Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Road Trip

If I am ever kidnapped, I want you to know that this is how it would happen:

A couple days ago, I was leaving the house for a small errand - buying my mother a birthday card. I get in the car and pull out to the end of my driveway and wait for an oncoming car to pass.

But the oncoming car does not pass. Instead it pulls over right in front of me, and an elderly Asian man jumps out, with a piece of paper in his hand.

Not knowing any better, I get out of my car.

He's lost. He's looking for an address. I look at the address - it is one street north of here, but in the 5600 block, about five miles to the west (Much of Seattle is laid out in a reasonably-understood grid). I inform him that he has to go west, down off the hill, across the highway, and maybe across the Green River.

"You show me, please," he says, giving me an appreciative squeeze on the shoulder, and runs back to his vehicle.

Mind you, my original intent was to drive the four blocks to a card shop, not to drive five miles through traffic to look for a mysterious address. And yet I do it. It makes more sense to help than to come up with a lame excuse not to.

At the first light, the guy (his name is Mr. Cho) jumps out of his vehicle again and gives me the note so I know the exact address. I come down off the hill, cross the highway, and almost reach the Green River. The address is in the light industrial area of northern Kent, a maze of tangled streets. I get lost. I have to ask for directions. Mr Cho follows, his faith in my ability unaltered. At last I find it.

Mr Cho is happy, though place is closed, "I need to know where it is," he says, "I live about three blocks that way" he adds with a smile. And he leaves and I am left to find my way back to the card store. He was a nice guy, and he took me on a little adventure.

Now, I have noted before that I have the words "Talk to Me" written on my forehead, and have been hit up for directions and aid at odd moments by a variety of people. I also know that these words are readable in French and German. But for the first time, I found out that they were also carved there in Chinese, and can be seen from a distance of a quarter mile while sitting in my car. Such seems to be my fate.

But if I ever go mysteriously missing, it's because someone asked me to find an address for them in Australia, and asked if I would take them there. And I didn't think twice before saying yes.

More later.