The weirdest day of my life.

Yesterday started out pretty typical. I woke up and ate the last straggling products of the kitchen. Then, I went to the coffee shop a few blocks away, Java Jones, and chugged a coffee (light roast, large, whole milk) and used their internet. It was the day I wanted to move out of the house and put all my stuff into storage, except for what I would want for the rest of summer. I will be spending summer home in Austin, Tx and also in Tibet! Then, in September I will come back to Santa Barbara, pick up all my stuff, and move to my new school in northern California!

Anyway. Back to the coffee shop. I looked up all the different storage units and movers in SB and they were all pretty similarly expensive except this one. It was creepily cheap. Like, were talkin’ 20$ a month and a free driver and car. So, clearly being a cheap college kid I chose that one. I called them up and the woman said to come down and sign the papers.

So I put the address in my iphone, hopped in the car, and drove. I bypassed downtown on the highway and got off about in the area of Santa Barbara that you could say isn’t as nice as the rest (because its still Santa Barbara for craps sake). I turned off on this street called Yanonali street and was driving pretty slow so that I wouldn’t miss the storage place. First, I saw about 5 men. And then a few feet later I was able to see about 60 Hispanic men all lined up on the side of the road. I thought something was wrong or they needed something so I slowed down. They all started running towards my car and yelling! In like .2 seconds my car was surrounded by literally 40+ men yelling “What you need? What you need?! How much hour?!” I was so confused! I rolled down the passenger window a bit and asked if they needed anything. Amongst the yelling, this one younger guy explained in perfect English that I had come to the road where people pick up day labor.

Excuse me?

He asked if I had any jobs or needed any work done and explained that that was what all these men wanted. They were asking for work and wanting to know how much pay per hour. I said I was sorry and that I didn’t have any work I needed done and asked if there was anything I could do for them. There wasn’t of course.

So I kept driving and found the storage unit about 45 seconds later. All the while I was just incredulous that there was a street where men (I am fairly certain they are immigrants and probably are undocumented) gather and wait to be picked up for labor. Obviously they find work there everyday, or else they wouldn’t go there! Who is picking up these workers off the street and just taking them to work?

I walked into the storage building, which was basically just a giant warehouse. The woman whom I had just talked to on the phone wasn’t there, instead there was a sign that said they would be back in 20 minutes.

45 minutes later she showed up and sold me a storage unit. However, she said that my credit card had been denied and so I had to call the bank and fix the issue. As it turns out, she had typed in the wrong expiration date. Cool. After signing all the papers and whatnot she informed me that today was the day that the driver was off duty, so there would be no truck or driver to help me.

Excuse me?

How the hell was I supposed to move my mattress, boxes, etc my myself AND without a car that would fit it?

Wait a minute…

I asked the woman if I could hire one of the men on the adjacent road for like 20 or 30$ an hour. She said, “Why sure! But just offer them 9$, that is what they work for anyway. Tell them you will give them a tip! A propina!”

Umm, no thanks. 9 dollars per hour is below minimum wage in California. I’m not really interested in slavery, but thank you.

I thanked her and got in my car and left. As I approached the area with all the men, I slowed down and waved over a young looking guy (he was kinda cute!). He didn’t speak any English so I did my best with my Spanish. I told him I could pay 40$ for two hours of moving stuff. He hopped in and off we went.

It was so awkward. I tried to tell him that I am a university student and that I was moving, but I am not sure if was able to understand me. I drove all the way home with him in silence (like 20 minutes). We went in my emptyish house and I waved him into my room and garage and pointed at the stuff I needed help moving. For the next 30 minutes we moved stuff into the car and I finished packing. My mattress wouldn’t fit inside the car so we put it on top. The only problem was that I had no rope to tie it down…

So, we used electrical wires and extension cords. Yeah. Safe, eh? He did a really good job of fitting everything into the car and tying strong knots with freakin’ plastic.

We hopped into the car and started driving back to the highway. I stopped by an ATM and gave him the 40$. Before we had even gotten on the highway, at like 30 MPH, the mattress started lifting off the top of the car and bending backward.


I asked him (in Spanish) if he thought it would be okay to get on the highway. He laughed and shrugged. I rolled down the front windows and motioned him to use his arm. So we got onto the highway with our arms hanging out the windows, holding onto the mattress.

