proud (part five, the finale)

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can you spot the rainbow?

Ok, I’ve got the day off, the carpet cleaner is downstairs, I’m sequestered in my bedroom with my kale smoothie so it’s time to wrap this baby up.

I think maybe I’ve been stalling writing this last installment of my Seattle trip because I really don’t want to finish it.  I’m still basking in the glow of all that unfolded and burst forth on that magical mystery tour so I want to keep my buzz alive.  That’s always the challenge isn’t it?  After peak experiences?

We left off with my last night in Edmonds, wandering the downtown streets, alone being chased by demons (in my head) and surviving the trip back to the Best Western. That’s right.

I was so wired on adrenaline and fueled with the thought I really could sleep in, enhanced by the free HBO in the hotel, I ended up staying up until about 2am before falling in to a deep stretched out sleep in that comfy King sized bed.

The next morning I had one thought on my mind.  Well, two.  Checking out of there by 11 and taking my car on the ferry across the Sound.  I kept going back and forth on the ferry business.  Why was it so important to take my car?  I could just walk on and basically get the same experience but a little less complicated.  But I just couldn’t shake the notion of driving that red Chevy Cruze on the ferry so I landed on “you’re going to drive your car on the ferry just because you want to do it”.  Simple as that.  That’s kind of how I rolled through the whole trip so why stop now?

I repacked my suitcase and carry on, loaded it up in the car and drove over to the ferry station which was basically a ghost town.  The next ride out was about 45 minutes away.

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I really couldn’t figure out the system over there with all of these lanes but blocked off with cones.  No one was in the little station (lunch hour) so I roamed around, both the “drive your car on the ferry” area and the walk-on area.

It’s all so neat, clean, friendly there.  Inside, where the pedestrians go, I saw a sign that said “Remember!  This is your last chance for:  newspapers, restrooms, water, snacks”.   Something like that right at the entry to the long jetwayish thing that takes you down to the ferry dock.

I bookmarked that thinking “oh they must not have plumbing on the ferry, no restrooms or water”.  More on that later.

It was a drizzly, perfect day with bouts of sun peeking out from time to time but I was enjoying the cloudiness and the soft rain on my face.  Someone told me real Washingtonians don’t really do umbrellas so I was joining in, glad that I had a hood on my cute new tie dyed turquoise yoga sweatshirt. 🙂

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I just walked around, sat on a bench overlooking the sound then lo and behold there was the ferry arriving.

Now I’d read that cars line up 20 min. prior to departure but there wasn’t a car in sight.  It was odd.  So I watched the parade of what seemed like 100 cars and trucks exit the ferry.  It was never ending!  Then once it was finished I drove down to inquire.  The only vehicle in the loading area was a handicapped van.  A very nice, very cute young man came over to my car and I opened my window smiling and said “clearly I have no idea what I’m doing here”.

He cheerfully replied “that’s ok Hun, the cars line up on the street back there” and  pointed way past where I’d been waiting in the parking lot.  He gave me exact directions how to get over there peppering it with a few more “huns” and “dolls” which I absolutely love, and off I went.  You pay the toll there and get in line.  There were already probably 75 cars lined up and here I was, there so early like a dope waiting over in the totally wrong place.  Now I was kind of in the back.  Which was all ok because really, what hurry was I in?  None.

I was just in this thing for the pure experience.  Isn’t that fun to do sometimes?  Just do something because it sounds cool with absolutely no need to do it?

I have to say I felt like a kid in line for a Disneyland ride waiting to board that ferry.

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We were led on line by line in a very orderly fashion.  I passed my little ferry boyfriend as I boarded, opened my window and shouted “hey, thanks for the help!” and he yipped back “no worries doll, have fun!”.  I had a huge smile on my face.

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What was funny though and makes me laugh right now, is that I had an almost identical reaction boarding the ferry as I did the Grande Dame.  “OMG I have no water!  I should have purchased water!  And now of course I have to pee!”.  Neurosis meets the physiologic effects of mild anxiety.  😉

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I kind of followed the leader, parked my car, got out and followed the signs upstairs.  Imagine my surprise when I saw signs for both “restrooms” and “cafeteria”.  haha!  Joke’s on me and my neurosis!

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They even have a full freaking BAR on that huge ferry!  It was like a cruise ship!

I wandered all over that Love Boat until I found the upstairs outside deck where I parked myself.

I have to say I was in absolute heaven on that ferry.  I can’t explain it.  I felt so much joy and a sense of belonging on that ferry.  I loved having my car on there, I loved roaming around, people watching, scenery watching.  I could go back and forth all day.  I just loved it!

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people even brought their dogs on

I was so happy!

