Little Seattle

I knew it’d be raining when I woke up – and it was.  Wife was up late working on a school project – no idea how late though, I don’t speak snore.  I turned in at about 1:00a after reviewing some documents for friends and doing a little financial planning.  Slept through "In Rainbows" on the clock radio CD player and woke up to incessant beeping.  Somehow I turned off both alarms and set the nap timer.  I started to gain awareness after flicking on the TV.  Local news is a blur, but California is burning.  The rain here is quite a contrast – but nothing compared to the 10" in New Orleans yesterday.

Grabbed a shower, threw on my clothes with an eye toward compatibility with the damp.  It was about 10 till launch, so I grabbed two donuts and a Game Fuel.  Better than nothing.  I usually stay away from canned beverages before noon.  Just enough time to get upstairs, shave, figure out how to tame my fresh haircut, and brush the aftermath of breakfast and a night of coma-like sleep into the basin.

I checked my watch for the high/low and forecast, then grabbed the fleece and Gore-Tex.  Checked on the wife and said bye, then down the stairs, off with the TV and lights and out the door.  I paused under the porch as I drew my umbrella from it’s position in my bag and charged across the street like Roosevelt at San Juan Hill.

The trees were low and heavy with leaves.  To avoid them, it was sort of a tactical crouch-run as my eyes darted to detect incoming road spray, the leavings of dog walkers, and the possibility of an early bus.  None were apparent.  I paused at my way-point in the bus shelter and shook off my umbrella, then a car swerved into a long pool in the gutter and sent half of it my way in slow motion.  Halo 3 reflexes handily deployed the shield and protected me from the brunt of the tsunami.  The bus rolled up not long after and I paused inside as the driver scowled – I juggled my wallet and umbrella to present my bus pass.  I’ve ridden every day but two for three weeks – she knows me, but apparently seeing a well-worn ID with an indistinguishable photo of me in a goatee somehow helps.  Mere authoritarian theatre.  It’s unconsionable to fund transit with taxes then charge a fee for use.

The bus was a Flexible, built in my hometown.  I toured the plant before it closed, apparently because the busses leaked and rattled annoyingly at the slightest bump.  It was dark and the headlights on window droplets made it impossible to see much but the road ahead.  The other riders mostly reading, napping, or groggily staring ahead like zombies satiated by a belly-full of brains.

STOP REQUESTED scrolled in blinding red LED’s on the marquee as the bus lurched around the corner toward the stop on Chestnut (Grandpa had worked on this corner for much of his life).  A few of us stood – our umbrellas as rifles in defense of the assaulting rain, then we were out – in the canyon of tall buildings the wind blew rain from every where and nowhere at once.  My goal, on the other side of a river of jostling steel was a brass revolving door at Three Nationwide.  The light flashed WALK and I stepped forward as two piggly drivers pushed through the crosswalk ahead of the saturated pedestrian mass.  At least they didn’t splash much.

As I reached the door I passed a guy in a rain suit leaning on a broom.  His task – sweep leaves.  Unwinnable in these conditions, more so without effort.  Maybe they could give him a blower so he could waste gas too like on campus where the grounds crew seems to judge status by the number of small gas engines under his/her command.

I pushed through the door and paused to shake of my umbrella – not working in the building, just visiting to avoid the wet.  Strolled under the un-blinking cameras then out the other side a block away.  "Press button to cross Front" said the sign, and I did.  A minute later I was out in the rain again but headed for awnings on a parking garage.  It was tempting to hug the building wall, but in an effort to prevent the little alcoves from being too cozy, the architects left an opening to the sky up close – the driest path was out over the sidewalk.

No trains rumbling beneath me this morning – a small disappointment. 

Doors "secured" by key-cards at work before open, and I saw a woman bobbling her umbrella as she searched for her card.  I stopped by the main door and watched as I shook off my umbrella, then in past the guards office (blinds drawn, no ID, and no security check) and watched the numbers count down to a cheerful "Good morning!" as I stepped in the opposite elevator door.  She swiped her key that activated the controls and I casually tapped the button to my supposedly secure floor.  Security theatre.  Nobody wears or checks for our ID badges.  You could stroll in with an AMRAAM with a cheerful attitude and an air of decision.

"Top o’ the mornin’ – FOX THREE".

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