I spoke with Panchita today, and she was furious. “You left me out here in the cold to die,” she said.
“Panchita, you don’t fit in the boat.”
This made her doubly furious, one because I’d called her Panchita (her full name is Francisca Rivera Casas Sobrepuentes and if it were up to her I’d call her this and only this), and two because I’d implied she was fat. But she’s a Subaru Outback. She doesn’t fit in a 27 foot sailboat. Plus she’d make it dirty, though of course I don’t dare mention that. She sulked off and I noticed she was limping a bit, so I checked the pressure in her tires and noticed the back left was below 20. Panchita! Mi amor! Que te han hecho?
Putting air in Panchita’s tires is something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile, one of those things you know you should do but is kind of a hassle, like laundry or taking a shower. When you do those things you feel good about them, and feel a sense of accomplishment. The more odious the task presumably the greater sense of accomplishment. This might be why I vacuuum the area rug on Full (the short name of my boat) quite often. Constant accomplishment. And then three minutes later it’s filthy. I guess that’s what happens when you basically live out of doors.
Yesterday evening I went on a bit of a ramble by myself, over to the U-District and then into Capitol Hill. I went to St. Mark’s cathedral for a bit, where I sat observing my breath and the depths of my soul. It turns out my soul is pretty damn deep. Like 50 plus fathoms, depending on the tides. I tried to throw an anchor because I felt like I was drifting away toward the narthex and in danger of becoming an Episcopalian, but luckily just at the right moment a woman opened the door and my trance was shattered like a bottle of Olde English falling to the pavement. Thank God? Thank someone. Thank Jehoveh, or Yaweh, or Bernie Sanders. Then I kept walking, further into the heart of Capitol Hill, and suddenly there were all kinds of people walking around me and it was bustling and beautiful, and then I was in Cal Anderson, where it was peaceful and fall-like, the light from the street lamps dripping onto the paths, the leaves rustling with every faint breeze. Ahhh, fall in Seattle. I kept walking to Elliott Bay Books, where I go quite often. Funny thing about that: the last girl I dated used my frequent outings to Elliott Bay Books as sort of a metric for how much of a bum I was. Like, if you go to a bookstore everyday, you’re kind of a bum. But I just want to learn! Plus, Elliott Bay is one of the best bookstores on the planet. I prefer it even to Powell’s Books in Portland, despite the latter’s superior selection. Being in Elliott Bay feels a bit like being in a temple. So yeah, maybe I’m a bum, but I’m not going to stop going there.
I leave for Norway in less than a week. I’m staying the first three nights in an Airbnb with a girl named Marie. I will be hot on the trail of Karl Over Knausgaard, probably spending protracted afternoons at Cafe Opera. And then I’ll either take the train to Oslo and fly somewhere, or fly somewhere from Bergen. I might go to Paris to see a friend.
Panchita is outside in the parking lot waiting for me, undoubtedly seething. Why do relationships have to be so tough? Or maybe they’re not that tough. Maybe I just make them tough. The only thing I know is that it’s gloriously sunny in Seattle and a great day to be alive, certainly as good as any other. And I’m going to Europe soon.
Maybe I’ll even send Panchita a postcard.