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She Sells Flowers

 

 

Flowers picked from roadside green spaces, Snap Dragons, Paint Brush, Cow Parsnip, Cut leaf, Coralroot, cut, arranged in found bottles that had been rinsed, but not washed, whiskey, mayonnaise, mustard, mason, whatever bottle found then arranged by height, 20 or so, the tallest in the back, short in front, a handful of flowers in each, not too many, less is more, amongst the offering of arrangements, small hand size American flags, coasters of the Space Needle.

A Red White and Blue ribbon weaves its way through the back row of flowers, the display sits on a tie dye silk throw

Her Mid length, non-washed brown curly hair holds to her head like a helmet, Green and white pin striped button down shirt, holes in the elbows, missing buttons reveal a black bra, her jeans dirty, worn in the knees, rolled cuffs, dirty feet wearing whitish sandals. I think she was once attractive.

How much for the arrangement in back? She didn’t look me in the eye as she said “the ones in back are $7 comes with the vase”

I like the one in the Jack Daniels bottle, “Lovely” she said as she reached for the jar, handed it to me with her eyes down, her body odor was strong, it had a back odor of excrement.

She had a small wagon that I believed carried her goods, her purse sitting in it. She reached for it after I paid her.  She struggled to slip the money in, a needle fell out, the kind they hand out for free at the clinics, orange tip and cap.

I had seen her on Broadway for over a week now and curious about her goods spread out, the staging was attractive, the arrangements seemed to be done with the “right touch”

I was driving by today when I decided to make a visit.

I think she is an artist at heart, there are people who you look at, see their work and it fits together, yes, you can tell they painted that.

As I walked away, I admired my new flowers, beautiful in their contrast of something pretty and something that was used and thrown away as garbage, unwashed, taken to be used for something perhaps better.

Walking towards the train station, a bike road by me, the handle bar hit my elbow I dropped, then breaking my vase on the cement.

I kicked the bottle together, picked up the large shrouds of glass, threw it away in a garbage can.

Ill buy again from her, maybe she will show me her eyes.

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70th and Love and Marriage

Well, my 2nd ex just bought me dinner and drinks…….

In Ballard, stopping at Market Street, 3 or 4 people loaded immediately, as I was closing the door I heard a voice call, “Wait” A man, 70s, white beard, dressed in jeans, work boots, baseball cap, for some reason, I thought “Sailor” started to enter my bus, “sorry, I’m moving slow” your doing fine, “its my 70th today” wow, Happy Birthday! “thank you, I made it” he said as he slipped his dollar in the till and I handed him his transfer.  He stood by my chair, I asked, you gonna celebrate?

“Well, my 2nd ex, just bought me dinner and drinks” Nice I said, cool of her, “yeah, we have always kept in touch, she was 2nd out of 3….. 1st one, I was too young, we were too young, my 2nd, well, 15 years was enough” 3rd? I said, “She died a couple years ago” sorry man, “its ok, this one was always ok, tonight was steak at my favorite bar, she bought me a bunch of shots, I’m a bit tipsy” you seem fine, I said, “about 7 or 8, I asked her if this meant she was staying tonight” I chuckled and looked at him, hmm, “yeah, she kissed me on the cheek, and said, no, sweetheart, I wanted to get you those shots so your hung over tomorrow, that’s my gift to you,

 she paid the bill and left me there, she always seems to get the upper hand” …….. I had to laugh.

A buddy of mine since childhood married his childhood sweetheart and have been married since they were in their early 20s…. He would bring up times when he felt he knew he was married, Kids, 1st purchase of a house, things like that  seemed to be reminders to him, I didn’t know if he was keeping track of what they did, or these things made the marriage seem more real.  In their 20th year together he was confiding in me how things had changed… Yeah, love was still there, but sex wasn’t what it used to be, and on a Sunday morning after a session together, draperies were closed, lights were off and they were talking and laughing about how their bodies had changed, softer, more folds, patches of padding,   Home, Kids, college funds, careers, friends, families, these kinds of subjects came up during sex, that morning their discussion led to how intertwined their lives were and marriage was not what they expected, but what they had hoped for, and talked about how sex seemed to become both a discussion of tasks as well as a physical connection. They were happy,  While he was laying on his back and she sitting on his stomach, she taps his chest right on his breast plate, her finger beads a drop of sweat, she leans down and taps again with her ear to his chest, she brings her lips to his ear and says softly “if you ever leave me,  I’ll stab you in the Heart…Do you understand, the Heart.” 

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While Stopped

a Lovely brunette in her mid twenties is turning as the seamstress pins the hem

I pull into a stop on Greenwood Ave, I have a view of a Bridal Gown store, a lovely Brunette in her mid-20s is turning as the seamstress pins the hem, her Mom is taking pictures with a camera, a friend takes pictures with her phone. On my left I’m passed by an electric bike with the cargo spot in front carrying a set of what I think are twins, toddler age, I begin to get ready to pull out and am passed by a small car with a husky hanging out the window, he barks at the lady riding the bike, she veer’s to the right but manages to avoid hitting a parked car.  Across the street the Fire House doors begin to open, a siren turns on and the flock of pigeons lined on a power line take flight.

Sunrise I’m at a stop, facing Mt Rainier, the foot of the mountain is pink, then is dark blue at the summit, the mountain dominates the seen as the buildings, cars, people become unnoticeable,  sheep clouds are red underneath, then cotton white at the top.  I watch the blinking red lights of a plane as its on its way to Sea Tac, my window is open, and the air is fresh as it gusts in my window. The early Seattle city planners designed the road this way and this is why we call it Rainier Avenue

I’m headed down a hill and stopped just before a busy intersection downtown, it’s Game day,  there is a Seahawk fan in full garb, hat, coat, shorts, shoes and socks in hawk colors throwing a football to other fans across intersections, he points at me, I shake my head no, and he throws the ball over my bus and to another person dressed in garb on the other side.  The crowd laughs and he throws the ball over to another corner, as I wait for the light, the ball has been thrown 4 or 5 times to different people.  There is a dog pulling at the leash wanting to get into the game, a street singer saws “Go Hawks” on her microphone, the crowd yells “Go Hawks.”  There is an old gentleman at a bus stop bench sleeping.

