On My Own || Walking


It’s a statement, not a question. She’s not saying, “Do you have any questions?” She’s saying, “I know you have questions. Pose them to me.”

She stands there a few feet in front of me, waiting for me to say something. I can’t really think of any questions I have. My only question is, “When can I climb?”

“Still no climbing?”

She pauses for a millisecond before answering and that millisecond tells me she’s mildly annoyed. Mildly annoyed I ask her pretty much every session “When can I climb?” and the answer is always the same: Do you want to start climbing now and risk potentially tearing some fibers that were almost healed? Do you want things to take four months instead of two months? This is the exact answer she gives me today.

“I remember us talking about maybe discussing gym climbing in two weeks…” I trail off.

She gives me the same answer she just gave me, the same answer she gives me every time. Wait a little longer. Let your knee get stronger. Why risk it now?

The air in the physical therapy office is still. Brandon, one of the other therapists, is working with a patient. Working with two, actually. I’m so glad I haven’t gotten double booked yet. S–, who I’ve been working with, has been amazing. The hamstring and calf massages she does at the beginning of these sessions are out of this world. I wish I could get those massages everyday. I wish the sessions consisted entirely of those massages and nothing else. I was a little worried at first we might not get along. I found her a bit…snarky. But then again, I can be snarky. I can be sassy. When I was little one of the things I most got chided for was “talking back.”

I love talking back.

“No back talk.”

I ask a couple small logistical questions and then head outside into the warm Greenlake air. It must be 60 degrees outside. It must be 75 degrees outside. It must be 95 degrees outside. It must be 55 degrees outside. I sit at a table and bask in the sun, no need to go anywhere soon. Barry called while I was in phys ther but I missed his call. Wonder what he’s up to. Should I walk around the lake? No, just sit here for a bit. What’s the rush. I’m unemployed. I can do whatever the fuck I want with my days. Eventually I get up and start walking towards PCC, the one by Shelter. I look at the clouds and they’re glorious, they’re brilliant, they’re a lesson in presence, a lesson in peace. My whole soul is wrapped up in those clouds, just for a moment. For just a moment, I feel light. I feel glowing. The blue sky, the sun, spring is coming. But it’s the lightness that I’m focused on. The fact that my soul feels like it’s singing. And I think, Someone has to do this. Someone has to just mosey around Greenlake, watching the clouds and the treetops and the blue sky, feeling the lightness. Because most people don’t do this and most people would kill to be able to do this.

“Dude, guess where I am right now,” I say to Barry, when he calls.

“Whole Foods.”

“No, PCC.”

“You should write blog posts about grocery stores.”

“That’s what I do.”

I sit on a bench outside PCC taking in more sun, eating some food from the hot bar. It turns out Barry is at the Whole Foods by Roosevelt. I walk over to where he is and he’s got a sandwich with pretzel bread and a Guayaki yerba mate. I go inside and get some cash back so if we walk to the UW light rail station I’ll have bus money to get back to my car. It’s so gloriously sunny, the nicest day of the year. We talk about his property out on the Peninsula and how some guy is coming to put the road in. I tell him about my physical therapy and how the knee’s doing. In front of us a guy wearing a mask is fumbling with the parking meter. Why is he paying for parking when he could just park in the Whole Foods parking lot? What is wrong with people? Well, I’m not gonna be a customer at Whole Foods. So, who cares, go buy a drink or something. Or park in the free parking on 11th. What is wrong with people. I think this kind of idiocy, this kind of simple idiocy, paying for parking when you patently don’t have to, is why there are wars in this world. People constantly making stupid decisions. And you might say, “These things don’t matter.” But they’re the only things that matter. These minor imprecisions are what compound into major imprecisions and lead to catastrophe. Just slow down and…..think a bit.

Barry talks more about the property and I mention to him that in Chile they sometimes use eucalyptus trees to dry things up. I’m not sure if that would be legal in Washington, I don’t know what the status of planting eucalyptus trees is, but they’ll sure dry an area up. They’ll dry it up too much. And they’re beautiful if you don’t consider that they’re also kind of like weeds.

We continue walking, down through Ravenna Park and then by U-Village. It’s a weekday, so there aren’t that many people out, but it’s also beautiful, so there are quite a few people on the Burke Gillman. It’s kind of a long walk. Finally we get to the light rail and get on the train going south, and I get off at Cap Hill and wave goodbye. And then I’m on my own, and all is silent again, just for a moment, and I’m walking toward the bookstore.