If we were having coffee, you would be late and practically pushed in the door from the strength of the wind behind you. Is the wind always this strong in the winter? I ask you, and you shake your head and keep walking to the counter. You return with a croissant and coffee, and talk a bit about Christmas shopping. I’m preparing to travel, I tell you, so I haven’t been making many purchases – I’ll have to fly with it all!
I’m going to be on the road for a couple of weeks, and I’m going to miss Washington. You aren’t planning to leave the region, maybe go to Oregon, because a lot of people who live here are from Oregon. That is only one place on my list of places to visit while I live out here, I tell you, and you invite me for a visit with your family anytime. I want to go to Montana, Northern California and retrace steps I took in high school to the northwestern point on Washington and Tatoosh island.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you about being a Seattle tourist and going to Pike Place Market. It was a lot of fun and not as far or hard to get to as I thought it would be. Perhaps I am used to Mid-Western distances, but it used to take me 30ish minutes to drive to work every morning (and then a half hour back, or, if I took the bus, a 30 minute walk to and from the bus stop, plus an hour to the city), so driving 30 minutes to the Market or 20 minutes to story time in another town is nothing. Even with the horrible traffic – and it really does suck – its not that bad.
Ooh! But I saw one of the tent cities I’d heard about! I tell you, and you make a face of confusion. It seems that the city of Seattle actually allows homeless people to build up “tent cities” to live in. St. Louis doesn’t officially permit tent cities, though they line the river bank, particularly on the south side of the city. I remember visiting a few of them on the north side, about where they want to build the new football stadium right now. My agency had a Mobile Outreach team and I went with them to visit some of the folks living in the tents. We brought boxes of sandwiches and bottles of water, and checked in with people. A few people asked specific questions about vet representatives or clothing giveaways. They were working on getting their lives back together, though they were living off the grid.
If we were having coffee, we would each comment on how much we’ll miss meeting over the next few weeks and wonder if we could Skype? Or just text messages. This makes me think of a conversation I had with some friends last night. Some of us were in St. Louis, I was in Seattle, another one of us was in Costa Rica, and the other was in London. It was so cool for all of us to be chatting together in real time.
We’re going to meet for Sunday brunch after Christmas. We all used to be travel buddies, traveling together or visiting people and places based on each other’s recommendation. Now two of us are married, two are living abroad, and I have the Wee One. Oh, the places we’ve gone! It’ll be fun.
We part, eager to return with stories and insights.