Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

Seattle, WA

Last night I jumped 25 feet down off the roof of a boat into Lake Washington.  The boat had about 30 other people on it, four of whom I'd met the night before and the rest I'd met an hour or so before when I got to the boat.

My life can get pretty surreal at times.

So how'd I end up there?  Well, after leaving Potlatch on Sunday, I went over to Dave's place.  Dave is a friend who I played frisbee with in college, and he grew up in Seattle and is back there, so I was excited to see him and had planned on hanging out a bit while I was here.  He happened to be having a barbecue at his place on the 3rd, so the timing worked out perfectly for me to stop by this weekend (yet again).

We spent the afternoon hanging out and eating hot dogs and some amazing marinated steak, kicking a soccer ball around, and watching the sunset with a bunch of people, and then once the sun was down, had a dance party and stayed up til the wee hours of the morning.  Even though Dave was the only one I knew at the start of the party, I had an awesome time and met a whole bunch of people.

At one point in the party, someone asked what I was doing for the fourth, and I said that I didn't know - I'd probably find some place to watch the Seattle fireworks show.  "Why don't you come over to our place and watch them from the dock?" Well, I'm not going about to turn down an offer like that.

So the next day after wandering around downtown Seattle for about six hours, I headed over to their place.  When I got there I learned that plans had changed (not that I knew what the plans were in the first place).  It turned out, instead of hanging out at her house, we were going to head out to her friend's boat to watch the fireworks from the lake.  So we packed up some stuff in a waterproof bag, hopped on a little dinghy, motored our way out to the boat and climbed up.  There was a ton of food on the boat, and a bunch of people to talk to and hang out with.

At some point, some of the people I came with decided to go into the lake.  Despite being just next to the ocean, Lake Washington is freshwater, though a bit chilly still.  So they hopped up on the roof of the boat - about 25 feet up - and jumped in.  Well, I don't have swim trunks with me on this trip, and what I've been using the few times I needed them is some mesh shorts with compression shorts underneath.  Unfortunately, I hadn't grabbed them when we left the dock, so they weren't on the boat with me.  I really wanted to go swimming though - more accurately, I really wanted to jump off the roof of the boat.

So after a (very brief - no pun intended) internal discussion, I stripped down to my underwear, climbed on top of the boat, and jumped in.  We spent a while in the water tossing a water polo ball back and forth - a few of the people play on a team, so I got the type of instruction I'd probably give someone if we were tossing a frisbee around and they'd never thrown before (make sure you cup the ball when you catch it, don't catch it with a flat palm, etc.).  It was interesting to learn a little about a sport I've never gotten into at all before.

It was pretty cold climbing out, but worth it to get back to the top of the boat and jump in again. And after some more swimming, some more hanging out on the boat, and some awesome grilled chicken, we all sat up on the front of the boat and watched the fireworks - which were being shot off a barge a couple hundred yards away from us.

After that, we were going to head back to shore on the dinghy.  Unfortunately, the dinghy had other ideas, and was apparently tired out from trips back and forth between the dock and the boats all day, and wasn't going to start no matter what.  So we waited while a friend who had a boat found us and pulled up next to us, and we all hopped over and transferred our stuff over, and headed back.

While we were on that boat, I overheard a guy say that he was an electrical engineer, so I jumped into the conversation and started talking to him a bit - turns out he works for a Swiss company named Toradex that just opened an office in Seattle.  We chatted a bit, and it seemed like something I'd really be interested in doing, so he gave me a card, and I'm definitely going to check it out once I'm looking for a job.  That would possibly one of the weirdest networking stories ever - "How'd you get this job?" "I went to a party with a friend, met some other people there who invited me to their place the next day, ended up going out on their friend's boat instead, on the way back the dinghy broke when we were going to head out, so their other friend took us back on his boat, and he happened to have a guy on the boat who worked for the company and I overheard him say he was an electrical engineer, and got his card."

Once we got back, there was still the issue of getting the (non-operational) dinghy from the dock of the boat we took back, to the girls' dock.  So we went all Navy Seal on that dinghy and hauled it up on our shoulders all the way back to the slip where it belonged.  Other than someone almost falling in, the only hold up was a skeptical woman on the dock:

"What are you guys doing??"
"Hahaha, we're carrying a dinghy."
"No. Seriously, tell me what the hell are you guys doing?!?"
"... uh, we're carrying a dinghy.  From the place where it got towed to, to the slip it belongs in.  Because the engine's broken."
"Oh.  Well... you better not wake up my husband, or he'll be pissed!"

Once we got that taken care of, we went upstairs and sat in the hot tub for about hour, and then ate a bunch of the leftover food from the day.  Everybody crashed on a couch, a bed, or the trampoline, and we called it a day around 2am.

Can I just say - this. This is why I'm not planning my trip out ahead of time.  Because if someone had asked me what I was doing for the 4th, and I had plans instead of saying I didn't have any, I wouldn't have gotten to do any of the stuff on the boat.  (Though it is a little weird explaining to someone that I'm on this boat because the skipper knows a girl who I happened to meet the day before at a friend's party.)  The best parts of this trip have almost exclusively been the random things that came up, rather than the things I had planned.  And I'm loving having the freedom to say yes whenever I feel like it.

I don't think I mentioned it before, but one of the other benefits of hanging out with random people and meeting new people (especially at a frisbee tournament) is that often they live in all kinds of random places.  When I was at Potlatch I met people from Eugene (Oregon), Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego - all of whom were willing to let me stay for a night when I'm on my way through.

Unfortunately I didn't take my camera out on the boat - I'm so mad I didn't because I missed a ton of good pictures - of the sunset, of the hundreds of boats on the water, of the awesome boat this guy had apparently gotten for $1500 at an auction (that's not a typo), of the fireworks, of jumping off the roof of the boat.  But I did take it downtown when I was wandering through downtown Seattle - I went to the EMP museum, the Space Needle, and caught the end of the Pike Place Market.  So here's some pictures - I uploaded extra just for you, Nick.

This is from Sunday night - if you look REALLY closely, you can see the Space Needle (click to see a bigger version)
If you look REALLY closely, you can see the place I hung out Sunday night (just kidding)

Guitar sculpture in the EMP museum

Part of the sculpture included a bunch of instruments that robotically play themselves

Battlestar Galactica exhibit in the EMP museum

Outside of the EMP museum - it's a pretty cool building.

Here's what it looks like from above

Seattle's attempt at imitating Rockford

Space Needle

1 comment:

  1. This trip is amazing. Makes me want to put my traveling shoes on again. :)