The first time I ever took a ferry was when I was traveling from Saipan to Tinian to visit my friend Val who was staying there that summer. I boarded the ferry home with my newly acquired driver’s license and two large watermelons her aunt had given me. I failed Saipan’s written test so Val offered her inter-island DMV connections. What’s more embarrassing than failing the exam every
Harry, Dick and Jane Juan, Jun, and Serafin passed? Failing it at 18 years of age. I drove my golden brown Toyota Previa van illegally and had to go to another island to make it right.
I took a nap on the ferry and woke up to a Filipino man standing over me, saying, “Excuse me, ma’am, but you’ll have to leave now.” I rubbed my eyes and realized that the ferry was completely empty. I didn’t have time to recreate the scene in which everyone walks by my open-mouthed, snoring body, my sister was supposed to pick me up outside and if I didn’t get to the dock, I would be all by my lonesome with my fruit to keep me company. I jumped up and over the man, holding my huge watermelons and running as fast I could off the boat. There I was, huffing and holding those jumbo globes just so I could holler at my sister who was already on her way out. I could get a gold medal in the Porn Star Olympics with that stunt, I tell you what.
So when Mike was invited to Peninsula College to read his poetry and talk about writing, our small family took the ferry to Bainbridge Island and proceeded to drive 80 some miles to Port Angeles. Sometimes I forget how big America is. On Saipan, it took me thirty minutes to get from my house to the other end of the island and here, thirty minutes is a good drive time.
When we arrived at the reading, Nathan and I sat in the back of the auditorium while Mike took the stage. I decided to sit close to the exit in case Nathan entered a meltdown. When he did coo or say, “Ba ba ba ba,” a woman turned in her seat as if to seek out who the hell brought in a baby, even though Mike was introduced several times as being from Seattle and having brought his wife and baby. I didn’t see any other wife and baby pairs so I wasn’t sure why this woman was staring me down like I owed her money. When I smiled at her, she rolled her eyes. And that was it. I was like, oh no you didn’t woman. I went to the state finals in eye-rolling. I was 13 and my mom told me I couldn’t have a birthday party because I was caught smoking in my room, so what did I do? I wielded my up-and-over eye roll, perfecting the international teen symbol for “Whatever!”
I’m no stranger to being openly dissed, but at my husband’s poetry reading? I can understand why you wouldn’t want a child at a quiet event, but Nathan wasn’t going into hysterics, he was heckling his dad. Her frown was enough for me to grab the diaper bag and wait outside. I didn’t want to disturb anyone else or risk fending off other eye-rollers because I can’t do a leg sweep and push a stroller at the same time.
While Nathan sat patiently and chewed his books, I phoned my sister who offered this: “You’re in Port Angeles? Wow, that’s the same city in Passions!” I think she confused Port Angeles with Port Charles and Passions with General Hospital. Just a guess.
In 2007, I’ll try to toughen up against disses and eye-rolls, though I might take some lessons in nursing with one hand and throwing ninja stars with the other.
Ferry travel cost us $30.00 roundtrip, but we did get our money’s worth with these shots of the sunset over Alki Beach.