My First Military Experience

Chris Valenti and I (as They Dysfunctional Romantics) did our first military base gigs this past weekend. Nothing dangerous or life threatening… We did the Presidio in Monterey, CA and Fort Hunter Liggett near Jolon, CA.

Everyone was nice enough to not look too strangely at the long haired kid walking around base. But nobody saluted me, that’s for sure.

The show at the Presidio was great. A stage right on the beach framed by palm trees. Military guys relaxing and military girls in bikinis that could break your heart (and neck). We MC’d the event and did a 30 minute set of our own to close it. Besides a few sound problems, everything was smooth.

Then the fun began.

The Presidio folks were putting us up at the hotel on the Naval Postgraduate school post. And you have to have a military sponsor to stay there. So our contact for the event, Greg, asked one of the girls on his staff to take us over and help us get checked in. It’ll only take a few minutes he tells her. And so our guide, Christina, takes us over to the base hotel.

The guard at the gate asks for the registration and proof on insurance on my and Chris’s cars. And of course we have those things… just not with us. My new insurance slip was sitting on my desk at home. And Chris’s new registration was on his desk in LA. So we couldn’t get the cars on post. Had to park them just outside on the street. No biggie. We could walk on and off base as needed. We planned on going out for the evening.

So then, during the very slow hotel checkin, we go to know Christina a little bit. Very nice girl. 21 year old private who’s not fond of authority. We’re getting along just fine. 🙂

Finally we’re checked in to this beautiful 3 bedroom condo. A room each for me and Chris and someone else in the 3rd room we never even met. Once settled, Christina bid us adieu to get back to her studies.

A few minutes later, a phone call. Apparently Chris and I weren’t put on the access list for the base. It needed to be done 2 days before. And our booking contact Greg’s cell phone has died and we can’t get ahold of him. Christina is told that she’s not allowed to leave our side while we’re on the base. At all. Until we leave the next morning.

So this poor girl is all the sudden permanently attached to two guys she just met and can’t leave. It’s the perfect plot for a low budget porn flick, we all realize.

So we sat and chatted in the condo for a bit. Still unable to get Greg on the phone. Chris and I had planned to go do a guest set at Planet, a club there in town. Christina said she could drop us off and pick us up after to get back on the base.

We said that was foolish and she should just come out with us for the evening. Fortunately she didn’t already have other plans that we were ruining. So we all jumped in the military van and headed back to her quarters at the Presidio. She freshened up and grabbed some over night stuff. It appeared she would have to stay at our place due to military regulations.

Then off to the club. They only had room for one guest set, so Chris was generous enough to let me do it. We got some food and bought Christina dinner. Stayed for about half the show before the day’s exhaustion started to hit. So we headed back to the condo. Chris and I both insisted on giving up a bed so she didn’t have to stay on the couch. But she said the couch was already more comfortable than her regular military bed.

And then….. we all went to sleep. Hah! No low budget porn here folks. Chris and I are nice guys.

We took Christina to breakfast the next morning at the Old Monterey Cafe. My and Agnes’s favorite breakfast spot in Monterey. Finally Greg sends Christina a text saying “How’d the drop off go?” We all laugh heartily at his ignorance. 😉 She writes back simply, “Great. We’re having breakfast.”

She’s nothing if not playful, that girl. 🙂

Afterward, we part. Gave Christina some CDs and stuff for putting up with us all night. She said she was pleased that we weren’t creepy. 🙂

Off to Hunter Liggett. In the middle of the desert. 105 degrees. Fortunately the show is inside an air conditioned theater instead of on the baseball field, as was originally planned. We somehow both managed to get on base without the proper auto docs. Good thing. We’d have had to walk about 2 miles from the gate to the base otherwise.

Pretty smooth show. Chris MC’d and we headlined the show. We also ended up doing a fair bit of stage managing and sound as well, but all good. 🙂

And even some of our friends from Monterey drove down to see us at HL too. Greg and Christina included. And when we closed our set with “Booty Call” we gave out Christina’s phone number. 🙂 As if she hadn’t dealt with enough already. 🙂

No wacky stories for this one. But they did treat us to some free bowling in their bowling center and I beat Chris by one point.

The wild lives of comedians on the road. Yesiree….

Phil Johnson

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