. My brother hooked me up with a friend of his that his mother owned the building.
The apartment was a one-bedroom for $350.
I was paying $560 for one room in San Diego.
This was way better.
And I still had some savings.
I never wanted a job.
I had a few interviews in San Diego. They would give me the job and tell me to show up at a certain hour at someplace.
I wouldn’t show up.
This happened three times.
They were shitty jobs that I didn’t want to do.
It’s hard to do a shitty job when I used to run around taking pictures of celebrities and making money.
It’s hard to do a shitty job when I’ve been getting paid to write.
And I write this without knowing if I’m going to get paid.
Let’s hope I am.
And so I spent my first few months in Tijuana locked in my apartment, waiting for the internet to arrive, playing guitar. Scared of the city. Scared of where I was. Lonely.
I didn’t know anyone except my co-brother-in-law. And he was a punk rock student living not that close and with absolutely no money.
That’s how people live in Tijuana.
On the edge.
With no money.
Just enough for the next beer and hopefully the next taco.
That’s why I ended up doing.
I sold my car to pay for rent.
I sold my car to pay stupid shit I should have canceled. An expensive Verizon Wireless smartphone that didn’t even have a signal in Mexico. A Droid 2. The early generations of smartphones. I was still paying my student loans. And other shit that I should have not been paying while not producing any money…
My expenses were over $1,000 a month without generating any money and eating and drinking outside often. That’s all the money you need in TJ. $1,000 a month.
And I sold my car for $6,600.
Those were my first 6 months in Tijuana.
Nothing but spending the money I made from the car.
Coffee shops during the day. Going to punk shows or going to Chips Bar at night. Mostly depressed. Not knowing what I was going to do next. No job. No hopes. Just wanted to drink endlessly.
And then I met her.
At a punk show.
Punk shows kept me alive in Tijuana. The music scene was very unique. And because of my co-brother-in-law, I was friends with many of the bands with the likes of DFMK and San Pedro el Cortez. That’s not saying much. They are only famous here.
And it was a DMKF show when I met her.
My days were spent at Café Diógenes. Two recent philosophy grads had a bookstore/coffee shop that was a complete disaster. I worked there for free because they could not afford employees and they couldn’t afford to work in the shop.
I worked there for coffee and to have a place to hang out.
I didn’t know anyone.
I didn’t meet her there. But we did meet there. She was in college and enjoyed the philosophical grungy feel of the cafe. Everyone did. And no one paid for coffee.
Yep. That coffee shop didn’t last long.
But it was at the punk show when she landed on my arms. And stared into my eyes.
I’ve never been very good with women. They usually come to me than me to them.
She landed on my arms.
Nothing came off that night. My drummer friend told me that she liked me after. And we added each other on Facebook.
I don’t remember our first kiss. It had to be at another punk show where we got too drunk and things happen.
I don’t remember much of the relationship except it was turbulent and everyone hated us together. We did nothing but fight. Get drunk. Have wild sex. And fight some more.
We were problematic together.
I was without direction and turning into an alcoholic.
She was a depressed mess.
Once she came to the front of my apartment completely wasted, with her skirt torn and black makeup running down her cheeks. I let her in. She walked into the bedroom and passed the fuck out without saying much.
I told her she couldn’t do that anymore. Not with me. Not like this.
It happened several more times.
The worst was when she got a bottle of liquid Clonazepam (Rivotril). She brought it to my apartment excitedly and I kept an open mind. We took some together. Had some drinks. Did stupid shit. Really stupid shit.
I remember her skating in the apartment naked. I remember almost burning the kitchen. I remember we drank more than we should have. And I remember she went crazy and said she wanted to kill herself.
She wanted to drink the whole bottle of Clonazepam.
I took it from her and hid in my closet.
We fought some more.
Then had violent sex.
And I fell asleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night still drowsy to go take a piss. I found her next to the toilet with a bloody lip and bloodstains on the edge of the toilet and on the floor.
I freaked out and carried her to bed. She was alive. She was breathing. But unconscious.
I found the bottle of Clonazepam empty in the same place I left it in the closet. I did a shit job at hiding it.
She tried to kill herself in my apartment.
I spent all night until the crack of dawn reading online on what to do. Dialed for an ambulance several times, but hung up before they could answer.
How am I going to explain that there’s an unconscious woman on my bed with a bloody lip on my bed?!
I messaged my doctor friend to call me. It was an emergency.
He called me 10 minutes after I sent him the message.
I explained the situation and he calmed me down. Everything was going to be fine. She was going to be okay.
Miss you Che. You helped me a lot that day. Miss you every fucking day. (My doctor friend is now gone).
That should have been the end of it… And I still saw her after that…
Our final encounter was a dumb one. We were still dating despite it all. Everyone hated us together. The relationship was beyond toxic. Everything turned into a fight.
The final fight was over a game of chess in which she won. I told her I thought I was going to win because I had the advantage (I had captured more pieces than she had). It was a genius checkmate and I praised her for that. But she wouldn’t budge in why I thought I had the advantage. I tried to reason with basic math. But she wouldn’t reason with me.
Or so it felt like that.
It escalated so quickly so dumb.
I kicked her out of my apartment after the stupid fight.
We never talked again.
I’ve seen her multiple times since. I still see her in the street every once in a while.
We ignore each other.
We have never talked again. I’m sorry for all that happened. I never wanted it to end like it did. It was bad for both of us.
But it’s for the best to pretend that we don’t exist.
And I can’t stop pretending that my job doesn’t exist. I told my editor I’ll have the next story ready by the end of the week. I already nailed an interview and translated it. I just need to do the legwork.
I don’t want too.
I want to keep writing stupid shit that happened in my past.
And much more happened in the past.
But I need to go back to the morgue and analyze the details. Write the story. Get to work.
If you enjoyed this, please support me at: https://www.patreon.com/Matingas