Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Arrival!, or…The Epic Tale of the Table

The drive from Glacier National Park was scenic up through Idaho, but to my surprise (albeit, not without warning from those who’ve traversed these roads before), eastern Washington state is fairly dull. The biggest excitements along the way were: (1) a stretch of I-90 along which all crops being grown are clearly labeled on big banners on the fences along the highway (“potatoes”, “corn”, “alfalfa”, and so forth), (2) making pleasant small talk with a motorcyclist at a gas station, who was pumping gas on the other side of my pump, took one glance at my car, and laughed, “Wow, you hauling the whole household with you there?”, and (3) stopping at a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere to put a little juice in my phone and check my email, only to discover that Starbuck’s charges for their wi-fi (how is that possible, in a world where the going rate for wireless internet is FREE?). Fortunately, the taco place next door had wireless I was able to pick up.

About an hour outside of Seattle, I-90 veers into Snohomish County, and the road quickly starts winding into small mountains again. The sun was just going down as I got there, so the drive, naturally, was stunning. I crossed the bridge over Lake Washington and was greeted by a horizon of all the glittering lights of Seattle. It made me want to cry, it was so pretty – and so momentous! I am here!, I cried. 2300 miles later, I have arrived!

MapQuest did a stellar job carrying me all the way from Ohio, to Kansas City, through Nebraska and Wyoming, to Glacier, out of Glacier, and all the way to Seattle…and then, finally, for the first time in the history of Yitka Using MapQuest, my beloved online tool failed me: my exit was closed. And it was 10 p.m. and dark, and suddenly there I was in the middle of downtown Seattle, huge buildings and unfamiliar streets all around me…but something deep and intuitive triggered inside of me, as I told myself to stay calm and do my best to “feel out” my way to a place I’d never in my life driven before.

Miraculously, I found my destination without a single wrong turn. Seyeon was waiting for me on her front step, hungry after a long day at work, and so after an enthusiastic reconciliation, we went for a long walk to find late-night pizza. On our walk back, it became blindingly obvious to me that I am, in fact, the child of my mother. (Hi Mama!) Allow me to explain.

There, on the side of a curb, was something glorious: A beautiful kitchen table, in perfect condition, with a giant sign taped to it that said, “FREE.” Yesss, I thought, I must have this. (Because “hey, free table!” …kudos to anybody who gets that reference.) It didn’t matter that we were 12 blocks away from home, or that it was nearly midnight, or that the table was ridiculously heavy and required Seyeon and I to stop at fifty-yard intervals to rest our arms. What mattered was that having a silly adventure that resulted in free fort-making potential was worth it, and earned the cheers of various people drinking beer on their porches, watching two girls march through the streets of Seattle at night with their newfound treasure.

Yup. I think I like this place. More soon…

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