Not So Minty

I’d just gotten a new box of Sudafed and opened it on the way out of the store. I walked around the corner outside while pressing one of the little plastic bubbles so that the pill would break through the foil card on the other side. I tried to choke the pill down without a cup of water; it didn’t quite make it. It stuck to the back of my tongue and started to dissolve. The bitter medicine spread through my mouth. So I stopped under a bus shelter and concentrated on gulping the pill down. I continued down the hill, fishing around in my backpack for mints. I found the mints as I was crossing into the street. I cracked open the tin and the wind immediately caught hold of the little fold of paper wrapped around the mints. The paper blew out into the street and the mints went out after it. I ended up with an empty tin in my right hand and one mint in my left, not sure if I’d gotten hold of the mint before the tin’s contents blew out or if I’d caught it in mid-air.

Categorized as Before

Two Things

The empty chair across the table from me jolted up against my leg. An empty chair at the next table was pressed up against my empty chair. The woman seated at the other table must have shifted in her seat, pushing her feet against her empty chair. The kick was amplified through the one chair, the next chair, and into my leg. She didn’t seem aware of it.

Birds swarm around the pier in a jittery swirl of chirps. They pass overhead, zip down among the barnacle-encrusted pylons, and come up again from the side. Two seperate flocks come up from opposite sides. The groups collide and merge; and the combined group speeds away in a new direction.

The days are getting longer. The sun hangs out past the water in the west sky, resisting the horizon.

Categorized as Before


The theme for this week’s photos is signs, or it would be signs except that I started out with two photos that aren’t sign-related.

No one thought it was strange that I included hats as a public utility last week?

Bean #400

There’s a crowd gathered at the end of a downtown hotel’s driveway. There’s a folding chair leaning against one of the sapling that’s planted in the sidewalk – it’s covered in signatures. One man is down on his knees, flipping through glossy autographed 8×10’s of professional wrestlers in a three-ring binder. This seems familiar. It’s the same hotel and maybe it’s the same group of fans. Looking for pro wrestlers in Seattle? It seems that the Hyatt is the place to start.

Categorized as Before


I wore khaki slacks, but before that I ironed khaki slacks. I’ll tell you about it sometime. How about now? It’s a good time for me, I’d be out somewhere, but I’ve just painted my front door and can’t close it until it’s dry. You’re stuck with me. So you might as well make yourself comfortable while I tell you about my pants and how I ironed them.

I don’t have an ironing board, so I did the work on a towel spread over the corner of my coffee table. When I finished ironing, I tried the pants on. They looked fine in the mirror, but the thought crossed my mind that they might need to have a crease ironed down the front of each pant leg. Do you do that with khakis, or only with more formal slacks? I couldn’t remember. I found some catalog photos online – pictures of smiling men enjoying their pants. Every pant leg had a neat and crisp crease down the front. So I set up the makeshift ironing board again, swapped the slacks for the jeans I’d been wearing earlier, and went back to work, carefully ironing a crease down the front of each leg.

When I finished I put the pants back on and checked out my handiwork in the mirror. The right leg was fine. The crease on the left leg veered off course from the front of my thigh, down toward the outside of the leg at the cuff. The left pants leg didn’t seem to be straight, it was trying to point out in front of me. The inseam twisted itself out about sixty degrees from the inside of my leg, so that at the cuff it was almost at the front of my leg. Someone had sold me a pair of irregular pants.

In the end, to compensate for the twisted leg, I ironed in a new crease that angled from the front of the pants leg down toward the inseam. The original seam didn’t iron out as completely as I’d hoped, so I ended up with a forked crease on my left leg. By the time I was out the door, the whole thing was a rumpled maze of wrinkles. They would impress nobody.

That’s the story of my pants.

Categorized as Before

Horse Play

The sound of a ruckus coming up behind me – some variety of turmoil, hooting and hollering. It sounds like trouble. When I turn to look though, a pack of bicycle police zip by. They’re pushing the speed limit. The two or three up front have a bit of a lead. They’re working the pedals hard now, trying to sustain their lead. The guys in back are laughing and taunting, “Ride through it, Mark! Ride through it!”

