I don’t wear these jeans very often – the pair that has my usual waist size and inseam size inverted – they’re an inch short in the leg and an inch too wide at the waist. The bit of extra exposed ankle leaves room for a surprising amount of ventilation. The pants drape over my legs pretty loosely, so there’s some room to move around in. I guess they’re good enough for the odd warm summery day, but I’m always overly conscious of them when I have them on: I am wearing pants.
On a late night walk along Lake Union, past the lakeside chain restaurants and through a quiet street of warehouses, I saw an anonymous white van parked in an otherwise abandoned parking strip. I could just make out the figure of a man framed by the driver’s side window. He had the same profile as Lenin. I thought I saw him tense up when I walked by, but he didn’t turn to look at me.
I peered down every dark driveway until I found the little park that I’d first stumbled upon on another late night walk, years ago. I headed carefully down the unlit steps and looked around to see if anyone else was there. I heard nothing and saw nobody.
It’s just a tiny strip of park, with only enough room for a couple of benches and a little dock. The sound of city traffic was almost completely muffled in that spot and the steadiness of the water made the quiet seem even deeper. I sat down on the dock for awhile to watch the water.
My little moment gradually faded when I began to sense someone else’s presence in the park. I looked back at the shore; but it was completely dark and I couldn’t see any movement. I figured I was only being paranoid, so I turned back to the lake and watched the city’s lights being reflected out across the water toward me. Someone grunted behind me. There was still no sound of anybody moving around though – no shifting shadows. Perhaps the peaceful quiet had become an eery silence, but I wasn’t quite in tune with that. I didn’t notice the eery silence until I heard the unmistakable sound of someone peeing into the lake very close by. I headed back up to the street to leave the unseen man with his privacy.
I walked away from the lake. The warehouses gave way to a strip of restaurants and bars, and then to a residential area. Turning a corner, I had a brief glimpse of an acquaintance standing on a patio and smiling at me while ruffling someone’s hair. I waved a feeble hello. Then it was along the freeway underpass with me, and up the hill via a steep set of awkward concrete steps. I was briefly turned around in a dead end street before getting back up to Broadway and then home.
I was writing about the musty Datsun Honey Bee my parents had when I was a kid. (My sister claims that the bee decals that decorated either side of the car were mismatched, but I don’t remember that.) Writing about that car transitioned into a list of the things I remembered about the time that a friend cornered me into going to a service at the Pentecostal Church where his father was the pastor. (Maybe his family was trying to convert me. I don’t know.) I was 13 or 14 years old at the time.
About two-thirds of the service was spent singing. The lyrics for most of the songs, as much like camp songs as they were like hymns, were projected onto a screen using an overhead projector. The mechanic who had worked on the Honey Bee during it’s declining years, was a member of the church, and he was present. Late in the service, the pastor – my friend’s dad – asked if anyone felt that they didn’t truly know Jesus and the mechanic stumbled up to the pulpit, weeping. The pastor and the mechanic prayed up there for a couple of minutes and then the service was ended.
Afterward, my friend went over to his mother – who was my seventh grade homeroom teacher – to ask her about something, and he backed off when he realized that she was speaking in tongues. But I think that going over to talk with his mother was really just a pretense for showing me that she was speaking in tongues. Afterwards we probably went over to his house, which was next-door to the church, and played Super Mario Brothers.
The same dog from the other day – the more excitable one – was running around yesterday for the hour or two that I was at Bauhaus. He was playing with anyone who lingered. He was sniffing around an old man’s boot, and the man tried to shake him by turning away from him playfully. The dog circled with him, following the shoe with his nose. So the man spun around twice and the dog chased the foot, his tail sweeping the breadth of the sidewalk with each turn. The dog followed when the man walked away. He stopped when he got to the edge of the curb and watched the man walk across the street, or watched the man’s boot cross the street. A bicycle shot past and he raced it for twenty feet, keeping apace, stopping short at the corner again. I think that the game was to get as close to the curb as possible, stopping from as fast a speed as possible. That’s not the only way he gets his thrills. He also stood in the doorway for awhile to investigate what was going on inside, pointedly placing one foot over the threshold to see if he’d get caught being inside. I’ve called the dog “he”, though I have no idea if it was or not.
MyLackey.com closed down 2 1/2 years ago, and this advertisement is still up in Belltown.
I’m puzzling over this quote about the company from a high school classmate of mine who worked there: “As anybody in the dot-com industry can tell you, whoever is willing to put in the time and effort is going to pay off in the end, one way or another. Big time.”
There’s a tie hanging in a padlocked parking attendant’s booth. It’s a cheap black tie with a collapsed half-Windsor knot still tied in it, the stretched-out loop hung over a hook. It’s been there for months, ever since the parking lot was transitioned from an attended lot to a self-service lot. Did the last attendant leave it behind after his final shift, or does the tie come with the booth?
- They were painting the top of the Space Needle blue. It was hard to judge whether the irregular little dots up there were people moving around or if they were fixed pieces of equipment.
- A bird landed on the little bundle of cables that runs out of a hole near the top of a lamppost. It waited a moment, maybe to make sure that no one was watching, and then hopped into the hole.
- A man hoists the wobbly black plastic bumper for a car over his shoulder and carries it to the corner and around the corner.
- There was someone sitting with the comics page folded into a tidy rectangle on the counter in front of her. She was filling in the crossword puzzle. (Is the comics page intentionally laid out so that it can be folded into quarters with the crossword fitting on one side?)
- “Comics” is an affectation when I use it to refer to the comics section. So is “soda”. I grew up calling the comics section “the funnies” and calling soft drinks “pop” and made a conscious decision to change my vocabulary.
The governing body of such things has declared that today shall henceforth be known as Backup Your Files and Your Databases Day in Struat.com, Apt. D-3 (and hell, how about Apt. 3-G, too), the Reservoir Park, and in all Territories and Protectorates Thereof (because the next hacker might do more than just replace the index.html and index.php files). Coincidentally, my calendar says that it’s also International Change Your Password Day. How can it be two days? It can be as many days as you want it to be, that’s what I always say. What day is it where you are?