Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hike and Brew

A couple years ago I went on a hike with Sergio. The time was Saturday morning and the place was Mt. Baden Powell. Sergio advised that we pack 30lb backpacks full of a bunch of just-in-case shit. It was a survivalist pack, and due to all the traffic on that trail, it made no sense at all. Well, to the logical person it made no sense, but to Sergio, it made all the sense in the world.

Because of that damn backpack and my general out-of-shapeness, I pretty much inched my way up that trail. It was painful for me. With every step, I wanted to just say fuck it and turn around, but Sergio wouldn’t let me. He kept on pushing me. He kept letting me know that I would regret it if I did. I also knew that he wouldn’t let me forget it if I did. I wasn’t going to let Sergio have that over me, nor was he.

It was brutal, but I finally made it to the mountaintop, but I could not have done it without Sergio. It was yet another time he had my back. We chilled out for about a half hour up there. It was beautiful.

Sergio led the way back down, and we obviously did that a lot faster. Along the way down he was about 10 yards ahead of me when a young woman with headphones jogged passed me. When she got to Sergio she couldn’t quite get around him because he wasn’t getting out of the way. I guessed that he didn’t realize that she was right behind him, but I decided not to call out to him to move over.

After about a minute or two he finally looked over his shoulder and looked a bit startled. He promptly moved out of the way, and then looked at me and said, “I thought that was you behind me. Why didn’t you say anything?” Then he glanced back the other way towards the jogging woman fading into the distance. He turned back towards me, smiled and said “Ah, I know why. I would’ve done the same thing.” I smiled back and we both started busting up at our perverted selves.

One of my fondest memories of Sergio was when we were brewing beer in his garage at his Chino Hills condo. All the garages in that complex faced each other and we had the garage door open to keep the air circulating and the place cool. Well, at one point a car pulled into a garage across the way and out came a mom, her two children (boy and girl) and what looked to be a grandma. As they exited the car and garage the little boy stood fixated on Sergio and me. We just stirred the batch and smiled. Then the grandma came up behind the boy, hurried him along and scowled at us as if we were manufacturing meth. We just scowled back at her.

When they were gone, Sergio and I just started laughing, all the while listening to his beloved Sublime. We listened so much Sublime that day that I finally had to put a stop to it. I asked him if I could just put on the radio and he let me, so I started thumbing through the channels and found a mariachi station and left it there. I felt that the music had the perfect beat for stirring the brew.

After about a half hour of mariachi, Sergio had enough. He protested against the music the only way Sergio knew how. He went off on me. He said, “Enough of this shit! People are walking by the garage, hearing the music and looking in here. Do you know what they are thinking?” Before I could answer his question he blurted, “They’re thinking ‘that poor white guy. That Mexican is making him listen to that mariachi music.’ But no! It’s the other way around! That damn white guy is making the Mexican listen to the mariachi music!”

“Did you want to put up a sign explaining that?” I asked.

“Shut the fuck up!” he responded and promptly put Sublime back on. We then started busting up again.

I’m still having trouble making sense of Sergio not being here. He was too young and we had more adventures to go on. Part of me is pissed off at him for that. Why did he have to be so damn selfish? The other part of me his happy that he is out of any of that pain that was torturing him so much. Maybe I am the one who is being selfish by wanting him to endure that pain just to appease me. Either way, I will totally miss him.

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