Yesterday was a glorious Wellington summer day. With my toddler entertained in the back seat by our dog, and my husband riding in the passenger seat, I set off behind the wheel. Our destination was "anywhere downtown".
Casually chatting while sitting in stopped traffic, I noticed the back of a man meandering down the hill heading in the same direction as us and sipping a smoothie.
I interrupted my husband, "See, now that's what I picture Joe Wellington to look like now." In fact, he kind of looked like the guy I saw at the market so many months earlier (the first possible sighting).
We drove closer and as I was about to pass him, I got a better glimpse. Hmm... deep set eyes, lighter hair color, and a goatee. And glasses like the man from the first sighting. I shrieked, "Omg! What if that's him?!"
My husband quickly pulled up a photo of Joe Wellington that was on his phone (the photo from this blog) and said, "it could be! Quick, turn around!"
So right there- in the middle of a very busy street- I stopped and did a U-Turn. But it wasn't as smooth as I intended it to be. Not like in the movies at all. The front fender of our car scraped across the sidewalk and my husband wasn't happy. I cringed at the sound of the damage.
"Lissa! What are you doing?!" Traffic behind me came to a stop and one angry cab driver honked.
"We can't lose him!" I laughed. This was an opportunity I couldn't miss.
My husband was so embarrassed that I was holding up traffic that he was hiding his face. My son in the back seat thought this was hilarious and began laughing along with me.
Fully turned in the other direction, I continued on our way and passed the possible Joe Wellington. This time I got an even better view of his face. I was sure it was him. My heart racing, I had to talk to him.
My husband suggested to turn around again so not to lose sight of him. Not wanting to get our car into more trouble or embarrass my husband more, I turned down a side street. The side street ended up being one long narrow road in Mt Cook. No place to turn around.
Finally finding a location safe enough to turn around, I hightailed it down the main road again. And there he was- standing at a stoplight! I felt like I couldn't catch my breath, so excited.
The light switched green and "Joe" began to cross the road.
"Yell 'Joe' out the window," I told my husband.
He obliged, rolling down the window. "Joe!"
Laughing, almost in hysterics now, I managed to see his face clearly as he turned to see who the crazy people were yelling at him from a car. And I felt even more certain it was him.
"He looked! He looked!" I exclaimed.
"Uh, yeah because someone was yelling at him from a moving car..."
At another stoplight and almost downtown, I didn't know what to do next. Turn around again? Keep yelling at him from the window? I didn't want to stalk the poor man, but I was so sure it was Joe Wellington!
Apparently my husband had a plan. "Alright, I'm getting out. I'm going after him." And with that, my ever-so-helpful husband jumped out of the car at a stoplight in busy downtown traffic.
In shock, I couldn't stop laughing.
I didn't know where to go at this point, and I was laughing so hard at this scenario that I couldn't focus on driving. So I pulled into a parking lot at Briscoes, a local housewares store well known here in New Zealand. Since there were signs everywhere saying "Customer Parking Only", I decided to get out of the car and...well, go shopping. Why not?
Of course I couldn't really go shopping as my adrenaline was rushing and I couldn't focus on anything. I kept checking my phone for a report from my husband. My son was happy climbing up and down and jumping on the rugs (50% off now, by the way).
A text from my husband that read, VISUAL ON THE TARGET.
Like being in some fast paced movie or show like Homeland or 24, only with an outcome that would be a much better reunion if our "target" proved to be my friend.
Another text: AT THE WAREHOUSE. DOES HE LIKE XBOX?
My response: I HAVE NO IDEA. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SHOULD I COME THERE?
This was so exciting!
In what seemed like hours, I finally got another text: NEGATIVE. ON WAY.
My heart sank. What did this mean? Had he asked the dude if he was Joe Wellington?
I grabbed my boy and headed back to the car. My husband approached the car shaking his head.
"No?" I asked, moving over to the passenger seat. I had enough driving for today. Our poor front fender could not handle the excitement anymore, either.
"I asked him if his name happened to be Joe and he said, 'I'm afraid it's not.' So... there ya go. Darn. I thought we had the guy."
Feeling hopeless, we continued on our journey. Throughout the day we enjoyed reminiscing about our search- the kilometer chase that gave me (and us) hope that Joe Wellington was this smoothie loving, downtown meandering, Xbox player.
I am still in awe this is taking so long to find him. Can someone please tell me where is Joe Wellington?