Copious Amounts of Whiskey Can’t Stop A Mounting Storm in Tucson

Queerty contributor Tanner Efinger is blogging about his two-month U.S. road trip before skipping across the pond  to England with his partner, Nick. Follow their adventure from Los Angeles to Vancouver to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River.


To catch you up: We’re just a week away from a two-month USA road trip, before we skip across the pond to the United Kingdom.  This week we drove to Tucson to visit with Nick’s family before taking off for good.

The drive from Lancaster, California to Tucson, Arizona was dry desert and brittle wasteland shrubs surrounded by mountains of red rock. We passed a handful of dust devils creating vortexes of sand and dirt. When we finally saw Tucson on the horizon, it was a very different sight than the nine-hour drive of constant clear skies and beating sun. Tucson was covered in a dark cloud with bursts of lightning that forked across the skies. It was monsoon season and we were driving right into it.

Nick and I both had a lot on our minds: My visa, for our move to the UK, is still up in the air. Despite our domestic-partnership paperwork, we’re having problems convincing the British Consulate that we are indeed in a substantial relationship. While it doesn’t feel like discrimination, we wonder how things might be different if we were a straight couple with a marriage license.  Our plan was to visit with Nick’s parents in Tucson, store some things at his mom’s house, and then hurry back to Lancaster for a final week of California living. We still have to rent his house, pack, ship boxes, sell the remaining furniture (including a piano), survive a bon voyage party, and do a few dozen other things before the big move. Excited? Yes, of course. But also stressed, anxious, lacking in sleep, and a touch on edge.

Though we were under a massive thundercloud, it wasn’t even raining. There was just a dark nimbus hanging above the city and a ceaseless 114 degrees of stomach-turning humidity. Sleeping that night was difficult. In the moment between slumber and heat, I stared into the ceiling fan wishing I were in England already.

The next day came with a pulsing headache. The humidity still hung above us as we unloaded the car, ran some errands, and began drinking whiskey at noon. There was still no word about the visa, and the car had started giving us trouble, so I started getting moody. My headache worsened and the whiskey wasn’t helping.  The pounding, the heat, the stress…

And then in a dramatic movie moment, the skies broke open. We were in Applebee’s taking advantage of happy hour with Nick’s father when the monsoon season earned name. The natives seemed indifferent to the sheets of water pounding on the windows, the flickering lights and the radio going out. But I was transformed.  The temperature dropped 30 degrees and my headache vanished. The mounting stress that tangled in my guts released and I felt unbound. The rain lasted for about an hour—enough time for several fingers of Jack Daniels, as it turns out.

Then my phone beeped to tell me I had an e-mail. It was from the British Consulate. My visa was approved. It was a cleansing rain after all.


Image via deansouglass

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  • Um....

    I don’t mean to hate, but why do we care? This reads like someone’s personal blog, which MIGHT only be interesting to a friend or…aunt of the writer. Try making it interesting and relatable to a larger audience. Otherwise, it reads like a boring travel essay, possibly entitled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.

  • Mark

    @Um….: @Um….: No one is forcing you to read it. Others may find it interesting.

  • Thomas Maguire

    The Word partner is nauseating.

  • Brandon

    One of the best things Tucson has going for it is the beauty of it’s nature. Glad you were able to experience a small taste of it.

  • Joe

    @Thomas Maguire: Hey, sincerely- I’m curious what you like better, I go back and forth on this. I am in a long term committed relationship but even if it were legal we wouldn’t be married right now. Boyfriend sounds dumb, lover seems TMI, and husband defines us as more that we truly are. Partner while sterile doesn’t make me feel like I’m defining us as more or less than our relationship truly is. What are your thoughts?

  • Thomas Maguire

    @Joe: I just introduce my man by his name and let people assume what they will: “This is Eli.”

  • declanto

    No ambiguities, please, this is my husband.

  • Mav

    @Joe: How about, “my better half”?

  • Joe

    @Thomas Maguire: I do that too, but sometimes I get the youthful kick to stand in the spotlight and say “We’re in a relationship and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that- Do You?” Only shorten it to, This is my partner or boyfriend or whatever.

    @Mav: Fair enough, but i’m clearly the better half and worse half just seems harsh ;D

Comments are closed.