People were so nice. Everyone genially pointed me toward locales like the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and the Lakeview Cemetery (cause it's such a fucking happy book!), and all the cars went out of their way to let me walk in front of them. Not even Iowa was like this.
And also there are the nice people who let me sleep on their couches, in beautiful neighborhoods on hillsthe declivities are steep, tumbling toward the water, held in place by carpets of ivy and thirty different species of tree that I couldn't identify. I'm terrible with plants that aren't cactus.
"We couldn't find Sneedle [old Space Needle mascot]."
"Now there's the Wheedle. He sleeps on top of the Needle."
"Here, let me find him on Google."
"Oh God, he's repellent!"
Three solid days of walking up hills with a backpack must have doubled my daily caloric intake. On Sunday night I, who usually eat 1.5 meals per diem, went to Piecora's Pizza and polished off four of their giant slicesthe waiter claimed he'd never seen anyone manage that before. If I were to exercise regularly, could I handle the grocery bill?
Seaplanes coming in to land on Lake Union, tilted sharply forward with floats sticking out like oversized bird feet and righting themselves just in time, skimming the wavetops in a wide decelerating turn, leaving twin trails of foam.
I was very good about curbing my usual traveling-spendthrift leanings (somehow it's okay to buy $150 in books and music on impulse, if you're in a different city), but I did have to spring for this new EMI Great Recordings issue of Schubert's Winterreise, with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing. What a man was Dietrich, how bleak are these poems. They translate them here.
Snow, you know about my longing,
Tell me, where does your course lead?
If you just follow my tears,
The brook will soon receive you.
You will flow through the town with it,
In and out of the busy streets;
When you feel my tears burning,
There is my sweetheart's house.
And then if that wasn't sad enough, I found myself alone with a television for the first time in months and watched M2 for a while. On 120 Minutes they were interviewing two-fifths of Super Furry Animals, who were incomprehensibly Welsh (there was some anecdote about making Paul McCartney eat carrots), and then they showed the animated video for "It's Not the End of the World?" and the world blew up and yeah. I'll probably have to spring for that record too.
I am home. I have a year without winter. To work.