Life’s little adventures

I am especially fond of adventures, whether it’s a trip across the world or a simple jaunt across town. Aimlessly walking around unknown parts of a city is a perfect time for discovery (it’s always a great idea to go with a friend). On these random journey’s, it’s fairly common to encounter men at bus stops who think it’s a great idea to shout pick-up lines at my girlfriend (while I’m holding her hand), creating an awkward situation. Fortunately this didn’t happen yesterday as we strolled up to the Queen Anne neighborhood in Seattle.

Halfway through our journey, Courtney abruptly stopped and burst into laughter. She is amused rather easily, so I had no idea what could possibly be making her laugh so hard…


There is was. A penis shaped pipe in a head shop window…oh how the simple things in life can be so amusing. I couldn’t help but laugh with her.

We eventually stumbled upon Hilltop Ale House. It looked inviting, so we ventured in for a bite to eat. This little gem was a surprising treat, as they featured a large variety of local micro-brews, and an upscale menu at reasonable prices – a rarity in the pub scene.

Hilltop Ale House

Satisfied with the successful adventure, we made the uneventful journey home. On the bus ride back, I couldn’t help but think of the many times things went totally south while exploring new places – especially the trip to Chicago many years ago…

My friend Jon’s dad works for a car dealership and occasionally purchases vehicles in various states if he can get them for reasonable prices. On this particular occasion, he bought three cars in Detroit and four of us volunteered to make the two day trip.

None of us had experienced Chicago, so it seemed like the perfect halfway mark on the journey. Lucky for us, Jon’s older sister Jesse lived there and we were able to crash at her place. The plan was to take the train into the city and find something to do. Jesse was worried about letting four young kids from a small town explore the windy city alone, so we assured her everything would be fine…

We got off the train in a shady part of the city and began our journey. As we were waiting for a streetlight to turn green a thuggish man ran up and teased us for standing there – as there was no traffic. He seemed friendly (despite his appearance) and volunteered to show us around. We took him up on the offer!

He was entertaining and very informative, making him a likeable character. After walking several blocks, the guy led us to a dark ally, stopped, and the smile disappeared from his face. As he put his hand in his pocket, he told us each to give him $20. We didn’t argue. The jackass took off running after getting the cash. We’d been had, but it could have been worse.

Soon after, we wandered into a cigar lounge. Upon entering, a large Italian gentleman stepped in front of us and asked what we wanted. Behind him there were several well dressed men sitting around a large table. They all got up and went to the back room as I told him that we were hoping to get some cigars. When they cleared the room, he let us venture into the humidor.

Shady cigar lounge humidor

There was only one container of cigars, surrounded by a humidor full of empty boxes. As we were standing there in a state of confusion, a police officer came in, grabbed a handful of cigars, looked at the large Italian and told him that he “just made Captain, so let me know if you guys need anything,” and walked out without paying. WTF is going on?!? It was time to leave, so we each bought a cigar and went on our merry way…

Across the street from where we were walking, (less than a block away from the cigar lounge) there were several police cars parked with their lights on in front of a grocery store. There seemed to be a lot of commotion. None of us noticed the man crouching next to a parked car that we were slowly approaching, so it was a surprise when he jumped up said “let me walk with you.” We instantly took off running across the street towards the police officers and the guy took off  in the opposite direction.

I approached one of the cops and told him what happened.

Cop: “Was he black?”

Me: “No, he looked like Golem from Lord of the Rings.”

Cop: “Shit! Which way did he go?”

After pointing him in the right direction, we unanimously decided it was time to take refuge at Jesse’s house. It had been a long night…

Lessons learned:

  1. Try to ‘blend in’ when exploring unfamiliar territory.
  2. Adventures are more enjoyable when experienced with others – especially when shit gets crazy.


3 Responses to “Life’s little adventures”

  • Bill Molumby

    I use to enjoy telling my children tails of my hood, (unlike my daughters I was raise in South MPLS. I too liked to go on adventures and I walked all over town. The only problems telling them came when they reached an age when they became adventurous. All I ever head was, “you did that when you were my age”. Moral of the story, be careful who you share the stories with.

  • Melanie

    I always wander around alone, but I live in what is considered the ‘hood, and am pretty comfortable in those kinds of neighborhoods.

    When I went to Austin I got up before all my friends and decided to take a cab out to a place I’d heard had great breakfast tacos. It was less than two miles from my hotel so I walked back. It was a pretty shady neighborhood, and several folks riding by on bikes almost crashed staring at the obvious out of place girl. Then, I saw a bunch of folks who were huddled obviously putting money together for drugs. They were all scratchy like and sketchy. I just looked them right in the eye, smiled, and said, “Hey, what’s up y’all?” and kept walking. I fully believe if I had looked down and been nervous, I would’ve been jumped.

    The more they think you aren’t from around those parts, or they make you uncomfortable, the more likely you are to get hurt. I’ve always been a lone wanderer, and I haven’t been hurt yet. *knocking on cyber wood. Or maybe I’m knocking on the glass pipe wood in that window*

    • kourteous

      I agree. Confidence goes a long way in uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, it took a few times getting hustled before I figured that one out…