While it’s pouring buckets of snow on my home town Seattle, I’m spending a dry wintery cold afternoon in Oklahoma, in the kitchen. Ella’s in the background singing her sweet swinging heart out. I might as well be in Seattle it has all the makings. Torta rustica in the oven baking and while I’m not drinking coffee I do have a steamy mug of steeped fancy green leaf and barley tea. Here’s the difference. Besides Ella crooning, there are roosters instead of ambulance sirens, lambs bleats instead of traffic sounds. Silence instead of horns honking and sounds of a busy city. Yea my life is sweet. I can’t say sometimes I don’t miss it. The excitement, the stress, the coffee. I remember it, all the good, all the bad but I like my little life. I like the noises.
I remember the excitement that comes on rare snowy day in Seattle. It may only last 24hrs but that one snow day people in Seattle will actually talk to strangers. They are, no matter how cool, frikin’ excited. It takes Seattleites about four hours to get cabin fever then either by foot, bike (yes bike in the snow, my brother in law actually went for a run today) train or bus they end up at the corner coffee shop or store and proceed to talk to everyone in earshot which the day before they would never have considered doing in a million years. Put a little snow on the ground and that Seattle cool pout turns to childlike innocence and humility. Suddenly they aint concerned about being hot shit anymore. I think it’s because snow is so rare it brings up like a fear response of imminent danger or death.
When I go home to visit it takes me a day or two to fall back into the cultural norm. On the bus; Put your ear plugs in, read a book, have a serious but not angry look on your face and never, never, never have eye contact with anyone and if you do (by accident of course) and they are not cute, bring your attention back to the pout, look at your book….deeply or out the window (but really at your own reflection). Pretend no one can see you and you can’t see anyone else. Smiling at someone is grounds for confrontation. Just don’t do it, they will think you just got released from a mental hospital. If someone sits next to you on the bus that you think might have just been released from a mental hospital because they said “hi can I sit here?” get off at the next stop and walk the rest of the way. If you cant do that press yourself as close as you can against the sidewall even if your face is smashed up against the window. If you can avoid ridding the bus altogether you’ll be better off. But I forget this and the first day I go into town I’m like smiling at everyone and saying hi and thank you. I’m almost giddy, just like we are in Oklahoma. We talk to the cashier at wal-mart, the bank and the feed store. There is only one wal-mart in all of Seattle and you wouldn’t get caught dead in there. I bet that place is packed right now.
A few winters ago it snowed while I was visiting and it was really sweet seeing them so vulnerable and almost friendly. I made a point every time someone talked to me about the weather to look at them as if they had just grown an extremely huge eye out of their chin. Then just turn away and look at the ground. And mutter “fucking creep”…Cracked me up! HAHHAHAHA!!!!! No I didn’t. I made that up.
But today strangers will come together in Seattle. There will be more thank yous, more your welcomes and more a feeling that in this busy world we’re still in this together, no matter how separate we try to make ourselves the rest of the time. This one day, this snowy day belongs to us. Seattle I love you!