(In retrospect I should’ve yelled out, “Pop a wheelie!”)

Categorized as Before


  • The clouds moved away just as the hail finished up, and we had a brisk clear afternoon.
  • There were a couple of dogs waiting outside Vivace for their owners to come out with their coffee. They were a distraction, I slowed down while I was walking by, causing a little congestion in the foot traffic around me. I shook off the dogs’ influence and walked on toward the corner, noticing a neighbor just as we passed each other headed in opposite directions. She caught my aborted wave with her peripheral vision and we turned a little to nod an awkward hello.
  • The way the flag is hung at the post office on the corner, it kind of flies adjacent to its flagpole rather than on its flagpole.
  • Down on Denny, I tried to get a photo of a bird bathing in a puddle. It jumped into a tree and flexed it’s feathers to shake off some loose drops of water. (Also, at the same time that it was drying itself, it pooped a little.) The bird was nervous of my attention and it skipped away to a farther branch, where it opened its beak and made a chirpy Meow. If I were to personify the birds behavior after that, I would say that it seemed a bit embarrassed. It waited on the branch for a moment and considered something, before flying away, retreating completely.
  • Police had put up a set of barriers at Westlake Center to keep any demonstrations contained. There was a group quietly pacing short and tight single-file circles around the little arch. There were no anti-war protesters, aside from the tall man leering at the demonstrators. He had a grimy old flag wrapped around his waste as a skirt. Police, some in riot gear and others wearing bicycle getups, were hanging off toward the side. The policemen’s bicycles were all parked along the open end of the fenced in area, as a porous fourth wall. The one closest to the fence fell over when I walked past it.
  • I ran into my neighbor again across from Pike Place Market, we stopped at the same corner at the same time.
  • There was a broken window, patched with cardboard, at the classy little hat store. I took a few photos and a woman (wearing a hat) came out and asked, “Anything specific you’re taking a picture of.” “The broken window.” “Just for fun?” I didn’t really have an answer. “. . . I’m wondering if you know something about it?” Okay, time for me to go.
Categorized as Before


A couple of weeks ago, I saw a man wearing a “Seattle Public Utilities” vest zipping around on a Segway down on Pine.

Blog Meetup, Then War

There was another Weblogger Meetup today. It was pretty lively this month. We were chased out of the cafe an hour after it had closed though. Some of the others seemed to be organizing a second stop, but I headed home.

Among those who were present: Anita,
and two others,
Update: Mike and Brian.

I didn’t borrow the list from tyd’s site this month. But I just checked her site to find the two names I missed and she missed them too.

I passed the Federal Building on the way back, there was a small group of protesters. Someone was playing bagpipes. I got home and turned on the TV. NBC was broadcasting an Al Jazeera feed of an address by Saddam Hussein. The audio was drifting between the voices of three different translators, not staying on the same feed for longer than a minute. So I switched to NPR. And now it’s wartime.

Categorized as Before

Calls to India

If you drop the last letter off of my Scottish last name, you get a common Indian last name.* The telemarketer who just called asked for Sharma Jeffrey. I decided that I must be Sharma Jeffrey and told him so. Then he hesitated before making a short sales pitch in Hindi (I assume). He finished and waited for me to say something. I was pretty much stumped, but in short order, I gathered my bearings and remembered to gather Sharma Jeffrey’s bearings too. “Uh, I’m not interested.” The telemarketer hesitated and then said, “This is not a sales call.” Then he tried to sell me a competitive rate for calls to India. When I told him that I never call India, he tried to sell me some other long distance rates, and the conversation ended shortly after that.

I’m a bit conflicted. My first reaction when he stumbled over my name and I realized it was a telemarketing call was one of annoyance. But I’m also a little bit satisfied with the way the call unfolded and curious about how my number was collected.

* And, on an unrelated subject, if you leave the last letter where it is, you get a homonym for a widely advertised toilet paper brand. But that’s not open for discussion right now.

Categorized as Before