There’s a man carrying two guitars or one guitar and it’s case. The first is tucked behind his right shoulder, it’s neck pointing out over his head. The other is pressed against his left side by the three extra large hula hoops hanging over that shoulder. He walks a straight line from the corner right up to a friend who is standing in the sidewalk. He stands close, almost leaning up against her. They chat briefly and she disappears behind him. Then he whirls around and they walk quickly, back in the direction he came from.
Jessica and I meet for coffee a few hours after her most recent transforming experience. Among the things she’s done is gotten religion, and when Jesus comes up — surprisingly, it may have been me who brought him up — she says that he was a strong and good man, and that every one of us has the potential to be as good as him. “Yes,” I joke, “Though I don’t think I’ll become as good as Jesus.” She tells me, earnestly, that I’m being self-deprecating.
There’s a group walking in the parking lot outside the strip mall-deli where I’m having lunch. The group is comprised of an adult woman, three girls of about ten years old, and a boy. The girls are wearing matching pink stocking caps and make-up. Each appears to be talking on a cell phone. They haave to be unbearable, I think. I look to the face of the woman — who’s walking right behind them — and I’m surprised to find no sign of weariness or even a flicker of bemusement. The little boy is a couple of years younger than the girls. He wanders along on the periphery of the group, watching his feet. He balances on the edge of a curb until he trips, and then paces along behind the others, pointedly avoiding the cracks in the pavement. He’s tuned the others out.
Awhile later, the group walks into the deli. They order and find a table. They set their purses down and huddle in together. One of them holds her phone out in front of her. “Bring your cell phones,” she says. The second girl holds her’s up next to the other to compare them. “Mine’s the best. It’s blue.” The cell phones are really phone-shaped candy dispensers. They were only playing cell phone. They walk away, the third girl jogs behind them to catch up. She puts her phone phone up to her ear and says, “Hello?” She’s talking into a green iPod.
The Qwest technician arrived a day early. He was dressed entirely in denim. We found the phone box on the landing between the second and third floors. It’s a narrow wooden cabinet set into the wall. When he opened the door, he seemed alarmed by the Frankensteinian jumble of circuits. It looks like its pieced together from components manufactured in at least three non-consecutive decades.
The green dimpled water of Elliot Bay sways gently. A duck bursts forward. It’s feet drag along the surface for a man’s length and its wings beat against either side of it’s narrow wake, until it gains a foot in altitude. A yacht comes rumblng out of the public dock and erases the duck’s path. That’s when the boy knocks his little sister over, the dogs start fighting, and the traffic on Elliot Avenue becomes audible again. The water near the pier has a thin oily sheen.