While I was there I did have a small aha moment.  I instantly started writing a story in my head about a relationship that runs it’s entire life cycle on a ferry, back and forth over a number of years.  I thought to myself that I really needed to experience all the stages of driving on the ferry to know the details of it so I could write about it some day.  Now shhhhh, let’s hope no one else steals my inspiration.  😉

A lady announced over the loud speaker around the 25 min. mark that we’d be docking soon and for drivers to return to their cars which I did.  I don’t know why it’s so cool but it is.  Just lining up there waiting to drive your car OFF A BOAT.

Once I landed over in Kingston I thought “ok, what now?”.  I figured I had my car for a reason so I should drive it!

As I’d lingered kind of longer than I’d planned in my room that morning, my time was a little limited.  I figured I had two hours to play over there before I needed to head back.  My plane was leaving that night at 7:15 and I had to allow travel time.

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I just started driving.  What beautiful territory it is over there.  I think quite of bit of it is Indian land.  Some signs for casinos and long unpronouncable names.  I loved it.  It was drizzling, I had classical music on in the car and I was just aimlessly cruising in my Cruze.

After a bit I decided to turn around and head back to the charming little Port town of Kingston.  I’d done some reading about “don’t miss” places so just wanted to check it out.

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First I stopped for lunch at a restaurant I’d read about called the Oak Table.  How cozy with it’s fireplace on that cool drizzly day!  I had, what I would describe as, the perfect waitress.  I enjoyed a little mimosa action, a delicious breakfast and the view of a large dog just lazy on a front porch, dry, on that rainy day.  I was in total communion with that doggie, can you see him?

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After breakfast, brunch really, I roamed over to downtown Kingston.

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What a tiny beautiful homey little street that area is.  I parked my car and wandered in the drizzle popping in and out of places to just see what they were including this amazing looking tiny crepe place that makes a gazillion flavors and styles of crepes.

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I landed in this small bakery with a gorgeous front porch in an old restored home, got a coffee and a wheat free cookie and just sat enjoying the view.  Including watching the ferry before mine load and take off.  I think I’m a bit obsessed with ferries now.

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They were playing jazz, it smelled of baking cookies, I had a good cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop smiling I was in such a state of bliss over there!

I kept reflecting on just how perfect this trip had been, how I’d been absolutely bombarded with experiences including this one, how lucky I feel.

That I had set that intention to keep all my senses open and I accomplished it and I think because of that intention, I had so many more experiences than I would have otherwise.  People like to interact with a person who is open and I was wide eyed and smiling the entire time, even when my stomach felt like a hot poker was piercing it.

When it was time, I zipped back to my car and got in line again for the ferry.  I kept watching the culture of people who do this regularly.  They park their cars and get out and mingle while they wait.  It’s kind of a mini tailgate in a way.  I continued writing my little story in my head, taking it all in.

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This time, as I boarded, I was directed to the left instead of the right as I was on the way over.   I pulled my car on, excited again for my ride,  looked up and saw it.

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Shining, glimmering, just for me I thought.  I was sitting in a pot of gold right there in that Chevy bucket seat.

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The ride back was cooler and drizzlier but that didn’t stop me from heading up to the upper deck again.  I sat in the protected seats and took everything in.  I even saw this one seagull who was just coasting with the breeze in his wings, tracking right along us.

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I get it, I thought Mr. Seagull.  I totally get it.

I disembarked on the other side and immediately started my trek back to the airport.  I had about 3 1/2 hours but I didn’t know about traffic and wanted to be safe.  Plus I had to fill up my tank.  On this entire weekend I used just about 1/4 of a tank.  Wild!

That all went smoothly, I got back to Seatac, hungry.  I realized the one and only thing I’d wanted to do, but didn’t, was get some good clam chowder.  There was a recommended place in Edmonds called Ivar’s but there just wasn’t time.

So imagine my delight when I stepped out of security, put my Uggs back on, looked up and there he was:  Ivar!  Greeting me at the airport!

I got my bowl of clam chowder, went to the huge floor to ceiling windows facing the runway, sat in this giant wooden rocking chair and ate my chowder watching the sunset.  That’s pretty much the definition of happy as a clam!

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Now since my First Class upgrade was unavailable this time, I looked sometime the prior evening about switching seats.  I didn’t have a bad seat mind you but Alaska Air does something I think no airlines do anymore.  They reserve those front, roomier seats for a fee or the special passengers who have some kind of status with them, until that 24 hour period when it’s a free for all.  Anyone can move in to them, no fee.

When I saw 6C available, the aisle seat in the front row of coach, I snagged it.

I boarded the plane a little bit on the later side as I was milking my clam chowder 😉 so my row was filled.

A nice gentleman in the middle seat greeted me with a smile and said “what do they say?  A rose between two thorns?” to which I quickly replied “I think it’s a possum between two blossoms”.

He really laughed out loud and that’s when it began.

We started chatting immediately.  And we never stopped.  The entire flight, we never took a pause in chatting.

