New Seattle, Old Seattle
Everyone in the house this morning was talking about the
thunderstorm last night that flashed and boomed and awakened everyone
except those who have mastered the Zen art of narcotic never to
be awakened unless absolutely necessary and sometimes not even then sleep.
Such as I. It rains in Seattle (!!!), but not that many thunderstorms.
Makes the natives nervous. Seattle was always a city where everybody
owned a raincoat, but rarely an umbrella, where you could drive by
houses watering their lawns while it was raining because, although
it rains a lot, it never quite rains enough to keep them green.
Bed by ten, up at six, notice I don't have to get into work this morning,
back to sleep, awake again at ten. Twelve hours less whatever. Life is going
to be OK, even in the deep dark future (the land of those, for
example, who are over 60), if I can get a good night's sleep.
So, Seattle on a Friday, the middle of a working day. Drive down 15th
Ave. NW and have the fish/chips/clam soup special at the little fast food
Ivar's. Ivar Haglund, the founder of Ivar's Acres of Clams, hokey Ivar
with his "Keep Clam" (and worse) advertising on radio and television over
the years before anybody heard that eating deep fried fish and potatoes
was maybe not, um, survivable in the long run. Fuck it, I ate the halibut
and the chips, tartar sauce and ketchup, white clam soup and a lemonade.
I drove by my grandmother's house and my parents house located next
door, the house I lived in until the age of five. They'd added drive
around islands in the middle of the street crossings, everything just
a little bit narrower than it should have been for two lanes of
traffic. Many changes, but it's still a quiet street in the middle
of a quiet maybe a little less blue collar neighborhood and I drove
right to it without thinking. I walked these streets many times on
five year old legs, got knocked down once on the sidewalk in the
front of the house by an earthquake, the distances seeming longer.
Got out of the car and took some pictures. What I call the little
yellow house, my parents old house, is no longer yellow. Both houses
have been remodeled and repainted and landscaped however many times
and I really wouldn't have recognized either one of them just from a
picture without an address.
Drove out to the old house in Woodway Park where we lived until I
was 12 and we moved to New York. Woodway Park was a mix of old
money houses along the bluff overlooking the Puget Sound just
south of Edmonds and a bunch of barely had two nickels to rub
together young families starting out in the interior, the commute
to downtown Seattle about 45 minutes before there were any
freeways. Fairly dense second growth forest, plenty of empty
forest covered land between the houses. Good place for a kid. I
drove by the driveway entrance of our old house, couldn't see a thing
through the trees. The neighborhood was no longer comprised of young
families starting out and my guess is you can buy a fixer upper for
maybe $600K. No longer my old neighborhood, somebody else's old
neighborhood now. Driving out to Aurora I passed a mile and half
long line of cars waiting to take the ferry to Whidby Island.
I think if I move from the Bay Area I'll find a place I haven't lived
before, someplace where you don't have to wait two hours in a line to
get on the ferry. With a nice fast Internet connection. House doesn't
have to be fancy as long as its not too cold in the winter. And it
doesn't rain all the time.