Tuesday, February 26, 2008

grown up and cool

One of the things I love about living downtown is that I can leave work, shake the dust of the office off my shoes, and then head into the traffic and lights and humanity at "Feierabend"--a not very translatable German word that is both the end of the work day and the greeting you give to people to acknowledge that transition from professional to personal.

This evening I walked down to the Pike Place Market and bought a loaf of 8-grain bread at a bakery. The guy was horrified that he didn't have the 12-grain that I wanted, and he gave me his card and told me to call ahead and that he would hold a loaf for me next time...and then he gave me the 8-grain for half price.

A homeless woman shouted out to me "I love your earrings!!! It's the first thing I noticed when you walked by! Those are GREAT!" And she grinned a big, lopsided grin and ducked, waving, into an alleyway.

Another woman fell out of her wheelchair and hit her head on the street at the corner of 6th and Pine and 15 people swooped down to tend to her, while another 5 directed traffic away from and her and 10 more called 911 on their cellphones. I was useless, except to hold her hand and talk to her. She said she was afraid, and to please keep talking to her until help came. Once the firetruck with the first responders arrived, about the same time as the woman's son got there, everyone dispersed silently. We'll never see each other again, so we can't test the bond that formed in a second around the woman on the ground.

I stopped in a little risotteria and had a glass of barbera and a plate of tomato-y rice by candlelight, all by myself. I felt more grown up than alone. The waiter talked to me as if he found it more cool than pathetic to serve a single woman with a loaf of bread and cheeks flushed from a walk and a streetside drama, surreptitiously taking iPhone pictures at passersby on the other side of the window.

Dean Martin crooned.

It was good.

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