I’m at a stop that is by the front door of a small chain restaurant, they have a line on Sundays that goes about a half a block, people are drinking Starbucks, couples are meeting other couples, a family of 5 is carrying presents as to celebrate a Birthday. Inside the restaurant the tables are full, the windows are slightly fogged.  At the door the hostess is calling the next table. I pick up a couple that just finished eating and they ask me if I go near the zoo.  A younger man wearing a hoodie and headphones pushes by without paying or caring that he knocked food out of their hand, walks towards the back, they look at him briefly, shake their heads then find a seat in front. He gets off later at a busy downtown stop and pushes through the crowd, another younger guy swings back at him and hits him on the shoulder, he ignores it and goes into a drug store.

The crosswalk is full of people dressed in various types of garb, going left, right,  phones, briefcases, purses, wheel chairs, bags of food, clothes, dogs on leashes, hats, sunglasses, scarves set up multi moving patterns of color that hints of the stories they are telling.

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Driving on Christmas and the Best Muffin in the World

Today she gets on the Bus carrying a large Tupperware container, “Oh Hello, Merry Christmas” she says Merry Christmas I said, she sits at the front, She’s in a Burgundy coat, black stockings, matching heels, wonderful scarf, Hair perfec

I would have considered this day pretty uneventful; I had a few more people than I expected, they were all on their way somewhere, traffic was very light, the weather was clear.  My Bus warmed up this morning, then the heater went out about halfway through my first run up to Shoreline Community College, I called it in, Transit Control would get me a new bus on my run back to Westwood Village. 

Heading down Greenwood I stop by an assisted living building, it’s a very nice facility, I understand its pricey to live there and is excellent in its services and the condos are spacious and well appointed.

I have picked up this woman at the stop many times over the course of the last 2 years.  She is over 80, always well dressed, even when dressed casually, her hair is perfect, makeup well done, fashionable and accessorized.  She has always struck me as well accomplished; she communicates well and very direct.  I’ve thought of her as rather Grand, though we have never had a conversation more than a general greeting.

Today she gets on the Bus carrying a large Tupperware container, “Oh Hello, Merry Christmas” she says Merry Christmas I said, she sits at the front, She’s in a Burgundy coat, black stockings, matching heels, wonderful scarf, Hair perfect.  You look like your on your way to fun I said, “ Yes, she replied, Granddaughters first time hosting Christmas.  “Wonderful” I said, Yes, and its my job to bring these muffins, everyone knows how to make them, but they have made it my job.  “No one cooks better than Grandmas” I said.  That’s so true, she said, This is my Grandmothers recipe, She taught me how to make them, and I make them every year, taught  my daughter, then taught my granddaughter, “ I love family traditions like that” I said.  The recipe has changed a bit since my grandma made them,  we lived in Idaho, I grew up in a cabin, my grandparents didn’t have power, back then, grandfather built the Cabin, not very big, large fireplace, exposed timbers, wood stove and they got by with lanterns.  It was a farm, they had some livestock but all of it was very modest, we made our own butter, Milk from the cow, eggs were fresh and the squash were from the garden.  So much now is store bought, its all easier, but I think they have dropped a bit in taste.

“that’s Amazing” I said.

We pulled in near Woodland Park Zoo, she stood up and walked towards me opening the Tupperware, Here, take a few,

“ Oh Gosh I couldn’t”  ( I have a policy of not taking food from people on the bus for obvious reasons of being too risky)

Of course you can, I want you to, please take some.

You, know, I have so much food in my bag, those look really good, she smiles and said……. Take !  I took one, and thanked her profusely, “ Merry Christmas Sir, your always so nice to me, I appreciate you.  Merry Christmas Mam, it’s my pleasure.

She stepped off and I pulled away with the muffin stored in a napkin to my left.

It was a light day in Traffic, and I couldn’t help but to think of her growing up in a cabin, no power, snow, warmth of a fire, I imagined the cabins fireplace, river rock, a Mantel made out of timber.  Her Grandmother in a calico dress and white apron with lace ( maybe I watch too much tv.)  I drove through our city of cement, steel, glass, I drove my near million dollar bus through the streets with many people, and thought how her Christmas has changed.

No power, then radio, then TV, highways , Trak housing, Moon landing, Internet… the list is huge, Her experience then is so different from her Grand daughters experience of Christmas. 

But they share a tradition,  Muffins, Muffins that have a recipe of perhaps a hundred years, maybe more as I have to think her Grandmother learned to cook from her Mom, maybe Her Grandmother, so perhaps food now isn’t what it used to be, so much now is ready made, flour, butter, pasteurized milk,  ingredients from all over the world are available now, few people grow their own food, much less cook from scratch of the level of churning their own butter, picking their own eggs.

Was fun to think about.  A new bus was waiting for me at 1st and Lander, a couple of customers quietly changed buses with me and we continued on, dropping someone occasionally. I pulled into Westwood with 1 person to drop off, Merry Christmas he said, I waved back and wished him the same.

I lifted the Muffin, perfect color, not a cupcake style, the old school type, that has the top.  I thought again of how old this recipe might be, I took a bit and held it in my mouth. 

I should have taken more.

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Sunrise On the Mountain of Forests

Winter/Spring Solstice is this mornings praise, Sunlight warms the tips of the branches and call for the trees to begin their green.

