Picking up firework garbage in a Seattle park on July 5, I wondered if I was being delivered a sign as I noted the top firework names. Was this some kind of barometer of the USA?
Hell In A Handbasket
We Want You
Of course, many of the familiar wrappers reminded me of wallpapering the old Cookhouse. It’s such a shame it fell into the ocean. Those “Pissed Eagle” fireworks with the eagle chomping the head of Osama Bin Laden would really be collectibles now.
Now, more than ever before, my life is ruled by water. This is not a bad thing, but it does require both time and planning to work in Seattle, an hour across. The ferry beats the hell out of driving in traffic. My car is set up as both bed and truck.
Seattle is now a few good people and some exotic food marinading, like tender vittles, in a rolling boil of inequality. The “Let Them Eat Cake” mandate is horrifying, and it feels good to have gotten out. But, of course, that’s where the money still is. I don’t recognize the place where I spent half my life.
For the time being, I’m enjoying being back at my park. There’s an old guy who likes to go tearing around on a rusty old bike, cane attached to the handlebars like a battering ram, shouting, “OUTTA THE WAY OF MY CADILLAC!”
“Are you cleaning up the park?” Cadillac asked me.
“I’m trying,” I said.
“There’s no such thing as trying!” Cadillac said. “There’s only succeeding! There’s no such thing as trying.
I’m lying, I’m dying.”
At a Parks Department retirement party, the guest of honor noted, “I want you to know that I’m standing here today because I had both knees replaced by the City of Seattle.”
There’s a staffer with a coveted gig who has cultivated quite the persona. His car is painted with a folk-art flair best described as “Pull Me Over, I’m Insane!” His license plate is a derivative of “SNUGGLES”, and his car is full of very large stuffed animals. I’m told he shaves, shirtless, in the Men’s room at Headquarters while grunting impressively.
No one can deal.
“Hollywood couldn’t make up a better serial killer,” a coworker noted. “What if it’s all a really good act? He gets to roam around freely, like the Sasquatch.”
It is a beautiful time at the beach, the islands forming that I call the “turtles” smooth and round under bare feet, the inland waterways warm enough to swim.
Things everywhere feel very Washaway these days: perilous, precarious, a slippery creature writhing out of control. I continue to try to remind myself of the importance of savoring: delight, frolic, laughter, the natural world, my garden, and the joy it brings to love and be loved. Just as the ferry, while time-consuming, is preferable to driving, these things seem, while fragile and needing some tender cultivating, vastly superior to the alternative.