“Hey Jordan, I’m Sarah, 20, and homeless until September first. You seem like a really cool host and have tons of travel experience! I’d love to hear your stories! And also, if you have an available couch I could really use a place to stay for the next week and a half.”
That is a very shortened version of the couch request I sent to a calgarian host on Couch Surfers. I was accepted and was making plans to stay there until I was offered a place downtown where A’s brother’s best friend lived. With much thanks and appreciation, I declined the couch request but still told of my interest in meeting up and hearing about his travels. Yesterday, he texted me and said that he and some other CSers and friends were going to grab some drinks and hangout if I’d like to join them. Needing a night out, I accepted and took a 40 minute train ride to the South East of Calgary.
Since I rarely take transit after midnight during the week I didn’t think about the fact that the last train would probably run earlier. That was how, after a good couple of hours of meeting travellers hearing stories, I found myself at 12:30 on a train platform with no trains coming for another 4 hours. I walked to a bus stop and asked the bus driver if any routes would take me downtown.
“Not at this time of night. You can take a cab or walk.” he told me.
Checking my pockets, I turned up a ten dollar bill and 4 dollars worth of change. That would get me across the bridge. I then checked google maps and was told that I was only a three hour and forty five minute walk to the centre.
With a tired sigh, I began walking. A drunk couple was walking towards me as we both crossed the overpass and the woman asked me
“Honey, are you alright? Do you need help?”
I smiled and said “I’m fine. I’m just lost and I missed the last train.”
“Go to Dixon’s.” She told me. “Tell them you are looking for Jordan’s friends and tell them we sent you. You will get a ride home to downtown.” (Different Jordan. Its a popular name here.)
I gave my thanks and went to the pub called Dixon’s. It was beside a Tim Hortons and I saw some police officers walking to a ghost car. I contemplated asking them but decided to check for Jordan’s friends first. No one in that bar was sober so I turned right out and geared up for the three hour walk. As I walked around the Tim Hortons, I saw that the car was in the drive-thru. A quick re-run of my options reminded me I didn’t have many; I walked up to the passenger side window, staring and smiling at the female cop like a creeper. She cautiously rolled her window half way down and said simply “Yes?”
“Hey, So I missed the last train and I only have ten bucks. Do you know of any cab companies that would take me downtown for that or am I gonna have to walk?” I introduced myself. She glanced at her male partner and he started typing things in his computer that looked like a giant game of Pacman.
“How’d you get here?”
“Why did you come?”
“I had a drink with some friends.”
“Do you have ID?”
“….May I see your ID?”
“Why do you have to go downtown?”
“I live there right now.”
“You’re not from Calgary.”
“Just moved. Living with a friend for the moment.”
“Why’d you move?”
“School and work. So do I have to walk or can I bother you for a ride?”
“Yeah, get in.”
And then I was in the backseat of a Ghost car towards my temporary home. We continued a two sided interogation as they drove and I told them about my travels and found out that the male officer was originally from England. Suddenly he asked,
“Hey, how did you know we were cops? Nobody ever assumes this car.”
“I saw you walking out of Tim Hortons.” I told them. They gave the understanding “ah.”
“There’s also that tell tale satellite tracker thingamabob on the roof and the outlines of bars on the back window.” I added.
“hm.” Was the response. Half an hour later I was jumping out of the car below the apartment I needed to be at and they drove back to their own jurisdiction.
To think that I have only ever been in two cop cars and both times were in Calgary and both times was because I didn’t feel like walking and asked for a ride. The other story is pretty good too, but not quite as shareable.
Anyway, that is the story of how a couch surfing request from two weeks ago ended with Sarah riding in the back seat of a police car.
Watch those train times, world.
All my love,
PS. Three more sleeps until A and I can move into our own adorable basement suite. Two broke girls and Two stoked girls until they realize that they are still two broke girls.