Mornings begin with quiet in the forest.  From the floor of the forest looking up the branches break their embrace of stars as the sky turns from black to blue, wind will whisper good morning and birds sing their praise of another day coming.

Winter/Spring Solstice is this mornings praise, Sunlight warms the tips of the branches and call for the trees to begin their green.

  Hackberry, Maple, Beech, Elm are just part of the Deciduous that make up the forest of many and speak amongst each other in the way trees do, silent vibrations that branches and roots understand, and trunks hold the conversations from the years of standing in the sky.

Green is the season of the new leaves, they begin in the branch as buds, each day they take in the sun, as brothers and sisters turn the whisper of a breeze to a rustle, trunks send them stories of the years behind them.  They grow as large as they can, no two leaves are the same, and spring rains feed them with Earths promise that life is never ending.

 Blue is the color of Summer, the leaves now have the stories of their Trunk, Breeze and Earth in their veins.  They tell their story of moisture to the Sun, Brothers and Sisters of their Branch feel their own stories being shared with the Trunk. Blue is what concerns them now, they extend themselves into the breeze.

Orange is the color of Autumn; morning Breeze sweeps the tip of the leaves with a chilled certainty that their story is almost complete. Its time to send their stories of the Breeze, of the Moisture, of the Sun Into the trunk. With each story, they turn ever so slightly from Green to Orange, they no longer bend with the breeze or take in what it has to say, they are only concerned that their story becomes part of the Trunk, and resist letting go until their story becomes ingrained as Bark.

White is the color of Winter, Mornings are later, the Breeze is colder, the Sun is now farther away, Leaves are letting go, now in brown as they lay on the Earth, becoming food for their trunk.  It is the way to make their story complete.  As their color fades to the Earth and moisture covers them, they look to the Sky and see the Blue turn to Black.   The leaves last thought: It will be Silent as Stars embrace those branches where they were Green. The Trunk is a bit taller this year, so more Stars are embraced, my story is with them now when the Green will be called out again.

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Shared Stories

Seattle is a large city, people coming and going from all parts of the world, all stages in life, all of us have stories that begin, develop, continue then end. Bus stops are like frames from Zoetrope’s

To drive for Metro means that you have a certain understanding of the humor and tragedy of the people you see.  There is a level of empathy that we share through it all.  It might be because we are up close and see these people and talk to them, it might be something that Metro see’s in us and that’s why we are hired.

I have made numerous connections with other drivers, from the ones I was in training class, to the ones I see around the base, and the ones I work with loading Orca cards. 

When we load Orca cards it’s a 4-hour shift with another person, and you get to know them pretty well, and in all human situations you connect with some stronger than others. 

Often these connections are made because of our stories we share about driving, and we find each other to have a similar level of humor and empathy for the people we have encountered.

Some stories affect us deeply.

My friend Juda shared with me today.

“Was pretty much a normal day, I was picking up people, and you know how they are, you say “good morning” to everyone and only a few hear, or say it back, their busy doing what they do.

A middle aged Asian lady got on my bus, she was dressed professionally, clean, her body language was bent over, and a bit timid, then I noticed she had a very bad clefted lip, it went as far up into her sinus area, I said “good morning” to her as I looked her in the eye, I read something in her eyes that seemed she didn’t get recognized often, she said “good morning” back and went to a seat in the front, and put her head down immediately.  I was taken by her body language, she seemed to hide, It made me think of the situation she must be in, kids don’t have filters and ask their parents why she looks like that, and lets be honest, not all adults are kind and their reactions of disgust must hit her hard.  She must have had to deal with this her whole life. Why, I wondered, here in the US would someone have to have this situation… and other countries people are shunned….

She came up to me when we came to her stop, she thanked me for saying “good morning”

I looked her in the eye and said, your welcome, my eyes acknowledged her, we connected.

She has a problem she lives with everyday with no relief, she never gets away from it. 

It helped me see the difference from a problem, and a situation. that I have no real problems, I have situations.

I changed that day, I think of her when issues come up and it helps put it in perspective, I share this with other drivers.

We have reasons, a purpose in life, I’m not sure what these things are, but sometimes seeing something and feeling something that connects us makes sense of things.”

I took in his story, asked if I could share this with you.

He said, “please do, it changed me”.

Her story is ongoing, and we witness others who’s problems are ongoing or develop.

On 3rd and Madison a middleaged man first scanned his card with me sometime in July, I remember because he was particularly friendly and talkative and liked a womans dog that was shaking because of all the noise going on at the bus stop. after that, he was gone a few weeks then appeared again, but missing his right arm.

His short sleeve hid the length of what was left and he didn’t say hello back or say a word as I scanned his card.

Now during the second week of September, he has appeared again with an artificial arm.  He didn’t scan his card this time nor did he interact with anyone, including the dog, who is still scared by all the noise at a bus stop.

Which brings me to Gus.

Gus is a lab mix who was rescued from a kill shelter in Texas.

Gus just met his forever home partner at the  Sea Tac airport today and on his way to his new home by bus.   Gus is over 12, black fur, grey muzzle, just a tad overweight and a bit arthritic.  His front teeth are missing from chewing on a chain link fence.  He has scars on his nose, legs and ears that are believed he received from being a bait dog.

Gus seems to know his life has taken a turn for the better and loves that people are saying hi to him. He loves his new life partner as she shares with everyone his story and how she met him for the first time at the airport and he hugged and cried when he met her.  She is still flushed, his tail hasn’t stopped wagging, Gus and the people around him know that from today on, his life is going to be awesome.

Seattle is a large city, people coming and going from all parts of the world, all stages in life, all of us have stories that begin, develop, continue then end.  Bus stops are like frames from Zoetrope’s

One piece that is part of the story.

