Nighttime

A woman I pass in the crosswalk plucking dollar bills from one hand where they’re wadded together like a used tissue or a head of cabbage.

A Teenager skateboarding shirtless in the dark. Something hurtled in my direction lands far enough away that I’m confident it wasn’t thrown at me. He bends down and as he passes, plucks something else from the ground – an anti-war protest sign – tosses it into the street. More signs scattered on the ground and planted among the shrubs.

A truck parked outside of The Gap, the back door open. A truckload of boxes. A portable conveyor belt leading from the rear of the truck into the store. A dozen small boxes lined up on the conveyor belt from the truck, only as far as the sidewalk. The driver standing in the street, barcode scanner held idle beside him. Another person moving around in the back of the truck. The Gap employees standing inside, staring at each other’s feet.

The Homeless Guy

The Homeless Guy, a blog written by a man who’s living homeless in Nashville. Often thoughtful and well-written:

I believe some people fear this web page may legitimize homelessness as an acceptable lifestyle, but this is not my intention. Rather, my intention is to legitamize homeless people, to show them as worthy of being treated like human beings, with compassion, acceptance, and assistance.

Link lifted from Boing Boing.

Drizzle

I’ve been resisting my caffeine addiction for the last few weeks. I cut my tea intake and have even spent a couple of days virtually caffeine-free. I’ve sat outside soaking up sunlight, feeling recharged. A couple of cups of tea will cut through my natural tension and leave an alert but nervous buzz in its place. But five minutes of light and stillness left me feeling good and relaxed, but a little uncomfortable.

The weather today has been cold and grey. There’s been a steady drizzle, interrupted frequently by a barely measurable mist.

In the afternoon I settled into a coffee shop and read over a cup of tea. My socks were damp and my feet were clammy. There was a chill whenever someone opened the door.

Today I understand Seattle a little better than I have before. I understand why the clichéd latte culture is still so conspicuous here; and I understand why we bear the stereotype of being polite yet standoffish.

Summer days in Seattle are beautiful – believe me. It’s sunny and warm. The air is fresh. But I think it’s better in the fall. It’s more comfortable and familiar.

Today was a quintessential Seattle day, all the more striking because it’s the first of its type since spring. The balance of the days in the coming months will be more like today than like yesterday. Hang your head cheerfully, Seattle.

Go Around

There is much to discuss like, for example, stoplights. Sometimes a stoplight downtown will turn red, but the stoplights in the other direction, the cross-street, fail to change. They stay on red. Everyone at the corner, driver and pedestrian, has a red light. No one has the right of way. All the stoplights stay on red for what seems like three or four minutes – longer than a regular stoplight cycle. I’ve witnessed this four or five times in the last several years. I don’t know what causes it.

Another, quicker, phenomenon may be related. Stoplights downtown sometimes change abruptly when an ambulance or police car comes through an intersection with its siren going. I don’t know if light changes for emergency vehicles are triggered by a remote control in the vehicle, a dispatcher tracking the car back at headquarters, a sound sensor, or something else. But emergency light changes are over with quickly.
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