We had to drive in the slow lane for the 20 miles at like 40 MPF. The speed limit is 65, but we only got honked at once. I had to pull off to the side to rest my arm twice. I was so afraid a policeman would pull us over. My friend may have had to get the heck outta there if that had happened.

We made it back to the storage unit and in like 10 minutes flat we he had got all my stuff into the little unit. I thanked him and he smiled, said “okay!” and started walking back to the road where I had picked him up.

So bizarre.

I went home, passed out for two hours, and decided to use the UCSB gym and pool one last time. I swam for 30 minutes. I didn’t do a set workout because I just wanted to think about what had happened. Afterwards I went to the gym and did this little number…

Weights Workout

  • 12 bicep curls (15 lbs)
  • 12 tricep extensions (30 lbs)
  • 3x 12 squats with 50 lb barbell
  • 2x 30 lunges with a 12.5 lbs weight in each hand
  • 3x 12 “raises” (I don’t know what they are called) with 50 lb weight. This is where you hold the barbell in your hands, hanging down, bent over at a 90 degree angle. Then use your back and butt to stand up straight.
  • 2×12 step ups (onto a tall step) per leg, holding 8 lbs ball
  • 50 butt/leg lifts per leg
  • 30 side kicks per leg
  • 50 butt/leg lifts per leg
  • 30 side kicks per leg

After the workout I sipped a vanilla protein shake while I prepared dinner, which was delicious and simple. Try out the recipes!

Sweet & Salty Kale Salad: Cook a bunch of de-stalked kale in a pan so that it burns just a little. Toss with 2 tsp olive oil, several grinds of salt, and 2 tsp honey.

Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Almond butter Sauce: Prepare whole wheat pasta (about a cup cooked). In a bowl, mix together 2 tbsp almond butter, a few drops canola oil, and a couple tbsp’s water. Mix and microwave for 15 seconds. Toss with pasta!

After dinner I had to pack up my stuff for the rest of summer. I fit all my stuff for the next three months into 1 large suitcase, 1 carry on suitcase, and a backpack. Beat that suckaz!

Then, I had to clean the house so that me and my house mates can get our deposits back. That sucked. One of the girls left lots of food. Nastyyy jars of spaghetti sauce and moldy cheese. I took out 7 bags of trash. SEVEN. And this was round 2 of my cleaning.

I had intended leaving Santa Barbara by 9, but I didn’t get outta the house until 11:30pm.

This is part two of the weird story.

My plan was/is to drive to Long Beach to stay with my friend Maddie on Wednesday and Thursday (today), go to a carnival/concert with her and some friends on Friday, and fly out to Texas on Saturday.

So, I put her address into my iphone and set off. It said it would take 2 hours, but I figured I could make it in about 100 minutes. An hour and a half later, my iphone said that I was there! But wait….

Im in Pasadena?

I checked the directions and it turns out that my END address had been mysteriously changed to some pub in Pasadena called Brauhaus. Bro-House. Cooool.

I put in her address again and find that I am 4 highways and 45 minutes away from her house.

F M L.

It is now 1 in the morning and I am almost an hour away. Whatever. Im’a do this.

So I get back on the highway and am following directions, but California highways can get so complicated! I was driving and driving and being so careful! It was dark and super foggy. It seemed so eery, like I was in the future world where there is no trees or greenery. There was tons of construction on every highway I got on. 6 lane highways had been reduced to 1 lane, but because it was so late at night, there was hardly anyone on the road besides me and the construction workers. I was checking my map like a psychopath. The highway split into something like “Port ABCDE” and Groves Road. That wasn’t part of my directions… So I took the port side.

And then I ended up on an island.

I still have no clue where I was. I had gone over some kind of suspension bridge and was now off the mainland. There were tons of oil refineries. These giant machines dipping into the ground. And then I proceeded to get lost among all these “Port” roads. There were no other regular cars on the roads I was on. All there was were giant, strange looking trucks with missing cargo holders. I am fairly certain regular cars were not supposed to be where I was. I am pretty sure it was oil refinery crew only.

And I almost drove onto a ship?

Whatever. I made it to Maddison’s house at about 2:45. I used the spare key to get in and crashed on the spare bed. Five minutes later, I got a text from her asking me to pick her up at a party because they were drunk and stranded.


I got to bed at about 3:15am. I am so tired. But I still woke up at 8 and can’t fall back asleep.

24 thoughts on “The weirdest day of my life.

  1. wow girl! that’s quite a story..I’m glad you got home safetly!!! the kale looks good..I love honey!!! 🙂

  2. That first comment was for your original post saying that you were typing a story…

    OMG, you’re post is one of the best posts I’ve ever read! So funny and I totally know how you feel on so many of those parts. Oh, and welcome to California- home of the illegal immigrants on the side of the road waiting for work! It’s all over around northern cali.

    What a day you had… one that never ended, too! Sheesh!!

    And to top it off, after the hiatus in the car to your friend’s house, you have to pick her up. lol NOT FUN!

    You poor thing! Rest and relax… you’ll be in Texas soon!

  3. OH MY GOODNESS. That is such a weird day. Half the stuff you did, I’m sure I’d be utterly freaked out….Good job surviving!

  4. This post left me speechless. I’ve been staring at my computer screen. Haahaha! Oh my goodness, I’m just so glad you didn’t run into an serious trouble although you certainly had the most bizarre sequence of events occur. I’m so glad you posted this b/c you can come back and read it a year and laugh. Hope today has been a little less hectic! 🙂

  5. Hahahahaha. Lauren! Can I just say there are streets in every city in CA with the Mexicans? Haha. They do a lot of construction work and stuff like that. And the minimum wage is $8 an hour so you wouldn’t have been advocating slavery. I love you though. And am really sad you won’t be with me next year. Some day were gonna have to go to the oil refinery together to explore.

  6. weird!! i would have been so confused! k at first when they were yelling “what do you need” that reminded me of some crazy movie where ur trapped in a dream but its real life with no clue of whats going on!

    at least u know some spanish! i only learnt a bit of french here so if i was in ur shoes.. well.. i wouldnt want to imagine it!

    oh the exhaustion.. love the last pic.. cuppa joe didnt do it it seems.. lol


  7. Omg your spanish came in handy?! haha…I’m just struggling through my spanish classes wondering when the heck I’m ever going to need to use this stuff. Spanish is pretty abundant in California though. 😛
    Also, love the pic of you @ the end. That’s basically me every morning! hehe…


  8. I love how you turned down slavery. That’s awesome. 😛

    Too bad it sort of bit back though because he clearly didn’t do too good of a job tying that mattress down.

    Oh well. At least you enjoyed a pensive weights workout..?!

    🙂 aletheia

  9. Haha, I think I would have indulged in “slavery”…but you are way nicer and more generous than I am! And god, if I had 40+ men screaming and surrounding my car, I would be so freaked out!

  10. I still can’t believe you ended up IN PASADENA.

    So these places with day labor workers…they are speckled all over LA. One of the most random being at an am/pm in the Valley near my pretty nice suburban hometown, Calabasas….it’s the WEIRDEST thing, I know. Growing up, I never really understood the huge crowds of questionable-looking hispanic men congregating around the place…or around other places more Downtown or in, say, Reseda (another Valley city)…thought they were all friends taking a morning or midday break together. LOL. Oh Katie.

    I am really glad you did not get hurt in all this….you are a gorgeous girl and need to be careful!!!!!!! I also love how you, you know, threw two recipes into this post in the middle of making an illegal (<- not to stereotype, but very likely) friend and driving onto an oil-drilling island. No big deal.

  11. Holy cow girl, that is legit in-SANE. Just one of those days where more and more things get stacked onto the pile of crazy. Happened to me a few days ago too with trains in France. Luckily I wasn’t in the driver’s seat like you, I don’t think I could’ve kept my cool!

  12. I wake up early and can’t fall asleep all the time. OH MY GOODNESS this post had me on the edge of my seat the entire time; you’re too funny and a great writer. I love the picture at the end. I’m so impressed you got a workout in with all that madness (plus a pretty hard workout at that). hope you get some time to kick back!

  13. please include more workouts im in desperate neeedddddddd.. haha.. but loser come stay with me if you need to!! all you would have to do is cook healthy meals for us and my parents would pay you to live with us. so pleaseee let me know if you need a place to stay! ill text you tomorrow about it since its 3 in the morninn

  14. LADY! I love you tenacity…cant wait to get home and hug you

    i need some of your attitude in boston…for real.

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