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Dragon Flies have fun with food

The Dragonfly’s were out in full,

I was sitting on the Dock last night, thinking this might be the last warm fullish moon.  I sat down just before sunset,Some of the trees are turning now, bits of orange are blending with the green. I  had my dinner of left over Teriyaki chicken and a rice beer. 

The Dragon flies were out in full, Iv never noticed just how many swarms, and how busy they are.  Nats were clouds of flutters, the Dragons, which id like to see in slow motion some time, were having a feeding frenzy.  They would buzz by my head and sometimes appear to be looking me in the eye.  I noticed more speicies than Iv seen here before, at least more colorful types.  With few exceptions, Iv only seen Black Dragons here, last night, I saw a full range,  yellow/green,   blue/green,  black, white, orange.  Ill have to look them up some time and see if their of different varieties or not.

They looked like they were having fun.  Most spiecies, including us, compete for food.  Hunting, growing, cooking, a lot goes behind getting a meal that our fast food resturants and convienient stores with  all their marketing has helped us ignore.  Food is a task.  Most animals spend all their time dealing with hunting for food and playing the odds on their next feast.

I wonder If the Dragons compete for food at all, or ever have to deal with a shortage.  I saw millions of Nats last night,

I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of Dragon flies.  The Dragons seemed almost joyus in their feeding, bouncing, hovering, rolling together and singly.  Figure eights and long flieghts across the lake and back.  Made me think of rush hour on the freeway.

Iv been to food circuses, County fairs, food and Art Festivals,  Theres  also a frenzy that people seem to enjoy,  as we walk through these events we eat what we want.  Its s a blast, a great way to eat and mix with people  and eat more than you should,  feels good doing it..

We have our food they way we want it, and I think, Dragon flies do too.

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Burning Bush

My workmate and I chat as we scan, and often people chime in and join the conversation, we like this and we cover a lot of subjects

“What does it take to show an illustration
Of the hurt and the pain of a nation.
One glowing look upon a ragged canvas
Tells the story of our past and present situation

Maurice White, EWF

“What does it take to show an illustration
Of the hurt and the pain of a nation.
One glowing look upon a ragged canvas
Tells the story of our past and present situation

Maurice White, EWF

Seattle has its perfect summer days, the kind of days where strangers meet at bus stops and say, wow, this is perfect, not too hot, breeze is nice, you can smell the sound the sea gulls and pigeons are busy, a couple of puffy clouds, its 5 pm the sun is behind the buildings the streets are shaded and people are heading home or to out door restaurants, shopping, boating, BBQ with friends, you can feel that people want to make the most of the rest of this day.
3 days a week in the afternoon my job description is “Orca Loader” which means I scan people’s Orca cards so they can go in any door of the bus, makes it quicker and easier for everyone…. But, lets be honest, and it hasn’t gone unspoken, my job is to show a presence, be polite, watch after people answer questions and try to give a positive experience, I consider this the best time of my week because I get to watch people, talk to people interact with the “parade”.
My workmate and I chat as we scan, and often people chime in and join the conversation, we like this and we cover a lot of subjects. As we were chatting about his 94 yr old mother in law that he adores, she’s Japanese, old family, old school, came to America when she met her husband during WW2 and the rebuilding of Japan, She is doing well, insists on doing the cleaning and keeps herself busy doing what she calls “women’s work”.
Across from our stop is a TJ Max, a “hang out” of some street folk, often the ones in wheel chairs, some are otherwise “handicapped” and they mix with others they know or chat with, liquor is poured, weed is smoked, and they party until they go their way. As I watch, one guy helps a paraplegic woman drink from a bottle, he wipes her chin and they laugh at something, then a gentleman is walking across the street towards us, older man, 70ish? Small bottle of alcohol in his hand, African American, white cap on his head, clean white T shirt, cacky shorts, He says, “ you gentleman have it made, all these nice looking young ladies, you never get too old to enjoy seeing them’
It is a pleasure I said, we get to meet and chat with all kinds of nice people, Mark here and I were just talking about his mom in law and who is from Japan… “ hows she doing? He asked… “ Shes good” Mark answered, still wants to do house work everyday… “ wow” “ I was in Viet Namn he went on, was there for a long time, spent time in Malaysia, the women are lovely and good women, yes, good women” he said as he took a drink. “ I spent a lot of time in other countries he said, Ive seen a lot of stuff, I love this country, it’s a perfect day, we shoot each other , we cuss each other, but this is a great place to be.. He went on to discuss the need for gun control, “people don’t need military guns, its crazy that people in church, school , anywhere get shot down…. For no reason !

That old bush just keeps on burning
Nobody seems to show they’re learning
That old bush just keeps on burning.
I wonder will we ever feel the flame.

“it didn’t used to be like this” I said, when I grew up, there weren’t mass shootings like this
“Well,” he said, I’ve traveled a lot, I love this place anyway, people seem to hate the little things now.. hate” “we were just talking about this” Mark said, my girl is multi racial and we had to deal with a few things, but not like this, “I married a white woman” he said, “she strayed a little, but I love her and we have a good couple of kids” “Sorry dude” I said, “lts fine, been years, what do you do? As his bus arrived he took another sip from the mini bar bottle, “you guys enjoy the day, tell those pretty ladies I said hi. We waved at him, Mark moved north of the st

Our way of life on total exhibition
Shows the way in which we live of an
Imperfect nation.
This tree of life so far from perfection
Share a little love to improve our situation
”.

