Sleepless in Seattle is a Fact. Indeed! Cheesy title, but it’s probably the one I would choose even if it wasn’t already out there in popular culture.

Around 11:00 last night, I figured I was as done playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past as I was going to get. I turned off the Super Nintendo, flipped on my DSL unit, waited for it to connect, and then checked my mail. After replying to a few messages, I logged off. I folded my laundry, made sure I had my cell phone and palm pilot in a place I wouldn’t forget them tomorrow morning, and then turned out all the lights and went to sleep.

I woke up at 1:30 to a noise that sounded almost exactly like someone trying to open my front door. My unit in my apartment complex opens directly onto the street. It’s convenient, cozy, and probably not so secure. Alarmed, but knowing that I had set the deadbolt, I tossed on some clothes and then crept over to the door.

I peeked through my blinds to discover that a homeless man had curled up in front of my door. I sat on my carpet, on the other side of the door, watching him settle in. He, no doubt, had no idea that I was there.

For several minutes it was just he and I, on two different sides of a door, on two different sides of the world. He seeking shelter from the wind and light rain; I reflecting on the differences between us. In seven hours I would leave the comforts of my apartment to go to work; sometime before then he would leave the discomfort of my doorstep, presumably to resume begging for change.

After five minutes or so of watching him be a human being on my doorstep, I remember that I, too, am a human being and that I need to sleep before I go to work. Still in the dark, I disrobe and settle back into my bed. But after all, this is Seattle, the town I learned to love

At 2 am, I again wake with a start, to a noise that sounds almost exactly like someone trying to open the door to my apartment. “Oh, he’s just settling in,” I think. I again reflect (sleepily) on the differences between us, and wonder if I should open the door and offer him something to drink, maybe a glass of orange juice.

There’s that sound again. He must be having a rough go of it. There it is again. What the hell is he doing? And again. My mind goes back to the day of the Rodney King trial…

By this time it’s gone far beyond a matter of him tossing and turning. I rise from my bed and look at my door. The light from the street outside casts a shadow on my blinds: the shadow of the man who was curled at my doorstep, who is now standing directly outside my door.

I toss on clothes. I flip on the lights. I give him five seconds, for courtesy, and then I undo the deadbolt and swing open the door. Hell, it snows!!!

The chill air of the street rushes into my apartment, which was much more stuffy than I had thought it was. The man who had been standing there is gone. I step into the street, looking both ways to see if I can see him. If he is there, he does not want to be seen.

Tonight, I will probably beat the Legend of Zelda, because I will not be sleeping and I’m afraid I’ll have to call a few friends.