I’d mulled over what I had done wrong for months. Everyone knew I was being sent to Boise for my tee-shirt selling side gig, and after being sent to Australia last year, it had become an ongoing joke about what sort of cardinal sin I’d committed to be sent to Idaho.
I’ve been bitching about it for a month and a half.
So while I waited for my Lyft to come pick me up from the Boise airport and transport me to the convention center, I stood baking in the 100 degree heat wondering what I’d gotten myself into.
My driver was nice, and was telling me about how his dad moved to Boise from Seattle because he could buy a house twice the size for a third of the price. He was from southern California and had decided to do the same thing. Then he asked if I had a few minutes for him to “take me the more scenic way into the city.”
I shrugged and said yes, hoping not to get murdered. He told me to go down 8th Street to eat and recommended a few restaurants. He pointed out the Capitol building and told me some other places to check out if I had time.
It had more personality than I had imagined. Lots of boutiques and artwork and unique places to visit. And I loved that the mountains were just looming in the background.
But it was back to reality. I went to the hotel to grab my boxes of shirts only to find out that the box with the dolly that they typically shipped to me had not arrived yet. And did I mention it was 100 fucking degrees outside?
I didn’t have time to wait, so I went ahead and grabbed one of those bellhop trolleys from the front desk and lugged all of my other boxes downstairs. I waited 10 minutes for what was probably the only large sized Lyft in town to come pick me and all of my shit up.
The man who arrived was a former cop from LA who was now retired and lived in Thailand except for a few months when he came to Boise to visit his son. He drove for Lyft to keep him busy in the daytime.
I told him to just dump me and my boxes on the sidewalk and I’d get them inside from there so he could get going.
“What kind of human would just abandon you with all of this and no dolly?” he asked.
“I mean, it’s kind of the norm, and this isn’t exactly in your job description, so I don’t expect anyone to help me ever actually. I’m pretty scrappy and I figure it out.”
He helped me carry every box in and even grabbed a dolly from someone else to make the process go faster.
I thanked him, and was yet again shocked by the amount of kindness from people in this place.
That night I ate what might possibly be one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life at a brewery the first driver had recommended.
Everyone was chatty and friendly in the bar, even though I had to wear a waterproof wristband that said “Wizard World” for the next three days as my convention admission. I wasn’t thrilled about that or the escaped hospital patient look I was giving off.
I was also shocked at the fact that although I’d been told this place was chock full of neo-Nazis, Boise seemed to be particularly liberal with “Fuck Trump” signs everywhere and people who were openly pretty liberal and, in fact, not Nazis.
I suppose that comes from being a part of any semi-large city. While I felt quite a warm welcome in the city, I also wasn’t at all interested in leaving the city limits, too afraid of what might lurk in the middle of nowhere.
I had some time the next day to run around the city and check out the park that I was told was fairly cool. I walked through the Boise State University campus and as I walked back through the park, I was convinced I had heat stroke and was hallucinating when I saw a giraffe walking through the park.
I did the only logical thing and walked closer to figure out what the hell was going on. And it turns out the zoo is in the middle of the park so, you know, you can just check out the giraffes on your evening stroll if that strikes your fancy.
I sat there in awe, when a woman walked up to me and said, “This never gets old, does it?”
“I don’t live here. I can safely say this is the first time I’ve just run into a giraffe in the middle of a walk.”
We chatted for a bit, she moved to Boise because of her job at BSU and told me I should consider moving out here as well and she thought, based on what I told her I did, they would have plenty of jobs available for me at the university and I should look into it.
She said, “I moved here for a job 18 years ago and never looked back.”
I told her I wasn’t quite ready to commit to Boise for life, but I was definitely shocked by how nice it seemed to be.
Could I live in Boise?
I’m kind of over Seattle life at this moment.
As I finished my stroll romanticizing what my life would be there, I figured that I’m ultimately a city girl through and through, and while this was a nice stopover and a pleasant surprise (possibly because I had set the bar so low in my mind as well), I’d likely be over it in about a month.
I asked myself if everyone was really being nice, or if that’s just because it was so rare to have this level of kindness in Seattle that it seemed maybe nicer than it actually was.
People at the convention were all friendly and polite, glad to welcome a visitor.
I had the same former cop Lyft driver pick me up at the end of the convention and load up my boxes in the back, and he also ran into me after dinner, beeping and waving as I was walking through town. I was basically already famous in Boise.
The pace of life was slower, people were friendly, and ultimately it was a nice break from everything I’m used to in Seattle.
I got on the plane the next day, glad that Boise had been such a pleasant surprise in the end, and ready to face the reality of my Seattle life again and be back in the hustle and bustle of the city.