“Who do you work for” ?? she yelled…..
I looked around to see what was happening? “ who do you work for?? She yelled at me again,
“I work for Metro…. King County Metro Transit to be accurate… why?
“ You shouldn’t be talking to people like that” I was a bit shocked, I wondered if we had said something offensive, she was outraged….. “ did we say something offensive? I’d like to know……
“You work for the county and your talking to street trash like that!!!” I couldn’t think of anything offensive, so I asked her again, “ what did we say that offended you….. Id like to know?
“You were talking to street trash, its terrible, those people are terrible, you should be ashamed!!
My god I thought, what? I stepped away and leaned against the building, people moved from her,
I looked at her, mid 40s brunette, hair tied in back, glasses, jeans, shirt, then I saw the Trump 2020 pin. I got angry and knew I needed to shut up right now. (my job) She got on a bus , self-righteous, stepping in front of a couple of people who were in line.
I thought about the man, well mannered well spoken, a kind and likable face, He deserves that drink I thought, Vietnam vet, father, he did his time and lived his life, nothing he said was trashy or disrespectful, in fact…. I completely enjoyed my encounter. I was disgusted with myself for being off guard, breathless in the face of hate like that. This country has some serious problems.

That old bush just keeps on burning
Share the hope for future learning
I wonder will we ever feel the flame

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Porch Lights

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

Was close to midnight when I stepped out of my cabin, I was in the mood for a walk and the beach air draws you out.

The Day had been overcast and the Clouds had now dissipated revealing so many stars, the sliver of the moon was hard to find.

I walked across the street towards the beach, my shadow from porch lights and window light shortened and disappeared as I reached the sand, dry sand is soft and firms up as you get closer to the waves, who were muffled and sounded deep.

I walked into the Pacific mist and kept walking towards those muffled waves and their slow rhythm, it was farther to the waves than earlier in the day, had to be Low tide.

I made the goal of walking to the edge of the waves; I like to touch bodies of water I visit. 

I looked behind me, back to the cabins that are rented out, no more porch lights or lights from windows, just blackness and mist, I closed my eyes and because it was so dark, there was no change in light, the waves felt louder now and completed their rumble with a fizz. I opened my eyes and was engulfed by the mist completely, there were no more stars, just the waves speaking over my breath. I walked farther and came to the edge of the water. I was farther away from anything than I had before.

I knelt and put my hand down. The wave came to my fingers, it was cold and soft almost like the mist around me.  I inhaled, I wanted to inhale the sound of the waves, then closed my eyes and there was no change in darkness.  My exhale was in treble, and the waves in bass.

I listed to my heart as it made its Duette with the waves.

I turned back to the cabin the waves behind me

I walked back in search of porch lights.

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3rd and Madison

He wore a Captain America Watch

Third and Madison

     As I was watching people waiting for their buses it occurred to me that I have only written about the homeless or odd characters that I see on the streets.  I had to ask myself why?  As a people watcher the odd people stick out and gain the most attention I guess, but aren’t we all odd?  I think all of us consider ourselves unique and rightly so, and for whatever reason we may not show the world how unique we are, but I heard once that you can not escape from being yourself.

Dressing for work is not what it used to be.  Casual Friday has turned into Casual week.  (At least here in Seattle) There are exceptions of course, and those people stick out more … Perhaps they are Lawyers, Accountants, Upper Management?  Mostly I see Jeans, sometimes black jeans, sometimes docker sort of things, button-down shirts, rarely do I see ties now.  There is one Gentleman, very stylishly chosen items, If you have ever seen one of Gregory Porters videos ( Jazz Singer with a great sense of style, that is only surpassed by his fantastically great voice) This Gentleman dresses similarly, except its all about 1 size or 2 too small, He must be in his late 60s and I’m guessing at this point in his life he is not going to buy any new clothes.  Blue blazer, white button-down shirt with an orange plaid, bright flower tie, light beige vest, tan slacks and brown wing tips, fedora, white beard neatly trimmed, semi long hair.  Some days he has a walking stick, somedays when he works at home, a briefcase. Ill Scan his card and say good afternoon, he repeats “good afternoon sir”   

He wears a Captain America Watch.

Its Mid-Summer here, days are over 75 and most 80 or more,

A young, beautiful Asian woman walks by in a ¾ length black leather skirt with a heavy sweater chevron pattern in gold and orange

I saw her walking from a block away, I scan her card she smells like lilacs, hair is perfect and no sign at all she might be warm under all that heavy clothing.

Not long ago, I walked through the Seattle version of the  Amazon Jungle,  Its where Amazon has centered itself here, I recommend going there if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m convinced as you walk through there your stepping into the future of how business is done.  Lots of dogs leashed to their owners, tablets or laptops on Bistro tables, people talking over their screens sharing info as they upload documents to each other then move to the next person, Fresh fruit is handed out for free by vendors, health food, veggie and fruit smoothies, and a dog café and indoor dog park where people work as their dogs socialize.

No suits in site.

A Security man dressed in a black uniform and black-tie walks by a couple of the dogs take notice and sniff the air after him then go back to their business.

A couple from Rome approached me today for directions and info, he dressed in casual slacks, salmon colored polo, she in capri pants and white blouse over a yellow tube top, they were beautiful, he looked like Cary Grant, she wasn’t far behind Sofia Loren.  She is a Contracts Lawyer in Rome, He’s a Banker, they are spending the summer on our west coast and just came up from Oregon yesterday. They wanted info on how to get to the Ballard locks.  Also, did I know a place to buy some football magazines? Her brother is a fan of the Redskins….  I pointed them to Bartells, they came back a few minutes later, huge smile on her face that she scored a couple of great magazines.

We chatted a bit and laughed easily with each other, he took a selfie with the 3 of us, I gave them a pair of free bus passes waved to them as they left my stop, both of them blew me a kiss as they left.  

