Yesterday I had two interviews in Downtown Seattle. I have always hated driving downtown; it brings out the worst in me, and sometimes I’m surprised by how bad the worst is. I fantasize about simply plowing through the masses of pedestrians that putt along oblivious to the fact that I would really love to make a right turn if they would just pick up the pace a little. In my mind lines of cars disintegrate into a million pieces in front of me, never to be seen again. Cyclists ricochet off my fender and no longer presume to share the lane as if they were an actual vehicle. If I ever get a downtown job, I will most likely take public transit to avoid both stress and incarceration.
But the very worst part of having to drive in Seattle is parking. If I choose the convenience of parking in a garage I have to pay an hourly rate that eliminates my future children’s chances of a college fund, and if I by some miracle find street parking, the rate is still $4 an hour plus tax, and I have to be sure to come back every two hours to pay more. Yesterday I found street parking where I had the opportunity to increase my driving prowess by parallel parking on a hill behind a man taking his sweet time loading a giant stroller into his trunk, and once parked I honestly wondered whether or not the friction between my tires and the road was enough to keep my car from sliding down the sharp grade and into the fish stand at Pike Place Market. I would have moved if I thought there was a remote chance of finding anything better.
My first interview went well, I think. I’ve had several compliments on my interviews, but I’ve yet to land a job so I tend to take them with a grain of salt. But I think that I represented myself well, which is great because basically the job would be me assisting programs that are saving the world. I’d really like for world-saving to be something I do full-time.
That interview was over about 1pm, and my next downtown interview was at 3pm. So I found the place, parked on the street, paid for parking, and hung out in the Columbia Tower which is where all the cool downtown-types hang out. There are three coffee places and a shoe-shine stand. At 2:15 I went back to my car, paid for another two hours of parking, and headed to the job interview a couple blocks away. I rode the elevator up and down several times, unsuccessfully tried to find a bathroom that did not require a passcode, and tried to make my hair look as if I hadn’t just walk/jogged three blocks in the rain, which I had.
At 2:45 I went to the interview and was disappointed that unlike the first interview, the organization’s front desk did not have a candy bowl. That will be a factor should I find myself with two job offers in the near future.
When the interview was done I was extremely relieved and ready to go home. I knew that I would have just enough time to pick up the house before the world’s best husband got home. I charged up the hill, content to let the rain wash the last dregs of professional out of my appearance, and arrived at my parking spot, but not, however, at my car. It was then that the “No Parking 3pm-6pm” sign really caught my attention. Oh. Snap.
I called the car-kidnappers and noted the location of my dear little Altima and then proceeded to call my sister to lament my situation. That’s what I do in lamentable situations: call my sister. When she moves to Taiwan all on my phone’s contact list will probably be hearing from me a lot more often, especially when I have something to kvetch about.
I headed toward the light rail to ride home where my husband could pick me up, but after envisioning his look of excitement at having to drive up to Seattle to rescue my car and then back after a long day of work, I wondered if another option might be available. My sister patiently reasoned with the obstinate King County Metro website and then recommended a bus.
Whenever I’m on the bus, I’m never more than about two-thirds sure that I’m on the right route to get where I’m going. There’s always the chance that I’ve totally screwed up and am going to end up miles away from my destination (it’s only happened to me once, but it had a lasting effect). Still, I hopped on the 72 bus and got off at my prescribed destination. My sister, who was my equivalent of Houston at this point, admitted that the walking directions from the bus stop didn’t actually give a final destination. I was supposed to end at 610 North Lake Way, but the last direction just said, “Turn left on 6th.”
She stayed on the phone with me as I trudged through the rain in my nicest business clothes and shoes, took a wrong turn, looked jealously at runners enjoying a local path, and finally found myself walking along a plastic barbed-wire-topped fence.
“Then what?” I asked.
“That’s all it says… I hope I didn’t lead you on a wild goose chase.”
I, too, hoped that I was not now in an unknown part of Seattle miles from the light rail with a dwindling cell-phone battery.
But then, through the slots of the plastic fence, I saw a lovely, if somewhat dinged up, gold Altima.
“We did it! We made it!” We both rejoiced, triumphantly, and I ran through the gravel toward the little tow company office. “Thank you! Thank you!”
Stupidity is often expensive, and my lack of attention to detail (a thing never to mention in job interviews) cost $125. It’d be really wonderful if I landed one of those jobs, because it would make the whole ordeal more significant and somewhat less frustrating in hindsight. If not, it will just be one of my many adventures in a long quest to find gainful employment. A quest, by the way, which I shall carry out no matter how hard the rain, how steep the hill, or how much I want to kill pedestrians.