So I caved and got a rental car. It’s been too hard to get up early and catch a ride with Brooke (we have to leave at 6:20 am). Yesterday I rode with her to work and slept in the car until 10:30 am (that’s when she was leaving for downtown Seattle). I actually crawled into the back seat in my big coat and blanket, then went back to sleep. When I woke up, I thought I was camping. Very disorienting.
“You look homeless,” Brooke said when she got back to the car.
After walking around and seeing the sights in Seattle, I decided to rent a car. I knew I couldn't handle another early morning. Plus, I had signed up for a free travel writing class that night at the Rick Steve’s Travel Center in Edmonds. Public transportation wasn’t gonna work and taking a cab would be too expensive. So I hopped in my newly rented Toyota Corolla, and off I went!
Eight minutes later I got pulled over. I was already paranoid because of the one-way streets, and I was still getting comfortable in this new car. I thought I was turning onto 9th Ave but it turns out I was turning onto the 5 north via a secret carpool only lane. In L.A. there's always a regular lane next to the carpool lane. Not here. This was just a carpool entrance. And I was clearly alone in the car.
Two cops were waiting there, pulling over cars right and left. They were stopping each car to make sure it had more than one person in it. I was asked to pull to the side.
"Hi, officer. Is this--"
"License," he interrupts.
"Okay," I stammer. "I also have the rental papers. I just rented--"
I hand him my license, but we’re interrupted by a lady who’s been yelling at him the whole time. She’s in the car behind me. I couldn’t tell what she was yelling about and he had been ignoring her until she got out of her car.
"Ma'am, get back in your car."
She rants and rants and rants.
"MA’AM! Get back in your car!"
She comes closer, continuing to yell at him.
"MA’AM! YOU DO NOT WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO NOT GET BACK IN YOUR CAR!"
Damn it, lady! Get back in your car. You’re ruining it for the rest of us. Now the cop is angry. Sigh. This sucks. I can’t believe I’ve only had this car for a few minutes and I’m already getting pulled over. Please don’t give me a ticket. Please don’t give me a ticket. Please don’t give me a ticket. Dear Jesus, please don’t let him give me a ticket. You’re the best. Amen.
After an eternity, the cop comes back.
“Did you just move here?”
“No, I’m visiting a friend.”
“How long have you been here?”
“About a week.”
“Where does your friend live?”
“Snohomish. But she works down here.”
“Why did you turn here?”
“I…well…I rented a car. And I needed to find the 5 north. And the directions said to take 9th to Olive to the 5. I thought I was on 9th but I was still on Stewart. I thought I was turning on 9th, but then I wasn’t…”
Fighting back tears I finally blurt out, “I got lost. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
I wanted to add “in life.” Officer, I’m lost. Help me. I don’t know what I’m doing in life. I just quit my job and left my home in L.A. to travel around, but what do I do after that? Do I continue this nomadic lifestyle or do I try to pursue writing and what if that’s not what I really want to do and what if I hate my next job and what if I die alone?!!!
But before I could make a complete idiot of myself, he hands me back the license with a stern look.
“Consider this a warning.”
Yes! A warning! I love warnings. And just like that, life was good again.