Okay first of all there was an earthquake here this morning apparently. I didn’t notice, and I was already up and hanging out with the dog at the time. Mustn’t have been very big.
I was staring out the window of the tattoo shop, my guts twisting with anxiety. Where were they? I was 99 percent sure Ryan had said on the phone that after they dropped the dog off at Shawna’s house they would be coming to pick me up at work, and not just meeting me at the ferry like we had previously agreed on.
But as the clock kept ticking, less than half an hour away from the time the ship was going to leave the dock, I was less and less sure that’s how the conversation went. I was torn between guilt and anger. Was I holding them up? Were they waiting for me at the ferry terminal? Or were they having a cup of tea with Shawna, fooling around and causing me anxiety for nothing?
Adrenaline rushed through my body every time I glanced at the clock on the wall. I was trying to hold up a conversation with my boss about how another guy from the shop’s girlfriend was in the bank when it got robbed earlier that day, but my eyes kept darting between the front window where I expected to see them pull up, and the clock that was ticking closer and closer to our deadline. Clock, window, clock window, clockwindowclockwindow, courtesy glance at the boss, clock window clock. Seriously. We were going to miss the damn ferry completely if they didn’t show up in the next five minutes.
After customs, after finding a seat in the very full ferry and setting sail, we were finally on vacation. On our way to Seattle. The boat was going fast and we were trying to relax.
“Sometimes I get sick on boats.” Said the eight year old. I passed him a barf bag from under my seat, which we later played a thousand games of hangman on.
We settled in. The kids played movies on their iPods, Ryan closed his eyes and maybe fell asleep, and I sat stick straight, still keyed up from being late. I’m the type of person who shows up at the airport hours early, even on domestic flights just in case, and was still having heart attacks about it half an hour later.
Suddenly, the boat did something akin to slamming on the brakes in a car. We slowed down fast, and turned. There was an announcement telling us that the crew had spotted a tiny boat floating out to sea. There were two young guys aboard, and they had no lights, no radio and their motor had died.We had to stop and wait for the coast guard to arrive to rescue them, because it was getting dark fast and there were ginormous waves, as we were in open seas. If we didn’t help them they could have died.
Have you ever been on choppy seas in a stopped boat? I only have one other time in my life and although it was much wavier than this time, there was a lot less vomiting going on. I’d say every tenth person was throwing up after a few minutes of insane rocking. And they were crying out every time the rocking got worse. Coffee cups and food trays were sliding back and forth across the floor. We weren’t allowed to get up, so the staff was busy collecting and carrying barf bags to some biohazard garbage pail somewhere out of sight. I felt bad for the crew, they were doing their best but you could see in their faces that they were bummed about having to work that night. At one point one of the women working behind the counter shouted out “We all wish we could get going but we can’t , so stay in your seats. We’re doing our best.” And really, we were saving two boys’ lives. How could people complain?
Forty five minutes after we stopped we finally saw lights on the horizon. It was the coast guard. And soon after that we were underway once again. One thing I learned after that experience was that it takes the coast guard a really damn long time to rescue people…seriously.
It was just past nine at night when we finally arrived in Seattle. Ryan’s kids were so excited that the weird kid phenomenon occurred; they turned their brains and muscle coordination volumes down and their running around and fighting levels up. We only had a few blocks to walk to the hostel, but as it was night time in a strange city, it felt like further away.
The younger of the kids tripped, or maybe the older one pushed him “accidentally”. Either way, he fell onto the sidewalk with a little shout. At that exact same moment, as he was falling, I happened to look across the street and notice four guys in a well-lit back alley. Three of them were standing back, and the fourth had his hand up, holding a can of spray paint up to a wall. He froze when the kid fell, and they all turned and looked at us. It felt like everything went silent for a second.
Ryan bent to help the kid up and I whispered that we should hurry up. “I know”, he said. “I saw.”
“This is it.” I said, and we all walked up the steps to the hostel. Ryan grabbed the door handle and pulled.
Kachunk. The door was locked.
There were two men in the lobby; one sitting behind the front desk looking fabulous and one standing near the front doors wearing jeans and a grey hoodie. The latter jogged over and let us in.
“You made it!” He exclaimed.
“Yeah man.” Ryan answered. I felt like they knew each other somehow. I later found out Ryan had called earlier in the day to let him know we wouldn’t be showing up until later in the evening. They checked us in and we found our room.
The unique thing about City Hostel is the art. The owner(s?) hired a ton of different artists to come in and paint. Every room was done by an artist who was given free reign. Here is the room we walked into: