There I was, standing on the side of a street, in front of what looked like an abandoned construction site, barefoot, my legs covered in mud, last Thursday night. We were in Santa Barbara. After a minute or two a woman with dark brown hair and a yellow jumpsuit turned the corner, looked at me, and said, "honey, you look like you're having a night."

She was right. I had been having a night.

It started a couple of hours before when I told Skylar that I was going to go for a run on the beach. He went surfing in another part of town. We had planned to meet back up for dinner after our activities.

The run was getting along just fine, until I got lost. The tide was coming in and it was getting dark and I couldn't remember how to get back to my car. I also came across about nine different dogs that I had to stop and give so much belly rubs.

By the time I escaped all of the unintentional detours I had run over 12 miles.

The point is, I was starving, and tired, and sufficiently cranky.

Skylar had arranged for us to meet some of his friends at an Indian restaurant, and we were already running late.

I drove, which I realized was a mistake as soon as I saw that I was going to have to parallel park on a busy street.

People who can parallel park should be in charge of the rest of us. They should get two votes in every election. We should have to pay taxes to these people.

Look. I can normally stay pretty calm in stressful situations. But that all comes crumbling down as soon as I'm pressured to quickly parallel park on a busy California street.

I got honked at. By a bus.

For his part, Skylar tried very hard to talk me down from my panics as I came within inches of several car accidents.

After a full eternity and a half, I got the car situated. I was climbing out of it, barking at Skylar that he would be in charge of all future driving, when I suddenly stepped onto what I thought was going to be sturdy ground, but turned out to be that quicksand from The Princess Bride. But, like, a much muddier version.

I sunk into the mud halfway to my knees. After several clumsy attempts, I pried myself loose from the mess, screaming so many profanities that the entire town of Santa Barbara is now technically considered a crime scene until further notice.

There was no sidewalk because of the construction site on the side of the road. So there I stood, on the side of a busy street, stripping my shoes and socks off of my feet so I could bang them against the asphalt to ineffectively free them from mud.

Skylar stood and stared for a moment, acknowledging that there was no way I could walk into any establishment in such a state, and then telling me he was going to find me shoes.

The next thing I knew, he was sprinting away from me, embarking on his own version of Supermarket Sweep. He was already out of my line of vision when I realized that I didn't even tell him my shoe size.

I didn't have my phone with me. I had left it at our Airbnb because I was doing this new stupid thing where I sometimes leave my phone at home because I guess I don't want the convenience that I pay for available to me at certain times.

I decided not to run after him, and that's when the yellow jumpsuit woman told me it looked like I was having a night.

I nodded as she walked by, almost immediately losing interest in me.

Skylar returned twenty minutes later, kindly not telling me how pathetic I looked. He handed me a box of shoes. Inside was a pair of black sneakers, almost identical to the ones I had just destroyed. He got the size exactly right. My muddy legs and squeaky-clean shoes jogged to an Indian restaurant to join our already-seated friends.

I hope every one of you finds your own Skylar.

And now, please enjoy our second part of our stories of asylum.

This time in Strangerville, Meg and Eli discuss their contractor woes. And as a second part to last week’s episode, another attorney discusses his experiences helping asylum seekers at the U.S./Mexico border.Asylum II, by Austin BairdMusic: Crucible by WildlightFrom: The Free Music ArchiveProduced by Eli McCann & Meg Walter

~It Just Gets Stranger