Editor’s Note: Usually, at this time, I would be posting our Friday Night Funny, but Paula Morris’ latest offering of her Newbie in Graham column gave me a good chuckle so I decided to make it our humor selection this week.
I’m looking in my bathroom mirror at this throbbing bump on my lower lip.
How did it get there? I’m pretty sure it was self-inflicted as a result of my biting down hard – front teeth over lower lip – when I was trying to find the Graham Fire Department on Wednesday evening to attend my first “Self-Reliant Community” (SRC) meeting.
I thought I knew where I was going. Just follow 224th St. off of Meridian, ‘till I run into it.
I forgot the part about turning left on 70th St.
So, I drove west on 224th until I found a fire house on the right. No cars in the parking lot – guess I’m early.
I waited a few minutes and then realized: Central Pierce Fire and Rescue Department. No, I think the information I received said the meeting was at the Graham Fire Department.
I made a quick call to my future son-in-law, Eric, who happens to be a firefighter, and he told me: “You turned the wrong way off of Meridian. Go the other way and you’ll come to the Graham Fire and Rescue building on the left side of the street.”
So, I drove back down 224th – all the way through town – and sure enough, there it was – a brand-spankin’ new, pretty-as-a-picture fire station. But there were no cars in that parking lot either, and by now I was right on time.
I rang the bell. No answer. As I started to walk away in confusion and a little bit stressed, a buzzer started ringing and a voice asked: “May I help you?”
I wanted to plead mercy to the mischievous Direction Fairies who have muddled my directional sense from birth, and to let me out of my “twilight zone.” Instead, I just asked if there was a Self-Reliant Community meeting there.
The pleasant voice at the other end said: “Wait a minute, I’ll be right there.”
Sure enough, a minute later, a very good looking uniformed man came to the door, let me in and asked again what it was I was looking for. He didn’t know of any meeting at that location, but told me to come on in and he would ask around.
A second very good looking young uniformed man said he didn’t know of the group, but they could look on a schedule to see if they could find the place where the meeting was being held.
“It’s at the headquarters station on 70th Ave, about a half-mile south of 224th St,” they said.
So, back I drove once again, all the way to where I had started from, and finally found the “old” Graham Fire and Rescue Department building. By then, I was fifteen-minutes late.
Hmmm…Three fire department buildings in close proximity to each other? Well, I guess there are lots of fires in this area.
Having arrived late, I was expecting to be embarrassed. Thankfully, hardly anyone noticed since the place was packed. It was almost standing room only.
Once I settled in, this SRC meeting gave me a cornucopia of ideas pertaining to storing emergency food supplies, what would happen if Mt. Rainier blows, or what to do if there was an earthquake. There were discussions on seed saving, radiation exposure from the nukes in Japan, organic farming, and many other self-reliant ideas. This is a group well-worth joining.
Back to being lost.
You know how when you first visit a new place you perceive everything as so different, unusual and unfamiliar, and you can’t keep all those new landmarks in your head? Well, that’s the feeling I have all the time being a newbie here in the PNW.
If I repeat the routes over and over, will the landmarks start to look like home?
The thought just crossed my mind that we humans like to feel comfortable and at home. Do you suppose that’s why we keep a death’s grip hold on all our old ways of doing things?
Is the unfamiliar threatening?
Although I can’t claim this is true with certainty, two things I do know for certain: I was glad to get home that night, and the Graham Fire Department sure has good-looking firefighters.
© 2011 Paula Morris
Paula, the very first story I wrote for the Eatonville Disaptch when they hired me to be their Graham reporter was titled, “Looking for Graham.” Besides making me laugh, you’ve brought back some very pleasant memories. Thanks.
That’s why I purchased a gps – I hated being lost all the time! I’ll just have to find other opportunities for ogling firefighters.
karelina, thanks for the comment. I’ll consider the GPS. As for the firefighters, just don’t go doing anything silly now.
Don’t feel bad, Paula, I have lived in Frederickson, (two blocks north of the Graham border) for 40 years and I STILL get lost in Graham. And I had trouble finding the Fire Station as well. And don’t ask the “natives.” Most of the people you see on then street in Graham are lost, too.
Hahahaha! Good to know Richard.
Dick Thurston’s comments beg a bit more commentary. He is a member of the Frederickson Land Use Advisory Commission, and if he’s getting lost on his way home, well, we need something more than just a GPS….
Well the south boundary of Fredericson is 208th Street, so I don’ t have much reason to visit Graham except for occasional meetings at a fire station nobody can find. A sign on Meridian with an arrow pointing to the Fire station might help. And I never get lost on the way home. Once I have driven to a place in daylight, I am 99% sure of finding it again and 100% sure of getting home.