I sat and watched the boats as they pushed across the clear blue water, a perfect reflection of the cloudless sky above. The seabirds chattered along the pier, flying up in a flurry of flapping wings when another got too close. They fought over the remains of food scraps scattered across the ground. It was 8 o’clock. My warm breath hung in the icy morning air like smoke clouds and I blew into my hands to keep them warm. Behind me, the city was alive with the humming of traffic winding in from the highways to the city.
I walked along the edge of the water for what felt like an hour but I could not be sure. I had no wristwatch. I stopped at a coffee shop. In front of me in line was a well dressed old man. His back was arched from old age and his skin stretched across his skeleton face his arms and legs were very thin. He snapped his order to the woman behind the counter and counted out the exact change from the pile of coins in his shaking palm. He hobbled out the door.
I sat down at one of the small tables in the corner of the room. I fumbled through the paper but my interest soon waned. I looked around at the other people in the shop. Most were on their way to work. They glanced frequently at their watches. They grew impatient quickly. They had no time to waste. I sipped my coffee slowly. It burned my tongue.
I stepped out of the coffee shop and onto the sidewalk. The sun had warmed the air considerably. I could no longer see my breath. I crossed the street. A man asked me for change. I lied and said I had none. Made me feel like when I was on the hound bus here from Boston.
I am a little strange and eccentric, I will admit. So, sometimes I will do things that seem a little off-color. Until the results of “experimenting” are unveiled and then everyone that is in “the know”, freak out, and new lines of thinking are brought about. Ok, that said, here is my story of the experiment I call “finding directions Part 1 and 2”
Part 1: Hiding my identity as a Seattle-ite, I posed as a Frenchman just off the plane. asking people on the street for directions to a store that was within 3 blocks.
I had gotten a lot of correct directions, and some off directions. I was looking for the Elliot Bay bookstore, and one man (we were standing in pioneer square) pointed me towards the space needle and told it was next to the Aquarium. Obviously, I didn’t follow those directions. But for the most part, I learned that we love helping people out, unless…
Part 2: While decked out with my 2-foot mohawk, (died green) black platform shoes, black bondage pants, black… you get the picture, and enough chains and spikes on me to keep “the Seahawks stadium line in order”… I walked from 1st and Lander all the way to Cafe Minnie’s on Capital Hill… just by the directions that people gave me… (Yes, I left at 11 in the morning and arrived at 6 p.m. that night). Bruce Lee would’ve had his thoughts…
I will never forget two of the mis-directioned people I ran into. First was the policeman on horseback.
Me: I think I am lost. Him: Yes, you are. Me: Umm, thanks. Him: No problem, where are you going? Me: Capital Hill… How do I get there? Him: By bus. Me: Thanks.. have a great day I walked away laughing at him, and looking around to where I was, and it was a grass park thing in the middle of a bunch of suits.
The second was right next to F.A.O Schwartz (sp) and there were about 6 people standing there:
Me: Excuse me, I think I am lost. Them: (Just Looking at me, quizzically) Me: I am trying to get to Capitol Hill. All of the sudden they start talking amongst themselves and arguing over which way it was. I then saw arms pointing in almost every direction.
So we are kind and generous to anyone that is not from here, but if you even look like you might be from here, or are trying to get to a place that is stigmatized… My suggestion is for you to find me… I will get us there sometime…
By the way.. which way is the Space needle from The Hurricane cafe…