Featured

Transit Transients

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

Three afternoons a week 3rd and Pine is my bus stop to load Orca cards, I watch people come and go, and have come to regard this as “the Parade”. Friday as I arrived a homeless man had been sleeping on the sidewalk for a reported 3 hours, a puddle of Urine had started to leak out from beneath his pack….I called it in , a supervisor arrived and let me know they had moved this guy earlier that day.
At the crosswalk another man was pushing his wheel chair that had run out of power, I ran over to help him out of the street .. he had been pushing it for a few blocks with no where to plug it in to get a quick charge and no one helped him, as I got him off the street he was so out of breath he could hardly speak, I pushed his chair to his shelter… The Police and Aid cars were busy at the McDonalds entrance with a person that overdosed…..
There were a small herd of pigeons picking at food droppings, one of the smaller ones only had a stump for a leg, no foot and painfully hobbled, came across a crumb and was pushed away by a bigger healthier pigeon….
A retired couple from Czechoslovakia asked me for directions to the Museum of Flight…… they loved Alaska and were looking forward to seeing more of Seattle until they flew into New York to visit relatives……… A woman of plus 70 with a cane gave a young 20s girl some kind of muffin from her bag….. Young lovers met there after work embraced as though it had been days, a bicyclist with a speaker turned up too loud rode by too fast bumped a young mans pack, skidded to a stop and apologized…… another man that resembled the guy that plays aqua-man had a huge Newfoundland, black with paws larger than my hands were getting attention and praise…….
a Seagull dropped his mark next to a small group of Chinese women that made them laugh as they stepped back…..
This was about 45 mins on Friday.

I have been driving for Metro for about a year and a half now, Love this job. Driving has always been fun for me, and adding on the parade of people on a daily basis in a large beautiful city like Seattle, is the extra foam on my Macchiotto. Thank you for dropping by…. I hope you enjoy these stories as much as I do.

The Beautiful

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

 

 

She walks south on Freemont ave, Red Dress hangs just to the knees, small white floral pattern, brown sandals perfect with the summer dress, her dark hair pulled back to a pony tail, Olive skin, her right hand holding white daisy’s, her left gently swings lose, each step graceful like an ice skater, her head glides like on a rail, she moves through the shadows of the trees, the light dancing on her like she is center staged, people notice her, girlfriends holding hands of their lovers join their lovers in a long look as they hold their breath.

Summer is the time for such moments,

Somehow the warmth of the air brings us inside the perfume of flowers, trees, breeze bringing us nearby kitchens, clicks of glasses with ice, somehow the light and shadow with its strong contrast creates a focal point.

She walked through the sidewalk crowd lost in her thoughts, provoking thoughts of others

She is early 20s, she lifts her hand with the flowers and smells them as she passes an elderly couple, He uses a walker, she has her on his arm , white hair, white wrinkled skin fresh to the sun step into the shade of the tree and  watch her walk by, he kisses her hand then they turn back slowly moving on their way.

A 40sh male riding his bike slows to look at her, loses the rhythm of his pedals, he shakes his head as he regains his rhythm, energy well spent.

I turn my bus west on 46th, 12pm on a Monday, its quiet on this street, not so many shadows as the sun is now overhead, not so many trees, cars on each side.

I think of the time I met my lover at a QFC, we bought Sushi and Ice Tea, we walked to a near by park and talked, we had winter jackets on, hers a light blue, mine kaki, I did not notice it was cold.

The Ladder

Driving South on the Aurora Bridge, Lake Union on the right,

Puget Sound on the Left.

 Chesheeahud was a renowned Duwamish chief and travel guide to Lake Union, Lake Washington, and Lake Sammamish in the days before roads were built in the City of Seattle and its suburbs of the “Eastside”. Chesheeahud was the leader of a Duwamish village on Lake Union. Chesheeahud had a cabin and a potato patch on land given to him by pioneer David Denny at the foot of Shelby Street as late as 1900.

 Landscapers have been busy at the “Canlis” Shrubs have been trimmed, lower branches from Maples removed.

There is a ladder that is leaning against a Juniper, left behind as the workers moved on.

 Crossing the bridge,

A Black Lives Matter sign hangs from its right side and drapes over the sidewalk the breeze picks up, it swells like a sail similar to one of the boats below.

Chesheeahud’s to become also known as “lake John” (canoe was a full-sized Salish style canoe, with gently up-curving bow and tapering, angled stern.  Carved from a single huge log of western red cedar, large canoes of this shape had almost disappeared by the end of the 1800s. This was by the Nuu-chah’nulth from the coast and western.

 A young man, 20 something, dressed in white shirt, vest, tie, nice  jeans leather shoes leaves the bus at 39th and Freemont, I pull forward he slaps the bus and waves, he has left his computer behind.

At 46th and Phinney, then drop him at 65th and Greenwood, I pick up a regular, older man, 70? Wears a grey flat cap, light blue jacket, jeans, white tennis shoes, his line before Covid was to pay a $1, say to me “its only fair” we both will shake our heads with appreciation for the corny greeting,

He awkwardly enters the back of the bus now and seems to feel he is missing something before he sits down.

 

“John was a Lake Indian. His illahee [land], which was given to him by his cloish tillicum [good friend], “Dave Denny,” was on Portage Bay, Lake Union, at the foot of what is known now as Shelby Street. There he had his cabin and a small potato patch. He buried his chickamin [money] at the base of stumps. Back among the stumps he built his “sit down” house,. of which he was very proud and which we would not allow any one else to use.”

 

One person is left on my bus, an older Japanese woman, English her second language sits in front with her cane and mask, I had picked her up at 4th and Jackson by the International District, she leaves my bus at 100th   where I pick her up in the mornings, Her husband is with her , his White Fedora, White Jacket that matches his white hair, he pays her fare, walks her to her seat while he does, he makes sure to let me know he is leaving and where her stop is.

Her Husband is now at 100th, there to greet her, helps her off the bus and both bow and wave goodbye to me.

