October 14, 2006
I wake today to a faint ringing in my ears. Ah, more hearing loss. I’ll probably be deaf by the time I’m an old man. That’s probably for the best. Especially after I’m married.
I go in the house, say goodbye to Aaron’s wife, ride to the shop, say goodbye to Aaron, and set out on my way. Today I’m taking a ferry across Puget Sound to the Olympic Peninsula, and the landing is just around the corner.
Discovering I have some time to kill before the next ferry departure, I duck in to the nearby Starbucks. Two men are inside playing chess. I ask if I can take their picture, and a conversation ensues.
“Look at her out there across the street,” one says, “The colors in her skirt, standing at the bus stop… now there’s a pretty picture for ya.” He’s referring to an Asian woman in a long skirt, shifting in the grey damp breeze, talking on her cell phone, waiting for the bus.
They invite me for a game of chess, but I’m anxious to get across the Sound and start clicking away the miles again. A Starbucks employee interrupts – she has hair dyed to a deep, glossy red, and is so upbeat that she obviously helps herself to the house coffee.
“Would you like a free sample of our maple latte?” she asks. We all take one. The other man pulls a hidden flask of whiskey from his coat pocket, and offers me some. “Think we’re normally this happy?” he says, and laughs. Heh. It’s like 12:30pm, and these guys are playing chess at Starbucks and getting drunk.
He pours about three shots worth in my latte cup. I gradually sip it down – it’s smooth and tasty with the remaining cream. That’ll sure warm you up on a grey Seattle day.
As I’m leaving them, the one man takes my hand, looks in my eyes with that straight dramatic honesty that only shows after throwing back a couple drinks, and says “You have an excellent trip.”
The dock is foggy and silent as people wait inside their cars for the ferry. It lands, and I feel funny to be out in the open air with a hush of silence to it, yet among a good deal of people and activity.
Operators in orange vests throw around chains and wave in the cars, like a choreographed silent film. A recorded message plays, and nobody hears it from inside their shut vehicles. I can barely make out the words anyway, over the rumbling engine and wind. We’re underway. The damp breeze takes on a chill, and I type on my journal. It’s about a half-hour ride across Puget Sound.
On the far side of the sound, I’m suddenly out on the peaceful country roads again, away from urban Seattle. The air remains moist and foggy, but it doesn’t rain. The landscape is rolling and hilly, but I don’t find it strenuous… still intoxicated with coffee, liquor, and the excitement of the open road after a few days of rest. Songs from the concert last night play in my head, particularly Tangled Up In Blue. It has a mellow, meandering quality to it that suits this afternoon perfectly.
It’s supposed to rain tonight, so I give in to the urge to get a room, a pizza, spread across the bed, and phone friends and family. Life is good.
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Google Map Route may not be 100% accurate.