Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not knowing what...

I met D. at the bookstore at noon.

It was already a good day...a holiday, so I slept in. I had just stumbled down the stairs and started making coffee when he called at nine. We had planned to take advantage of the day off by doing something, but we weren't sure what.

Not knowing what--and committing to it--is a fine way to spend a windfall of time.

I padded around the apartment in my jammies for a while, sipping coffee, checking e-mail, deciding not to clean or organize or pay bills or any of those other things that would get in the way of not knowing what.

A quick shower, a pair of jeans (oh, midweek transgression, JEANS!), and out the door to wait for my cab.

I stood in the drizzle, considering the fallen flower blossoms next to the fallen leaves on the ground, and noted that this would not have been possible in Minnesota. There the seasons were distinct. A caesura after each stanza and before the next one began. Summer. Stop. Fall. Stop. Winter. CONTINUE FOREVER AND THEN STOP. Spring. Stop. But in Seattle, the seasons overlap and recede and progress in ways that are more insidious than jarring.

Once at the bookstore, D. and I poked around and picked books up and put them back down again. Not knowing what means you don't want to be heavy laden with books at the start of the day. We crossed the street and took our chances at getting a table at Carmine's. We were just early enough that it worked, and Maria plied us with sausages and polenta and Montepulciano, while Frank Sinatra crooned and Carmine roamed the room and made sure everyone was happy. We were. We laughed and talked and schemed and ate and toasted and knew that such days were gifts.

Back outside, we wandered around Pioneer Square, peeking in stores, tucking little purchases in my bag, not meeting the eyes of the park bench dwellers, wrapped in sodden blankets amidst their woeful lean-to's of bags and cardboard.

Drizzle and chill sent us onto a bus, and we careened along First Avenue to the Pike Place Market, where we wished we had room for the pierogi and bought rosmarino salami for later and regarded the vistas of vegetables and meats while planning the dinner parties we would throw if we were each made of time and money. We tucked into the Athenian and grabbed a booth by the window to watch the gulls and ferries out on the Sound and to warm up and sit for a bit.

We headed up to the core of downtown and said our goodbyes, D. to head back his way and me to walk home. I stopped in my favorite little Italian café and had a cookie and a coffee, the house wine of Seattle.

By now it was dark and had started drizzling again.

I made it home, head down but without the hood of my raincoat, and find myself sitting at the computer now, confronted once again with my Real Life. It's not a bad one, truth be told, and I almost feel guilty for having departures that are no better than the place I live.

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