Seattle 2013: Day Five

Friday, November 29

I’m sluggish.  I’m not sure what I want to make of this last day here.  We walked down to a shoreline access point on Lake Washington, very near where we’re staying.  But it was an access point in name only—a crusty, old, stubby pier, pinched in on both sides by the longer, better-placed piers of the lot owners on either side.  I longed for where we were yesterday morning—the impromptu excursion that became the best part of the day, by attrition.

I’m going to gloss over Thanksgiving dinner.  The hosts have a beautiful home, which they opened to us in every way.  We were there for about five hours.  It was a case of too much: too much of this, too much of that.  I would have liked more time to talk to Tom, who poured me scotch neat right away.  But we didn’t really talk much one-on-one until after dinner, before dessert, when he said, “Well, counselor.  I need some advice: I’m totally out of bonds, completely in stocks.  What should I do?”  Maybe it’s the sign of a market top when a man who once asked you, “What’s the secret to life?” is now asking, “What should I do with my stocks?”

Quaint suggested I should talk with him about books, Moby Dick…and instead there we were having a client meeting.  I told him to raise some cash—”There’s nothing wrong with cash, as much as 10 or 20 percent.  Then put it back in when the market falls 10 or 20%.”

I felt awkward through a lot of the night, and inept at conversation.  Someone snagged my scotch at one point—I had at least a finger left—and so I was stuck with red wine, which usually makes me woozy.  A trainer for the Seattle Mariners was among the guests and we talked for awhile—I enjoyed that: going through the roster of their players and hearing his behind-the-scenes observations.  But there were some folks there that I pretty much said “Hello” and then “Goodbye” to.  I hate that.  I guess it happens at parties but it cheapens the experience for me.  It makes the whole thing feel fake, like some production.  Too much, too much.

We’re about to set out on a walk to “Gasworks Park” by way of the Burke-Gilman Trail.  We walked for over two hours total.  To get to the Trail from Talaris we go west down 45th Street until a spot where we cross the street and do a little dipsy-do under the street before turning in toward campus.

We walked amongst students and tailgaters.  There were some pretty elaborate tailgate set-ups and the tailgaters were in full swing.  Drinks, grilling, chips, bean-bag tossing.  Along the trail were more students, some already lit.  From up on the trail we could look down to the main tailgating lot, which is not too far from the stadium.  I guess I didn’t go to a football school (Washington U.) or when I went to one later on I never went to a game (Texas).  Because this was a scene I had never seen.  The RVs surprised me most—just how many of them they were, how tightly packed into the parking lot they seemed to be.  We’ve been in town for four full days now—I’ve seen a lot of Seahawks pride but I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of UW Husky support or fervor.  So to consider the convergence of all of this activity on Husky Stadium—dozens of RVs, thousands of students—and rowdy, gray-haired alums!—it was exciting.  We saw one RV with its awning propped out, a TV going underneath, and a fire burning in a little fire pit—like an outdoor living room: incredible!

For people watching, and for having a general atmosphere to usher us along our walk, we could not have picked a better time.  For awhile we walked with the crowd toward the stadium and the tailgating lots; then there was a stretch where the walk traffic did not favor any one direction.  Then, once we got to the stadium, we pretty much went against traffic as students, alums, families carried their snacks and beer to their particular destination.

It was a little over three miles to Gasworks Park, which took us about an hour.  As we got closer to the park the trail split into two, and as walkers we were supposed to walk up along the road whilst the bikers had the lower, better, wider trail to themselves below.  We did follow the directions on our way to but not on our way back from Gasworks.

The park actually does contain the pretty extensive remnants of what I assume are old gasworks:  rusty, ungulating wide tubes and flanges, some fenced in by barbed wire (but nonetheless even more inviting to the local graffiti artists—they don’t hold a candle to you, RATFAG!) while others were sort of “open” to exploration but had been cleaned up: painted, thinned out, made less complicated.

We didn’t spend too much time on the Works—what drew me right away was the waterfront and the view of the downtown skyline.  I told B that I thought we were—at that moment—closer to the Space Needle than we had been at any other point the entire trip.  I saw two crew rowers but they were too far away for a photo and they were rowing away from us (their faced faced us…ahem!)  I was looking for textures but for good or ill much of the place seemed to have been recently painted.  I swear I saw some of the exact same grey-blue—or perhaps cerulean blue—paint that I saw covering tags or other sore spots along concrete edifices along the other side of the waterfront on Tuesday.

Showing a few more signs of wear and tear were a series of recessed alcoves, or stalls, about 18 inches deep and twenty feet tall, with a little wooden bench inset, about three feet wide.  Considering the bench, the concrete’s texture, some unwhitewashed graffiti in some, marks made from water dripping or consdensating above, and then some other-worldly looking purple ferns growing about fifteen feet up, I was made to think of these stalls as Joseph Cornell-style boxes—missing only an item or two: an odd ball of wood, some broken glass.  I rather liked them.  I took a couple of photos.  Unfortunately I can’t seem to get them onto Instagram because they are too tall to fit into the square crop of the Instagram frame.  I’ll figure something out.  Maybe I need to download one of those apps where I can do a diptych and then post two long skinny photos side by side.

B is napping as I write, all lit on cold medicine (dextromethorphan, or DXM).  It causes her to make strange, vaguely sexual gurgling noises as she struggles to find her way to REM sleep.  She’ll make one or two of these noises here and there on any random night but when she takes some ‘Tussin or one of the ‘Quils she kicks this predilection into a whole ‘nother gear.  It is entertaining to say the least.  Sorry, B!  She wakes herself up with a murmur and says, “I’m sorry!  I can’t help it.  It’s horrible!”  And then literally ten seconds after she says this she is back at it. 

For my own part, it is 14:29.  I am sipping my Jim Beam and drinking my third of four 7 Seas Brewing—British Pale Ale, crafted and canned at Gig Harbor, WA.  I’m not sure there is a better style of beer to drink while you’re sipping some bourbon. 

In a few minutes here, I am going to finish off this 7 Seas and pinch in the can at the middle.  Because guess who found some you-know-what in one of those Joseph Cornell stalls down at the Gasworks.  I mean, sure: it could be laced with PCP but I don’t care.  Thou shalt not want, indeed.

The only other things I want to remember about Gasworks are these two things:

(1)  From down by the water looking up at the big hill at Gasworks, where the people on said hill were silhouetted against white, cloudy sky—and one of those silhouettes, a kid flew a very colorful kite;

(2)  The lengthy row of blackberry bushes right along the water, still fruited with berries.  Although most of the berries were premature pink and small, some were all-out blackberries and could have been picked and eaten.  I took a photo and sent it to my Dad, who loves to pick berries.  I was surprised there were not birds working these berries.

The Huskies just scored and, with an extra point, will tie it 10-10, early second half.

The growing season obviously runs.  It’s not as though it’s warm—I had hat, gloves, winter coat, light fleece on for the entire walk down there.  The difference is the lack of extreme temperature—I am guessing there has not been any deep frost.  And probably not yet a 25° and stupid windy day.

Because we’ve seen all kinds of little flowers blooming or still in bloom.  I’ve already talked about how the green grass still is.  Very near Talaris are some red maples that are only about 30% dropped (and which 30%were indeed being leaf-blown by a groundsworker at the hospital on which ground they sat).  Does Spring start later here or is it just that much shorter of a winter?

Did someone say something about green grass?  Excuse me for just a minute. [14:42]

Onwards and upwards.  Texting with Roy.  Huskies up by ten.

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