Seattle and The Forests

Sunday Morning Magazine
So it appears our choices for the presidency is a man who it is said, screws a few and a woman who screws everyone.
Oh, I beg your puddin for that one. I thought it up Friday on the plane after hearing about the latest brouhaha and couldn’t resist.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like we are in the 40th month of this election. We need a thousand trucks full of Hostess HoHo’s to explode all over America’s highways to get this, dare I say it, political kudzu off the scenes, radio and internet.
So, now that I have you stewing, I will have to settle you down with stories from Seattle and the Pacific.img_0554
I have a much easier time traveling to Europe than to the west coats, time wise, that is.
When you go to Europe, you just miss part of your day. That’s cool. I can adjust easily. But traveling to the west coast? You have to relive three hours.
That is tiring. And just about when you are getting the hang of it, you go home.
Hence, I am off-kilter and spouting bad political jokes.
What I saw of the state of Washington is beautiful. I saw much of what I saw from overhead. Glorious and majestic mountains … some, including Mt. St. Helens, that has blown itself up. It is an incredible sight from the air. Half a mountain.
Flying home on Friday, we flew over stunning snow covered rocky mountains. They looked unexplored, content in their isolation from man.
Outside our cabin was the Pacific. The waves never stopped crashing. It was a roar. A thunderous cacophony of water.
We ate at the lodge, which reminded me a bit of some of the places in Ireland. There was a nice nook of a bar where we sat while waiting for our table. We decided we liked sitting there so much that we ate there.
Seattle is a cool city. It has a lot of construction going on. At breakfast on the morning we left, I sat and talked to the waiter. he was a man of 62, a life-long Seattle man, who said that he didn’t like what was happening in Seattle. “Everything looks the same,” he said. “My rent has gone up $400.00 a month.”
I told him I never thought I would look so forward to turning 65 in February, but because of receiving Medicare, I am.
He said that his mother, who is 92, still lives in Seattle. He couldn’t figure out whether he should take social security now or wait until he is 65 or 70. We talked about how it can be a catch-22 with the penalties for making money, if you take it early.
Then he said, “You know, there are a lot of days when I don’t feel like I will make it to 65.”
“I hear you,” I said. “We just never know. And your job is hard work.”
We bantered back and forth about how he could swing it if he took social security now. But every time we thought we had it figured out, bleep, there was a catch.img_0562
The restaurant the man worked in was a high-end steak house. I only was there because it was a block from our place we were staying. Breakfast prices were reasonable, especially since I took half of mine back to the condo for Nick.
I sat there, thinking, I couldn’t do what he does. He is on his feet for 8 hour shifts, carrying things, and remembering things. I would constantly be taking the wrong food to the wrong table and if someone wasn’t nice, I’d want to flip their table, just like a Jersey housewife.
I think he was glad to talk to someone about something other than an omelet.
The time I spent in Seattle, I was on foot.
You notice a lot when you are hoofing it instead of driving in a car.
There are lots of fancy, expensive stores.
I hate shopping, so I window shopped.
Except … the last day I was there, I thought I would go into Nordstrom Rack, which was across the street from Nordstrom.
I walked into the store and thought, “Oh my word, what have I done?”
It was like in the movies. Makeup counters everywhere. Shi-shi girls all over. Rarefied air. The lick-clack of high heals.
I walked around a counter and made my way to the door. The vapors were a-coming. I lasted 2 minutes and 35 seconds.
Then, I realized that I had made a boo-boo and gone into the regular Nordstroms.
I bopped across the street and thought, maybe I will do better at the Nordstrom Rack, so I went in. I rode an escalator downstairs and without stopping, got on the one going back up. I was out the door in 3 minutes and 12 seconds.
I just can’t do it. I hate shopping in department stores.
Each day I walked to the Public Market on the waterfront. Mostly, I took photos and watched people.
If I didn’t enjoy myself for company, it would have been lonely. The people are not friendly. Not all, a couple of waiters and waitresses were nice, but the people on the street? No.
That bothered me. I live in an area where we all smile at each other and talk, whether you know each other or not. We engage and try to bring a bit of southern hospitality into each other’s lives.
That was absent in Seattle. People didn’t smile. At first, it bothered me. I adjusted my demeanor for the big city. No eye-contact. Don’t get into someone’s space.
Feel nothing.
I had my camera for my amusement. I was able to observe.
It is amazing that sometimes, when you are surrounded by people, you can feel so alone. That is what it felt like.img_0580
I handled it because I have been in big cities before, although, I must say that I haven’t walked big city streets alone. I had always had someone with me. But this time was different.
There is a part of me that understands the lack of eye contact and the brusque manner. If this is your daily routine, walking to and from work, you are on a mission. Plus, there are homeless and beggars at most every corner. Some of the aversion might come because they try to avoid having to deal with that all of the time.
But it was even some of the waiters and people I dealt with as vendors … they just weren’t pleasant.
But all of that is just an oversight of a city. The trip, itself was wonderful. We got to spend time with one of our sons. We got to see a different part of the country. And we did find a place that was magic to all of us.
The forest.
The forests out there are enchanting, mystical and awe-inspiring. They are such with ferns and moss growing on enormous branches that defy gravity. It was a gay, misty day, when we went through the forests and it was as though we had them to ourselves.
Being among trees that were over 1000 years old was grander than grand. To think of something living over a thousand years. It gave me feelings that no store can give.
By Friday, we were all ready to go home. We had come, seen, and experienced new sights, sounds and smells. It was time to return to our little lives in what we fondly referred to as “Podunkville.”
Yesterday, we went to breakfast in a little restaurant in Clover. Within a couple of minutes, we were in a full-scale conversation with the two gentlemen seated next to us and the waitress called us “doll” and “Luv.”
Nick and I both laughed. We were home. We were where we feel right.
Yes, it was good to get away … and great to be home.

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