“I guess I’m alive.”
I had found myself out on an adventure in my own city. Through couchsurfing.org, I had connected with a new friend, Craig, who was also a musician. After deciding that he was going to leave San Diego for good, he had come to Seattle to see what the music scene was like. Craig had been pushing himself so far outside of his comfort zone that he had been meeting strangers that had turned into friends or even places to stay for the evening. Barring that, he would even opt to sleep in his Jeep.
“If that’s the worst case scenario, it’s actually not that bad,” he told me after he described waking up in his Jeep to see a Seattle sunrise over the water.
So that was the preface to me standing behind the trunk of a car with him and two new friends after an open mic in Capital Hill. The rain was still spitting down and I was wearing my jacket with the giant hood. Craig mentioned that no matter how ridiculous we may think we look in a giant hood, it always ends up looking really cool. I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to say I looked ridiculous and maybe a little cool at the same time.
One of the guys opened the trunk and offered me a Rainier beer. I declined, only because I knew what my stomach might do with the gluten. Otherwise, I was still up for the adventure…
“It’s an eighteen pack for $11!” he exclaimed. “You can’t beat that.” He handed another round to the two other men standing by the car trunk and said, “For the kids.”
He explained that he had an uncle that would think he could get away with doing anything if he said it was for the kids. From that point on we would just say “For the kids” at any interval and set ourselves into gales of laughter. I thought of Paul and the way he would do similar things.
Craig kept looking over at me as if to gauge how weird I thought things were getting. He said that when he travelled he did end up in some pretty strange situations. He kept assuring me that this wasn’t an every day thing. That when he wasn’t out traveling and opening up to this, he was pretty “normal.” I didn’t mind embracing the weird. I was having an adventure in my own city.
The topic ended up on roaming and sleeping in cars, taking risks, and realizing that you always had a home to come back to. I felt a twinge of my own homelessness in that moment. Seattle was an area that had come to feel the closest to home but I didn’t really feel like I had anything to “go back to.” I wondered what it might feel like to have a home to go back to.
The man handing out the beers told a story of sleeping in his car and waking up to temperatures in the 20’s and feeling stiff from the cold. He said it was so cold that the first thought that had gone through his mind was… “I guess I’m alive.” I laughed louder at that than I probably should have because there have been a couple of situations where I have said the same phrase with the same disbelief.
So that was the theme of the conversation: Seizing life, going for broke, chasing dreams, and finding that maybe the worst case scenarios are really not that bad. After all, you’re alive. You’re still living.
Craig looked over to me, “You’ve been having a lot of conversations like that lately.”
The universe seemed to be feeding me the same song over and over. I wanted to stay longer and wax philosophical over Rainier trunk beer but it was a Wednesday and creeping up past midnight. I had to work in the morning.
So I bid my farewells and said, “Well, I guess I’m alive… for the kids.”Laughter followed me back to my car and I drove home with a smile on my face, singing a familiar song.