Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Portions of an actual conversation overheard on the 5:25 #17 bus from downtown to Ballard last week:

On the bus. A woman who appears to be in her mid-30's talks on her cell phone. She wears a pin-striped blouse, brown pants, black ankle-height pleather boots, and a brown vinyl parka tied around her waist. She carries a black canvas bag with a Looney Toons screen print on the front. Her long hair is layered, and slightly stringy. Her complexion is bad; her face, pockmarked. Her voice is nasally. We come into the conversation in the middle, as it appears it has been going on long before we boarded the bus...

Woman: You nohw how I used to drink light beer?

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Woman: Yeah, well, now I drink, like, Ahhmber or something. It's got a nice tang to it, you nohw?

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Woman: No, I don't like anything dark, like Guinness? Gahd, I haaate that.

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Woman: Uhhh, nyeahp.

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Woman: Cha, well, you know I'm going to Hollywood, right?

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Woman: Cha, I'm going to Hollywood.

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Woman: When am I going to Hollywood? In September, for Labor Day.

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Woman: I'm going to HOLlywood with Sara and Ann Marie and Beth.

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Woman: Well, since I'm going to HOLLYwood, I'm not buying a separate ticket or taking more time off to come to San Diego to see you. I can just see you when I'm in Hollywood.

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Woman: No, I'm not taking any leave to go down to Hollywood.

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Woman: [sighs, as the bus sits 6 cars back, waiting to get on the Ballard bridge. This time of day, the line is usually backed up 1/2 a mile. 6 cars is nothing.] Traffic is a BEAR Right now.

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Woman: [with her long, layered, stringy hair over her face like a toddler might put it to play with it, as she examines her fingernails with their chipping paint] God, I can't hear you. Are you out in the wind?

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Woman: Ok, nyah, well, I'll talk to you later then. Ok. Bye.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Well, I'm back.

A virtual cookie to whoever can tell me what book that line is from...bonus points if you know who said it. (Hint: It's the last line of said book.)

Anyway...it's been a few weeks since I've been on here. And what a few weeks it's been…

It's a lot to write about, and to think about, that in only two-and-a-half weeks I've loaded a 16-foot moving truck with everything I owned, drove 3,400 miles, attended a four-day moped rally, unpacked the moving truck, unpacked the boxes, putting their contents into our new apartment, worked several random jobs, been to Portland for 24 hours to see our families and a bunch of old friends…

My life feels so different from what it was two-and-a-half weeks ago. That's not a long time, and yet to me, it feels like an eternity.

Anyway.

The trip out was fine. Long, really long, but fine. The moped rally was good; it was great to see friends from other branches. Moving in was pretty easy, although we had a few small snags. But that's ok. More about all that later. I have lots of stories and pictures to share. We don't have internet at home yet (stupid Comcast is being ridiculous and I am fed up with them, so it might be a while) so we are relying on the library and friends' houses to stay connected, which means we have sporadic access at best.

Things have been good since we've been back. We love, love, where we live in Ballard. It's perfect. I have walked more in the week-and-a-half that I've been back than I would walk for months when we were in Maine. (I hope that will help me drop some of the weight I gained in Maine…that is, if I can restrain myself from gorging on all the foods I've missed.)

The library, the grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, the drugstore – basically everything we need is within a 10-minute walk or a 2-minute moped ride of our apartment. I've found myself startled by that convenience at odd moments since we've been back…after living in Maine, where going to the library meant making a 15-minute trip in the car, or where it was a 20-minute drive to get to any restaurant we liked…it's really strange, but wonderful, of course, to have all of these amenities, so close at hand.

We love, too, being so near so many of our friends. Nearly all of them live close by; most within a few blocks. It's so fun to hear mopeds whizzing past the house on a regular basis. And it's not just moped friends who are close – lots of other people are, too, which is fun.

Being near our church is nice, too. It's maybe a four-minute moped ride from our house. We've been going with some friends in the evening, to the 7 p.m., so it's a nice way to end the day and to start the week. (Plus, that way, we get to sleep in, which is always nice.)

It's nice, being so close to everyone and everything, especially since we don't have a car. The mopeds are the perfect form of transportation, though. Quick, easy, no need to search for parking, just a post or tree to lock up to. We just need to get mine registered and I'll be good to go. For now, though, it's the bus for me.

This morning, I walked to the bus stop from our house so I could catch the bus to downtown, where I'm working this week. When I left the house, it was a gray, cool morning, and I thought that it looked like it could rain at any moment. (That's typical Seattle weather…) It's about a 10-minute walk to the bus stop from our house – not long, and a good way to start the day, with a little exercise. It felt great to walk through the coolness of the morning and the emptiness of Ballard before 8 a.m. Anyway. I started to walk across Market Street toward the stop for the #17 and looked to my right, toward the west, checking for cars before I crossed the street.

What I saw took my breath away and nearly brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me how much I love this place. The Olympic Mountains – tall, regal, snow-covered – were silhouetted against the horizon, and the morning sun was reflecting off of their snow-capped peaks, despite the damp, gray day I'd seen so far. It was gorgeous.

That picture encapsulates how I feel, how we both feel, to be back here.

The bottom line is this: it is so. freaking. good. to be home.