So I’m on my way to Elliot Bay Book Store with my camera in hand because that’s what I do with a day to kill in Seattle. I’m at Seattle Center and decide to catch the monorail to Westlake Center to shorten my trip. The train arrives and like a kid I scramble to the front of the train to get next the best view. I sit in the seat next to the driver.
“Hi there! I’ll be your co-pilot today”
“Thanks. I need all the help I can get. ”
“Are sure you know the way?” I ask.
“More or less” he says
The driver has developed a pained expression like he knows what I’m about say. So I let him have it.
“Have you ever gotten speeding ticket on this thing?”
I keep it coming
“The boys back at the shop are wondering how you got lost last week”
“Who is most annoying person you have ever had on a trip besides me”
The train pulls into Westlake but not soon enough for the driver I’m sure.
So I’m at the Westlake Center in Seattle outdoors at the hotdog stand(I know I should be eating better than this).
An older man in a suit, obviously in a position of power, walks up with an attractive young girl looking like an intern. She thanks him twice for the hotdog he is ordering for her. It is said a little too politely and well before the usual rhythm of these things leads to the moment of “who pays?” and the spontaneous gesture of “‘I got this.” This was a premeditated invitation to lunch.
They talk comfortably about getting ready for a meeting for awhile then he awkwardly turns the conversation to weekend plans. She quickly fills it up with abundant strenuous young-people activities. He moves closer to her. Before he can say anything, she offers to wait for the hot dogs so he can go back to the office and get ready for the “meeting”. He doesn’t like that idea. There is an awkward silence. A live street performer is playing music in the background.
She says ”do you recognize this song?”
He says “no”
Intern “It’s Three Doors Down!”
Man in suite “I know where its coming from but I don’t know who it is”
I almost breakout in laughter but I’m able to snort my way out of it.
So I find I have booked a hotel on Route 66 in Flagstaff. Totally unintentional, but now that I’m here I decide to venture out on my bike and like a “Dharma Bum”, I’m on the road!
My hotel is one of three in a row all of similar design and price. Mine has been remodeled several times but that still can’t cover up the 1960’s design elements of the place – kinda of space-age plastic feel with aero dynamic lines flowing everywhere. I suppose they were pretty excited about landing on the moon back then and rightfully so- it maybe the most significant human achievement of all time.
I wander down the road and pass by a car dealership. A car with its hood open like an alligator is parked facing the road. In the “jaws” there is a sign that claims they are looking to sell cars to “good people with bad credit”. Like a baby deer walking by an alligator pond, a poorly dressed frazzled looking lady is looking at the sign.
The Alligator will sleep well tonight I think to myself.
Next I see a store selling billiards and saunas. That’s different. Maybe they have done extensive marketing research and discovered a correlation that no one else has yet. I move past Andy’s auto repair, an appliance repair shop, then a mortuary. Next to the Mortuary is a pawn shop. Now there is a correlation that makes sense to me. “You can’t take it with you”, they say!
I pass by a shop selling southwest antiques. There are old west icons for sale including wagon wheels and wooden furniture. Attracted by the items out front designed to draw me in, I do just that. Upon entering I ascertain that I am the only one in the store except for a lady engaging the lady at the register who appears to be the owner.
“Look at the detail in these designs,” she says.
“I know what my customers want and that doesn’t matter to them,” says the lady at the counter.
I walk around the store. Filled with furniture, art work, clothes, memorabilia, it oozes personality. If only they could speak.
“How about this! How about I give it all to you for three hundred! You would really be helping me out.”
I loose track of the conversation but it appears the deal went down. The lady with the detailed items is smiling. Another customer walks in. I move towards the front as the smiling lady walks out. The store owner perceptively makes an evaluation and decision. She turns to the lady who just entered and says “May I help you?”
Experience has taught her that someone pulling up to the store on a bicycle is likely not a big spender. She’s dead on with that evaluation.