A Fall Day in Seattle

Just as many of you probably did this morning, I woke up and asked myself the question: what would it be like to spend an entire morning at the U-Bookstore?

So then of course I set out to do it. I piled into my ’97 Subaru Outback, also known as Francisca, or Panchita (though she hates being called that), and drove the several miles into the U-District.

First however I had to make a mandatory Whole Foods stop. Yerba mate. I sat down next to a girl with an MIT headband on and contemplated asking her, “You think you’re better than me?” but instead opted to do a little journaling followed by a long journey to the bathroom for thinking time. I left my stuff on the counter when I went to the bathroom. I trust people, almost to a fault. Well that’s not completely true. I also trust my instincts when it comes to sketchy people. If I’m walking at night and get a bad feeling about the person coming toward me, I’ve been known to cross the street.

After the mate I finally made it to the bookstore, where intelectual and spiritual riches abound. Is there anything better than sitting in a bookstore with a book you don’t own and have no intention of buying, learning and reading for free? Actually, I can think of a host of things. But this morning it was pretty great. I read a book by Carlo Rovelli, and also Ursula le Guin’s interpretation of the Tao Te Ching. The Rovelli book is called Reality is Not What it Seems and is about quantum gravity, a subject I knew, and still know, nothing about. The problem with reading at a bookstore is you always get tired. It’s too damn peaceful. Plus at the U-Bookstore they always have good classical music playing, so all you want to do is curl up on the floor and descend into dreamworld. And this considering I slept well last night.

After the U-Bookstore I went to PCC to contemplate the lunch crowd, and then sat by the cut by the Google offices, basking in the sun not unlike a juvenile Komodo Dragon. The closer you are to the water the warmer it gets, due to the reflecting rays. But then I was seized by sudden inspiration, and trotted up the hill, past all the Googlers working their asses off for better email, better maps, better search engines, all the stuff that matters in the world, and made my way back to where Francisca was parked. She looked pissed. For some reason she doesn’t like two-hour parking. Says it makes her feel “emasculated,” which is strange considering she’s female. But I know better than to argue with Francisca. When she gets mad she burns oil. One time at the Canadian border in August she got so pissed at the line that she started to overheat. She punished us (I was with a friend) by making us turn up the heat full blast to cool her down. Francisca is nothing if not temperamental.

Finally I got back to my boat where I have left the succulent plant I purchased from Trader Joe’s on the deck of my boat to die. Or live. It wasn’t doing well inside so I’ve decided it’s now an outside plant. I think it enjoys being in the sun. What plant wouldn’t? The cold might kill it. Or it might thrive. So far I have killed plants by paying too much attention to them, so I’m trying to put this one out of mind by keeping it more out of sight. True love seems indifferent, or so the Tao says. Unless it’s a car. Then you sort of have to pay attention to it.

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