In my admittedly small family of four, I am the only one that ever exhibited any sense of wanderlust. Since leaving college, besides Sarasota, Bradenton and Orlando, FL, I have lived in Tifton, GA, Seattle, WA, Walla Walla, WA, and now Fairbanks, AK. Honestly, I don’t know what drives me. I think I’m always looking for that next challenge. Anyhoo, I’m not sure what drove me to AK, except that I had met about four people in a row from here, and I liked them all. They all had self made lives, were interested in the world and ideas, and had good senses of humor, and lord knows, I need to be around people like that! (I tend to live in my head too much, and need the kind of friends that will remind me to laugh at myself.) 😀
Things are pretty mercilessly organized, studied and set into policy routine in Florida. You couldn’t get into any trouble at all, even if you tried, no matter what huge theme park, parade, art festival or celebration you attended. I don’t know how they manage thousands of people parking and moving through very small areas without incident; it just always seems pretty controlled.
So, my parents came up for the Solstice week, (Fairbanks’ version of tourist season) and we’ve been doing all the tourist things; Riverboat Discovery, Eldorado Gold Mine, Chena Hot Springs, and the Midnight Solstice AK Goldpanners Baseball Game. I had not been to Growden Park before, but I figured they didn’t have assigned seats. I didn’t anticipate having to bring any chairs, though, and because we didn’t relish sitting on hard benches for two hours while waiting for the game to begin, we came later and then squished into the fenced off area on the ground in the right outfield. I decided to go back to the house for camp chairs.
I anticipated having *some* difficulty getting back there, because I had read that the Midnight Sun Run was going by out on the main through street near the house I was renting part of, but, OH NO – the 10K was going RIGHT THROUGH MY NEIGHBORHOOD! Down my street! And I had just picked that absolute WRONG way to drive back to my house!
You ever think you’re doing something clever, based on the information you have already, and then, surreally, you realize how horribly wrong you’ve misjudged, and there’s no way to fix it now? Yeah. All of a sudden, I’m driving down my street, and it’s just WALL TO WALL full of kids, parents, bicycles, strollers, garden chairs, observers, tables with cups of water, you name it!
But…but…the street wasn’t even blocked off! Nobody stopped me! It’s not my fault! And now I’m stuck – I can’t back up, people are walking behind me, and toddlers are toddling 15 inches from my car! I get lots of amazed looks – that I would even try to drive on a street that is obviously this busy; didn’t I *know* that the Sun Run was going on? Lots of neighbors had turned out in the almost-midnight-what-me-sleep? sun to cheer enthusiasm for the walkers and runners, putting up tables of water to offer and having the garden hose ready. So, as I creep along, my fellow Fairbanksan neighbors try to help out my confusion:
“Hey, that’s cheating!”
“Are you lost?”
One lady holds out a cup: “Want some water?” Me: “Naw – I’m good.”
I start smiling at the absurdity of it all, creeping along, watching for toddlers, waving and smiling like I’m a float queen. One guy with a garden hose gets into the humor of it and hits me with some water. Me:”Hey, thanks!” One pre-teen girl hits me with a water burst, then looks contrite, like she got caught by the teacher pranking someone.
Finally, Obvious Woman: “I don’t think you’re supposed to be here right now!” Yeah. Thanks. Me: “I live here!”
Finally, I got back to the house and got the camp chairs. My landlord told me the *right* way to get back to the ball field, and even loaned me an extra chair. My landlady’s response to my story?
“Well – people gotta get to their houses, right?”
I think my sole saving grace is that I was in a rental car at the time. Maybe they won’t recognize me later. (“Hey, Martha, isn’t that the reckless girl that tried to drive through the Sun Run last summer?”)
All in all, the ball game was great, we were more comfortable than in the bleachers, we had good humored company, and the Goldpanners won. No injuries, no hits, no errors.