Right out of the gate he asked if I was going home or leaving home, a typical airplane question.  I replied that I was headed home but that Edmonds had really felt like home to me.  That I was there for a writing conference and was plotting a way to get back there for a month to work on writing a book.

His jaw just dropped and he said “what did you say?”.

I repeated myself to the same shocked face.

He shared with me that he was up in Edmonds himself that weekend, having a fireplace installed in his new condo, that he’d purchased to go up there and write his book.  And he lives in AZ too.

Wow.

That flight went so fast as we jumped from topic to topic.  He told me he describes Edmonds to his friends as “Cabot Cove” and I’m not kidding you, as I was walking around downtown that day I was picturing Angela Lansbury  on her little bicycle riding around there in my mind. And I never even watched that show!  And I’m pretty sure it’s set in the Northeast, not Northwest.  But I had that exact same thought.

As J (as I’ll call him), described the things he loves to do–wander around downtown, get a coffee, his favorite movie theatre in the world is there downtown, the ferry, etc. my jaw kept dropping as he was basically describing all the things I did on my trip.

It really was like a kindred spirit connection and we talked the entire flight about writing (neither of us are writers mind you, we live in totally different worlds but have a longing to write a book and are actively pursuing it, in the same town of all things), about philosophy, about our families, I don’t even remember.  That 3 hour flight went by in an instant.

Now don’t get all excited here.  He’s a married man and that’s not the nature of things between us, you know.  He also spoke very positively and respectfully of his wife.  Which always impresses me when a married man is connecting with an unmarried woman and he brings his wife in to the conversation.  That’s classy.

At one point he pulled out his card and said “now Kathy, I know your dreams now, I know that this place is calling you back and so I want to stay in touch and I’m going to be a person who holds you accountable to following this dream” or something to that effect.

This man is a very positive, uplifting person to be around.  I’m telling you, the Universe sent me experience after experience right up to, literally, the moment I got off that plane.

I sent an email to J a few days later and he has an office and condo in Phoenix (he doesn’t live here full time) and was headed back to Edmonds a few days later, just over a week after our meeting, and invited me to dinner the night before his flight.

Last Monday night I went and met him again for dinner and it was the same thing.  A long winding conversation covering so many things:  travel, writing of course, basically living your dreams.  The restaurant literally closed around us.

It’s always kinda tricky making this kind of connection when one is married and the other not and you’re both heterosexual, you know what I mean.  So that discussion was also had and laid to rest.

We will be friends. 

I had emailed him the two places in Edmonds I’d found to rent for a month and some of the plans I was thinking about.  As he is planning on being there for several weeks this trip, he offered to cruise by them for me to just check out the neighborhoods.  Nice!

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We talked about being there at the same time, writing during the day, then meeting up with samples in the evening over the sunset happy hour and kind of holding each other accountable.  In a way the blind leading the blind but also the dreamers lifting the dreamers.

Oh and he also has a friend there who’s in to writing as well.  Who, actually also attended the writing conference himself.

It was just overall a very simpatico situation and one that landed, nearly literally in my lap.

At one point J asked me “now how did you exactly get that seat 6C?  That’s always MY seat”.  I wondered why a business man who travels back and forth often on the same airline to this area was in a middle seat.  It was simply because when he checked in, hoping to get his automatic upgrade to First which also didn’t happen, his usual choice was already taken.

By me.  🙂

It was all just so, by design, for lack of a better word.  Had that middle seat been the one available, to me, I’d just have stayed with my window seat 3 rows back.  See what I mean?  There was just some divine choreography going on here for sure and we both could see it.

So, now I have a new friend and writing buddy which was the cherry on top of the whole cake.

He sent me a pic of the Amtrak ride on his way up there this week.  He was seeing cranes and seals!  He knows the area very very well and had so many cool tips for me once I get back. What a connection to have!

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So, that’s the, hate to say end, but pause to the story right now.

It truly was an experience of a lifetime.  I embraced every single moment and the Universe just kept giving back.

When I shared it all with my shrink this week, she said “I feel like I should be charging you for that story“.  That’s the thing about inspiring tales, they just are infectious.  Which is why I took so long to tell this one in segments.

I made a deal with myself to be open and I was.  It’s not always the easiest thing to do.  And I was beyond amply rewarded.

And for that, I’m smiling proud right now.

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5 thoughts on “proud (part five, the finale)

  1. Kiminnm

    Smiling here in NM, too! Loving hearing of your journey…never know what happiness the universe has planned! Continued blessings! Kiminnm

  2. lovelaw

    Outstanding!!

    There are (more) wonderful things in your future. I just know it. And, when you finally DO, (which you WILL) write that book, I will be waiting in line (excitedly, like you in line for the ferry) to get my copy!!

    🙂

  3. pilcherje

    Quoting the definition of “giddy”…make (someone) feel excited to the point of disorientation. “The giddying speed of the revolving doors.” They just keep opening…when we’re, open! I love this finale and the thought of the next beginning for you!

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