 Chesheeahud and his wife, known by her Pastid name “Madeline”, were often referred to as “the last of the Lake Union Indians,” since they were in fact the last Duwamish family to maintain residence on the lake as the city grew up around  “Debadidi” (David Denny) and moved with many of his people to the Suquamish Reservation across Puget Sound.

I have continued the route, left my layover at Shoreline Community College, a dozen or so people on my bus, I cross the  Aurora Bridge Southbound, the Olympics are still white with shades of blue as they meet the sound.

On my left is the “Canlis”, with a ladder that has been left behind as workers moved on.

 Sources:

Dailey, Tom. Coast Salish Villages of Puget Sound, http://www.coastsalishmap.org/

Gould, Jim, Professor Emeritus of History and International Relations, Scripps College, Claremont CA. The Montlake Neighborhood,  http://montlake.net/mcc/mcc_history_Jim_Gould.htm

King County Landmarks & Heritage Commission, Change of Worlds, http://www.changeofworlds.org/object.cfm?object=

Thomas Speer

The Bindweed

 

 

 

Seattle has two stadiums that sit on either side of a street in Seattle, not so much now a street as a walkway.

It is landscaped on one side, small perennials, ivy, juniper, bark dust

A Bindweed sends a vine through a small gap between bricks reaches towards the center of the sidewalk, its leaves uncurl, white trumpet flowers, the end of the vine is curled.

People step over, step next to it, occasionally step on it, through the weeks it continues to grow longer. I walk this area again; landscapers have cleared the vine.

Pine street has a walkway between 3rd and 4th.

Today a mid-30s man has stalled in his walk, one foot in front of the other as if in a normal walk, his jeans are muddy, shoes are dark, long coat, beard, long hair dark hair that hasn’t been washed in months. His arms are in a natural swing state but stationary, he is looking at the ground maybe 3 feet ahead of him. He looks like a freezeframe who’s next step is into the crosswalk. People pass him both on the left and right, some step around him glancing behind them, wondering if maybe his is a street performer.

My light turns green, he is to my right as I drive by him. I continue on my route to 2nd, south bound, then east bound back to Madison Park.  I layover for 20 mins, then head back to Pine street about 50 mins have gone by, he has now crossed the street is on my left, a few feet from the crosswalk, frozen, or moving incredibly slow.

The old woman who dresses in black, grey hair spraying out beneath her hoodie pushes her grocery cart of belongings around and past him.

My light turns green, I continue on my route to 2nd, south bound, then east bound back to Madison Park.  I layover for 20 mins, then head back to Pine street

15th and John

 

 

15th and John is a corner stop in front of one of Seattle’s major Hospitals, it’s a stop where you will find people in all stages of health.

Today a man I guess to be in his late 70s or early 80s, has a worn fleece vest over his hospital nightgown, his feet in socks, slippers, his white beard and hair contrast his dark skin, sunken eyes.  His arms have band aides that indicate recent I.V. and shots. His skin is blotchy, weakly, slowly, shaking as he climbs onto the bus, he hangs onto the hold bars as he finds a seat next to a window,  he holds a pizza and a bottle of something in a brown bag that he takes a long draw on after a bite of his pizza.  His gaze out the window seems long drawn, his mood melancholy.  I’m at a stop next to a small greenbelt, his hand is now on the window as he looks out, then he sits back wiping tears from his eyes.  He sits alone, and I have the feeling he feels alone and has been revealed to him his time is near and he left the Hospital abruptly leaving clothes in an effort to leave the situation behind him.

I wonder if I should call this in, what does one say when you only have a feeling.

We arrive at a stop downtown, there are homeless, bottles, broken glass boarded windows, graffiti of lives matter, old clothes laying about, dirty, wet from rain.  He carefully, weakly, shaking, leaves the bus and makes his way out through the crowd.

There is a tree there, who’s branch has been broken, hangs from its bark as its leaves are turning brown, one lets go in the breeze fluttering to the sidewalk.

Saturday July 11, 2020

The Nature of this job feels like it has changed since the virus hit.
I will admit, the driving is easier for sure, sometimes there are no other cars on the road and far less riders, to the point sometimes there are no commuters, and this is where the nature of the job has changed.
Third avenue has been bus stops only for a few years now, usually lined with commuters, day visitors, shoppers, people running errands and of course street people, who were in the minority, and could often disappear into the crowd.
With few people that are not street people now adays, we drivers are more aware, or directly effected by them.
Southbound 3rd and Lenora approaching Pine street is a long stretch of benches which used to be used by commuters, now has been a place for the druggers and street people.
9 am. I drive by a man in his 40s shooting up as he leans against a building, his arms are pocked, splotchy, swollen, he is struggling to put the needle into a vein, he finds it and shoots the drug in.
Next to him is a young man who has been covered in tentacle like cancer, I have spoken about him before, today his is wrapped in an army blanket, he is spitting what I think is blood onto the sidewalk.
Next to him, there are a couple of tents with piles of garbage laying street side.
Out of one of the tents a young woman, who I have seen on the streets several times dressed like a prostitute, is poking her head out the flap and is yelling something to the tent just south of her.
An old woman dressed in black, her gray hair puffing out beneath her hoodie, pushes her grocery cart of belongings through the crowd of homeless and druggies, they ignore her as she makes extra effort to not trip or pass over their belongings.
My window is open, there is a smell of weed in the air.
I drive past Pine, continue south approaching Pike. There is a small group of young men, baseball caps, sag jeans, Nike shoes, a smart speaker is blasting rap as they complete a drug sale.
I arrive at my stop. One of the guys from that crowd jumps on my bus, lays down on the back seat, puts his cap over his head and appears to go to sleep.
I pull away from the stop and make it halfway down the street and see a young blond woman desperately waving me down, I slow and open my door, “my friend is trying to make this bus too” I see a young man running for the bus about a half a block away, when he sees I am stopped, he begins to walk putting his headphones on, Im under the impression he isn’t getting on, so I begin to close the doors, which makes him run again, so I open them. He stops again and walks slower, I leave the doors open for him. He glares at me with a death stare as he enters the bus, his girlfriend follows him to a seat. They get off at the very next stop.
The Nature of this job has changed, months of people on drugs and otherwise dysfunctional is now my main customer service challenge.
I still have drops of compassion for them, people that use drugs on a daily basis, weed, or stronger it changes their perception of the world and who they are, they often do not realize they are irrational, nor do they realize their actions affect others.
They only feel themselves as the drug prescribes them too,
The streets look different. They’re demeaner has changed their appearance, Negative energy is what they exude
I still very much enjoy this job, I have found to deal with constant barrage of the drug induced, I look for ways to balance the ugly with fine living.
I make sure to have a steak with a good glass of wine while I watch a Puget Sound view. Go for a walk on a near Island beach and bird watch. Walk in the woods, listen to the creatures make their lives.
I go window shopping at nice boutiques and see the current collections for houseware, I go gallery walking, I read a good book, listen to symphonies.
Come home, close the door laugh at a sitcom or watch a hero take down a drug dealer.
Before Westernization, indigenous cultures had drug use for ceremonial purposes, Shaman, elders, often over saw the use of drugs with their tribe members for spiritual effect.
As far as I know, there wasn’t the problems with the drugs we have now. Where drugs are a constant recreation, the mind adjusts to what is normal for it.
I wont blame drugs for all the decay I see,
But its clear, there is a problem.
As I write this, I am finishing a Scotch and Sour.

