I navigated the Seattle streets to the airport in a sleepy stupor at 1.30 Tuesday morning to find my parents waiting amidst a pile of luggage. I laughed to myself, seeing my dad, Paul, swimming in a sea of eight bags, with my mom, Carol (or as my dad suggested I should refer to her, “my dad’s wife,” so he gets to be name checked more frequently in the blog), zoning out among the mess. To be completely fair, 90% of the luggage was my stuff that they had decided to bring with them, to help me save on shipping costs. My dad is the first one to enforce low maintenance behaviors and call me out if he feels like I’m doing something particularly “diva-esque.” So the thought of him trying to check all those bags cracked me up, as it is the opposite of what both of them would normally do on any given trip.
I gave them both hugs and remembered that as tired as I was, it was three hours later their time, and they had to be exhausted. I drove them back to my place, securing the title of worst child ever, so we could get all of “my” suitcases in my apartment before I dropped them off at their hotel to get some rest.
I travel a lot and I’ve lived in both Prague and Sydney, so being in Seattle is the closest I’ve been located to them outside of Indiana. It’s the first time I’ve been able to show them someplace new that they’d never been before, which I was amped about because I’m in my element playing “tour guide” anywhere. We had a whirlwind three days, visiting beaches, eating at numerous restaurants, and exploring different neighborhoods in the city.
My struggle with Seattle has been meeting new people. I’m a fairly chatty person, and by fairly chatty, I mean I run my mouth about anything and have no problem striking up a conversation with strangers. It isn’t that that is frowned on here, but it definitely doesn’t seem to be the norm, and when a strange girl comes up and starts asking you a million questions, it isn’t as socially acceptable here as it is other places. We went to dinner with my friend who within five minutes pointed out to me that I say certain phrases Paul and Carol do as well as share certain mannerisms.
I denied that this was anything but coincidence, because I’d hate to be unoriginal, but the more I thought about it, I tend to be a Lauck through and through. And I’m not complaining, we are a cool group of people to be a part of. As dinner kept going, Paul and I kept playing off of each other with the same joke, and my mom would laugh and shake her head. My friend was dying laughing as well, perhaps mildly overwhelmed at the fact that while I say things that are considered inappropriate here in a culture that is, in many ways, more “PC” than anywhere I’ve ever lived, it gets taken to a different level when multiple Laucks are in one room.
The more time I spent with my family, I realized that the Lauck part of me is always running strong because of our similarities. We went to Pike Place Market and spent two hours shopping there and chatting to vendors. I was leading them through the crowd, when I turned around and lost both of my parents. I found my mom talking to a vendor selling baby clothes, and my dad talking to a woman who made pottery about her technique. Not only had they both wandered off without hesitation or warning because they became sidetracked, but they also were running their mouths to complete strangers, two traits I figured, at that point, I must get honestly.
It’s nice to know a thing or two to share about the city, but I tend to latch onto tidbits of info I find interesting versus historical facts, so the best I can do is take them through Pioneer Square and tell them about how prostitutes helped rebuild the city after a fire, or take them to a restaurant set up like a ship that is decorated with creepy babies in cages. At this point, my dad sits down and looks at the decor, and says, “Feels like home.” Then he looks at the menu as if demonic baby dolls hanging from the ceiling is completely normal. The Carly tour of Seattle isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely for Paul and Carol.
We were eating in the baby cage restaurant when the music turned to some pretty profane rap, at which point we all start laughing, and a guy that works there looks at my parents in horror, and apologizes for the music. Paul looks at him and says, “I’m not THAT old that I’m offended by it.” The guy looks back, who is easily in his early 30’s and says, “Well I’m offended by it” and walks away.
We took a three person kayak into Lake Union and struggled to steer it, as there should probably be a rule that three hardheaded people shouldn’t be sharing one kayak while creeping on floating homes. My mom and I yelled to my dad that we were too close and going to hit the houses with our boat. My Dad yelled “Watch out!” in a panic as a plane prepared to land in the water as if 1) we were going to get hit by it or 2) even if we were in its range, there would even be a chance we could possibly manage to finagle our way out of the situation with our subpar group kayaking skills.
I chilled out at their hotel during happy hour their last night, and a child ran outside. I made a comment about the kid, and my mom goes, “Oh, that’s Cyrus.” This is followed by Cyrus, who is at best two years old, pointing airplanes out to my mom, and Cyrus’s family coming over to say hello to my parents, who clearly have managed to meet complete strangers in the small amount of time between me dropping them off at night and picking them up in the morning.
As I said goodbye to them at the airport after three days, it was bittersweet. I was glad I’d been able to visit with them even though it was a short trip. It was fun to play tour guide and show them the Carly Lauck version of Seattle. While weird restaurants and creeping on floating homes may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was nice to finally be around some Lauck blood again. We are an outspoken, crazy bunch of people, but they are my people nonetheless, and it’s always a breath of fresh air to catch up with my own and remember my roots.
I drove away from the airport in the wee hours of the morning, Tom Petty aptly singing “Night driver, drifting home again” in the background. I figured it sounded like a perfect anthem. I was yet again a solo transient in my new city, but it was a breath of fresh air to be able to show my family exactly how in my element I am as a nomad after all of this time.