I’ve mentioned him before, and apparently he’s a nice guy you get to know him. Today I saw a woman lose a scrap of paper from her armload of files and oversized mailing tubes. She started to shift her things around, so that she’d be able to reach down and grab the paper without letting lose a landslide of pages. He was standing right next to her on the corner, so he stopped what he was doing and gallantly stepped in to retrieve the page for her and slip it back into her mass of papers, somewhere approximately close to where it had fallen from. She was appreciative, gave him a smile and a thank you. The stoplight changed and he watched her cross the street and disappear behind the Old Navy building. Then he picked up where he had left off. He thrust his cardboard sign out toward the nearest car window: “Frye Apt. and Seattle Police your are Communist devil Communist you are damn liar! stop. Catholic your are Father the liar! stop. I am the son of God,” and he resumed his cyclical rant, “Hey, Seattle! Listen up.”
I was selecting a CD to put on and I heard the beginning of that last Flaming Lips album start up somewhere outside. So I cracked the window a bit and started browsing through a magazine, waiting to see if the music would be stopped or the volume lowered. The album kept going and it sounded pretty good filtered through the traffic and bird chatter.
I flipped ahead in the magazine to the Andy Richter interview. I’d been reading bits of it earlier, when I was having lunch at the Thai place that I used to go to a lot. But I had become self-conscious reading it in public because the title makes it look like a fringe religious magazine. So I ended up tucking it away in my backpack. I’m pretty sure that some of the staff at that restaurant think I’m a little odd, and I didn’t want to make them believe that I might be taking a lunch break from peddling copies of The Watchtower.
The music coming in from outside became slightly muffled about a minute into the last song on the album. Then the sound receded into the distance as if someone were carrying the CD player away with them. The music was gone before the song had finished. I was just finished with the Andy Richter interview and was thinking about laundry. So I fished around for some quarters. If the washer doesn’t reject the coin with the nick gouged into it’s edge, then I have just enough for two loads in the washer if I combine them into one dryer load. When I’m done with that, I’ll probably have either ice cream or tea. I have a sudden craving for both.
One afternoon, about a year and a half ago, I was buying lunch for Robert. He was depressed, and I wasn’t feeling up to attempting to steer him toward a more upbeat mood. We were standing in line to order. The song that was playing on the cafe’s speakers ended, and Ring of Fire came on. Just to break the silence, I said, “Is this Johnny Cash?” Robert rose straight out of his slump and his face brightened with recognition, “Yes, it is. I love Johnny Cash.” We sat down to eat and Robert went on for a good twenty minutes on Johnny Cash. When I left him at the end of the meal, he was in a cheery mood.
Fall arrived all at once on Saturday night. By all at once I don’t mean that there was a gust of wind and the leaves fell from their trees, but the shift between the seasons happened over just a couple of hours. I had dinner on Broadway and then went home. It was still a summer evening. I was inside for a while before I noticed the sound of rainfall outside. The rain had already passed by the time I got out to walk around. The rain-smell in the air was strong and earthy, almost pungent. It was fall. I should have taken a jacket.
It’s been a couple of days. Now I’m tracking in little yellow leaves from the tree next to the building entrance. It was gray out today and it was raining for awhile. For the time being, I think I’m finding this weather more comfortable after our 50 days over 70 degrees.
The parking attendants are back, at least during the day shift. Also, the old no-tech manual payment station was covered with a sign and now there’s an automated system in place for people to use during the unattended hours. (All major credit cards are accepted.)
The attendants’ uniform involves a red polo shirt now; and that tie remains untouched, tucked away on a hook behind the door of the attendant’s booth, fading and decaying. The polo shirts might only be a summer uniform. If they revert to the white shirt/black tie combo, then the tie might find its way back into occasional use again some day.