When People Dance

 

 

There is a saying, “dance like nobody is watching”

It refers to the internal struggle of accepting of who we, or you are, not to be inhibited by the stares and judgements of others.

Driving down Pine street today, passing a construction zone,  the Paramount Theatre, the Carlisle club, a Sushi restaurant, an African American man mid-30s, dressed somewhat professionally, danced in the middle of the street, halting traffic and pedestrians as people reacted to the scene with caution.

First thought of course was “drugs” there was no music if you don’t count the sound of jack hammers, car noise and the emergency response vehicle siren bouncing of buildings in echo in the background.

There was a purpose to his dance, was first hips centered above his feet his shoulders in shimmy keeping time, I could tell his dance was in 4/4, his hips subtle swing, as someone would do at a disco, his head snapped up then he left the street with flamenco steps stage right then walked as any pedestrian would down Pine street to who knows where.

Maybe someday…

Tuesday Morning

 

Capital Hills Broadway ave was misty at 7am, late June the sky grey, the weather shelter dripping dew and mist as the couple dressed in grey hoodies, blue jeans, tennis shoes, she 5-4 native American, he was 5-8 or less, white, stocky build, standing together her arm in his, his arm around her.  Her face beaten, bruised, swollen, his eye is black, his fists are freshly scared, arms of his hoodie is torn. He stands tall, waves for me to stop, I open the back door for them, they move to a seat in back, he sits by the window raises his arm as she sits in, her head on his chest she reaches his across and rests it on his shoulder.  He pulls her close, she closes her eyes and begins to fall asleep while he gazes out the window.

Taking a right to face the city, laid out down grade to Puget Sound crossed by Tankers, Ferries, Fishing boats.  Grey granite, stone, marble, glass, forming Obelisks, rectangles pushed edge to edge speaks to the subtle battling violence claiming status of commerce. Boarded and Locked doors, darkened glass fortresses. Taxi’s, Car’s, Bike’s, Buses open, close exchanging friends and foes like bridges over moats.

Fathers Day in C Major

Dad was Color Blind and Tone deaf

I imagine sitting at a keyboard and thinking of my father, for him I’d like to play something. Something just for him.

He was a Master Mechanic, old school, could listen intently to a vehicle diagnose the issue, then fix it.  The sounds made that much sense to him

He spent time on our Cars they always ran perfectly.

He died in 82, I was 21

I confess it wasn’t until later in life that I had many questions only fathers can answer

Dad was a Gentle Man

Kind

Lived Simply

Rarely made Demands

His favorite Birthday Gift was a Steam Engine,

He enjoyed putting it together as he explained its concept to me.

“You can’t compress water”

I had no ability for Mechanical things.

Dad had endless support for my interests.

I’m not a Musician, but have a musical background

If I could do anything for him

I would start with low C, then E, then G,

My right hand would build, C, E, G, C

I’d let the chord resonate till silent.

Then push the keys in unison

I’d play it in a way that he could hear the complexity and clearness of that chord

I’d ask him is this how our Car sounded.

Early Blue

 

 

Sitting on the front yard bench, Sheba inspecting the perimeter of the yard, smelling over night visitors, following trails of a stray rodent, a moth flutters between her paws as it rises from the grass that lays as a charcoal green carpet, a spangly rose bush untrimmed reaches to the cement grey arch over the sidewalk.

Blackberry brambles back lit by Cedar, Madrona, Fir hold the last midnight blue below them, above light begins its turn for day.

Rain drips from leaves like applause as the light stirs shadows out of the pockets.

Crow’s and Blue Jays continue their struggle over territory,

A single crow draws one of the Jays out of its nest, caw’s  and scrambles as it appears the Jay has the upper hand of the crow, 3 crows attack the nest, the remaining adult flee, as two chase it away, the last crow plucks a baby out of the nest, drops  it, then grabs another and flies away.

Jays and Crows scream at each other as the drama of the battle ends.

Sheba has made her way back and sits next to me on the bench, her wide eyes watch the Crows as they fly over us towards their nest in a back-yard Tree.

The streetlight across the street goes dark, the rain becomes a pour as I climb the stairs to the door, closing behind us.