Thursday, December 2, 2010
it's like a pie that you drink
ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my city. the city that falls to pieces in a snowstorm. absolutely to pieces. a total wreck. the thing is, we don't have the budget for de-icing machines, sanding trucks and snow plows. it wouldn't make any sense to that in the the budget when so many public schools are shutting down. snow fell last Monday in a whirling honest to god blizzard. people stuck in transit between work and home really had a mess of a time. snow is either entrancing and romantic or a big dangerous agent of chaos, depending which side of the commute you're on. i grew up driving in vermont's killer winters but you won't find me laughing at seattleites spinning uncontrollably down queen anne hill because they can't drive. of course you can't drive if the road's sheer ice and there's no plow truck or sand man to help you out. and if you own a two wheel drive car, forget about it. people say, well, you shouldn't have gone out, and i say tell that to the employers, and it's not like you should get on a bus. the buses are the worst. and the UW sent out a memo begging people not to try and bike.
i did however set out in the monday storm to get to the climbing gym. i set out a map in my head from my house point x to stone gardens point y, and was comforted to know that wherever I ran off the road I'd be walking distance from, in order: Sebby, Ammen, Katty, Maddy (most of Wallingford), Ava, Cecily, Jamen, Erik, most of Ballard. but my car just wouldn't quit and the rythmic thunk thunk of windshield wipers on high made me think of vermont. dad picking me up from school when i was a kid, climbing out of the heavy snow and into the car and thinking i don't have to worry anymore. that sound becomes like a mechanical heartbeat in the weirdly quite den of snowed out streets.
the days that followed the storm were very soft and quiet. the city seemed meek, put in it's place by the few inches of white on the ground. roads were closed and abandoned buses that jacknifed across streets just sat there. thanksgiving floated by and i had very little interest in it. it was the first time i can remember i didn't spring into action or at least get excited. of all the celebrations i went to i only prepared something for one of them, and that was a last minute thing i threw together because my sister and brother in law said didn't you say you were going to....
i sat on the floor of my friends apartment in phinney, playing apples to apples with their friends, all strangers to me, drinking a horrendously sweet apple pie drink with whiskey covered in whipped cream. cecily and molly are my friends from back in vermont, we went to middle school and high school before I went to AQ. I was grateful to be with them, 'transplants' we call ourselves, and even more grateful to be around people I didn't know. when you're a little tired of yourself, it's so much easier to be around people you don't know. especially when they're a little drunk and there is a fire going and you have no qualms telling your most embarrassing stories. and everyone thinks you are just hilarious.
i was less interested in thanksgiving or food or traditions this year and more into going climbing and reading books about energy. lately i've been searching through the metaphysical bookstore across from whole foods, the one with all the tibetan gongs and buckets chrystals. i go by myself, certainly. i'm thinking lately that not everything is quite right, and i'm curious to know what it is. i'll buy books on breath and chakras and light. just interested not converted. and then go sit at a bar and drink beer and read them, fingers tapping out rhythms on the glossed wood counter. maybe a coffee shop, but caffeine lately makes me feel ballistic. i'll order something and my stomach will turn before I even pick up the cup. beer brings me down, in a good way. i now know what hoppy means. i once went on a date with the beer ranger for new belgium. He posed in pantaloons for a marketing thing, and his photo is everywhere. on the back of rolling stone everywhere. i always think fondly of him when i drink new belgium. it's funny what random grocery list of fond things we'll stack up in our lifetimes. For me: israel, personal flotation devices, hypnosis, and memphis TN.
then I drove to portland and walked around the hawthorn and drank an irish car bomb at an english pub, so slowly it had almost curdled solid when I was done with it. i contemplated throwing it up neatly into the cup from whence it came but figured that'd be a waste of the french fries we had bought. i saw a few friends, including one of my old co-workers from the kayak school. we sought out the pearl district and took the max train. ate italian rice balls in red sauce and deviled eggs on long, fancy plate. i ordered a basil infused drink that looked elegant and tasted like lemon pledge.
and then i came back, and life resumed itself as per usual. the snow was gone. and so soon i'll be back in vermont and it's amazing, the duality of life, how many things happen and how nothing changes, ever.