I Said Goodbye To My Car… And Seattle…

Waiting to board the train at Everett

September 26, 2019. I set out to drive the evening shift after getting over a pretty deep funk and not working. It was by all accounts a good night, and I was just about to wrap things up and drive home. Not even five minutes after dropping off my last passenger, my 2016 Kia Rio started to exhibit issues that can be best described as a result of my own stupidity. It went downhill from there.

The past few months had been particularly difficult for me largely due to some mental health issues I had been struggling with. I didn’t want to get out of bed and I had been putting off work to the point where I went from “financially current,” to deep in trouble. I had just started to come out of things earlier in the week and had a few productive days, so I figured my Thursday would be alright. And then as I began to drive home, my car started to shake and sputter and stall, leaving me seconds to quickly pull over and evaluate things.

My 2016 Kia Rio awaiting its fate

Because I let myself get behind again, I didn’t keep up on maintenance which I suspect is the main reason my car started to fail. I was behind on an oil change, as well as a regular interval service. I had managed to get my oil changed a few days prior, but it wasn’t enough as the damage was already done to the engine with overheating.

And because I hadn’t worked as much I could should have, I had no savings. And on top of behind behind on that I was also behind on my rent payments. I had brought upon myself a situation that was entirely preventable, and I totally let myself get into the worst possible position. I ended up telling my bank to take my car because I wouldn’t be able to make payments, and I ended up moving out of my apartment because I couldn’t afford rent anymore. Rather than be a burden to friends, my failsafe was to cash out and head back to my home state of Wisconsin. It wasn’t the best thought-out plan…

I packed up everything I could take in the two suitcases I had, and anything small of value. I put all my furniture up on Craigslist and gave away a lot of stuff too. There was still a lot of stuff left in my apartment that got left behind – much of it was free/cheap Craigslist finds anyway so it wasn’t a huge loss. Still, it was quite a punch to the ego to see all the things I had accumulated… in a rather nice apartment… to have to walk away from all of it.

All of my clothes and belongings and personal valuables.

On the afternoon of October 3, I took a Lyft to the Everett Amtrak station and waited to board with my life at my side… including the first hockey stick I had when I learned to play in 2007. The reality and gravity of everything didn’t hit until I was in my seat and the doors closed and we pushed off… watching Snohomish county roll by as daylight succumbed to the darkness. I fucked up.

For the last three months I’ve been in Madison, WI. I sent an email to the owner of a hotel I had worked at in the past, blindly inquiring about employment opportunities as well as possible accommodation. I was surprised to not only hear about an immediate full-time opening, but that they would work out a deal with me to stay on site and I would pay through payroll deductions while I save and look for something more permanent. To say it was a huge miscalculation is an understatement, because of the obvious challenge of having money before anyone will rent to you. And Madison is a hard city to rent in when all the apartments are taken by students ten months out of the year.

My train on a scheduled break in Spokane

So, despite my better judgement along with the fact I am going stir crazy spending so much time in this building either sleeping or working, I’m moving back to Seattle in time for the new year. When I left, I chose not to ask friends for help because I didn’t want to be any more of a burden. But, I’ve got at least a short term solution while I get the ball rolling, and I’m considering a few employment opportunities. Now that I know what it feels like to fail this hard, I have more than enough motivation to never let myself get into this sort of situation again.

Time to start slowly climbing back out of this deep hole I’ve dug for myself.

[CM]