“Let’s consult the oracle,” my friend Val said, whipping out her phone to look something up. This is not the time to stop seeking. Truth, answers, kindness, love, hope. I am looking for messages, and their messengers.
“Sudoku distracts my brain for at least a bit. Walking, and verbally naming everything you see in detail. You may look like a crazy person, but it helped me when I was at my worst. It helps separate mind from thought.” -Harmony
“Take walks. The O2 helps reduce anxiety. Xanax works for me too.” -Heidi
“Today it’s comfort food: my favorite gf pesto pizza, a glass of wine, and strawberry ice cream for dessert, which I really only crave when stressed out. Other days it is deep breathing, cuddling with my cats, listening to energizing or more positive music, going to bed earlier, reading more, and talking to friends about it.” -Suzanne
“Hot tub and swimming. And sitting in my car listening to the music helps me. I love the cat. I’m sure he is helpful. And a good friend always helps.” -Connie
“Smoke some good marijuana. Maybe some Quaaludes!” -El Topo
“Bath bombs are the bomb!” -Janet
And from Resha, my former Washaway neighbor, until we fell into the ocean: “Don’t neglect the basics you already know. They never change in their ability to calm and center even though the pressure mounts. Increase your trust in them to to do the job. Breathe, walk, music, holding and being held.”
So, it snowed in Seattle last week. This is a rare enough event to bring an otherwise resilient city to its knees. I thought I’d take the bus, to keep my car unwrecked for beach purposes. A nine mile trip took two hours.
I waited for a bus home for 25 minutes past its scheduled time. An older man in a brown puffy ski jacket said, “I’ve been waiting at least 40 minutes.” When he spoke, I could see that what few teeth he had appeared to be filed into points. “I’m walking,” I said.
I set off at a brisk clip. A half hour or so later, at the precise moment I arrived, on foot, at 3rd and Pine, the #3 bus pulled up and the brown-jacketed man got off. We exchanged a vampire nod in passing.
The next day, there was an old woman wandering around the Space Needle grounds. In her impeccable flowered wool coat and style-not-warmth ribboned hat, she could slay at any Queen Mum lookalike contest.
She was pained that all of Seattle’s attractions open at eleven, having only half a day to do them all, before catching a flight back to Glasgow. “I have no problem approaching strange men,” she told me. “When you have grey hair you can do whatever you want.”
Dream: I’m on the light rail, and I have lost my shoes somewhere, but I am wearing, as always, a most excellent pair of Smartwool socks. A man hands me a tiny, naked baby girl and walks off into another car.
The girl is missing an eye, and one of her cute as hell, miniature tiny feet has six toes. She starts to pee on me. Naturally, my foremost concern is my beautiful socks. I hold her at arm’s length. Eventually her Dad returns and I hand her off.
“She is going to be sassy,” I say. “Always winking.”
He messaged me that “Space” Ace Frehley was coming to town to perform. (I was fully smitten with KISS by the age of ten. This suggests to me that if I was not born bad, I would at the very least “like to see it taken further”, as we used to say at art school.)