Friday, October 21, 2005

Seattle highlights

  • For the most part, getting along with Mom.

  • Seeing Audrey and Amanda on Sunday (separately) and telling them the current dating saga. In Audrey's case, I told the story in the presence of a five-year-old, which required using code words. Amanda had me over for dinner and I told her the story after her son went to sleep. She reciprocated by telling me about her recent break-up. Now that's a good story. (I have other friends here, but not the energy to deal with them, so this is a four person visit: Audrey, Amanda, vip-ex and Mom.)

  • Drinking many very good cappuccinos. The best moment? On Saturday Mom and I walked into a funky coffee shop, ordered my usual: short, skim cap and the barista asked, "wet or dry?" Sigh. Like heaven. "Dry."

  • On the same Saturday, running into Victor, the owner of Big People Scooters and reminiscing about an ill-fated scooter rally to Canada many, many years ago. We recognized each other and he said, "That was 18 years ago!" Seventeen, actually. But I remember it vividly. I'll have to tell you that story another time.

  • Talking to a bunch of grad students about why they shouldn't go into academia. Ha. Ok, that wasn't exactly it. It was a brown bag about non-academic careers. It was well attended and the students asked some interesting questions. I enjoyed myself.

  • Coffee with vip-ex. He was out of town the day I gave my talk (in his department no less!). We had coffee on Wednesday afternoon. I told him about Tim and he was very interested. Jealous? Not exactly. Maybe just a little? It's the first time for a long time that I've told him a good news story about a boyfriend. I recognize that the story about Tim is not entirely good news, but was I going to tell vip-ex all that? No, I was not. I started this way, "You were funny about my mom when you called. She doesn't care if I talk to you."
    "She used to mind. How do I know?"

    "Well, she doesn't care so much now that there's a new boyfriend in the picture."

    "Oh really. Who is this new boyfriend? Is he a government worker like you?"

    "Sort of. He's in the military. Career."

    "That's great!"
    And on like that. Talking about Tim makes me smile, so vip-ex definitely got a good impression of him. I called him my boyfriend, which wasn't exactly kosher, but can you blame me? Vip-ex said something about my well-known reputation for restlessness. That was odd and news to me. Little does he know of my capacity for sitting for many hours in coffee shops working on the blog. At the very end of our conversation, vip-ex was going on about my rosy future with Tim. Strange, that. I said it was complicated. "Does he have a wife?"


    "Yes. But she wants to reconcile."

    "It's just weeds. You have to be able to live with some weeds."

    "I am able to. I don't mind the fact of her. I can live with that. But he has some figuring out to do. I don't want to be one of the weeds."

    "No, of course not. But you're not. It'll be ok."
    And then we said goodbye. Now even vip-ex is comforting me. Hate that.

  • Hanging out in the hideous main branch of the Seattle Public Library. I was there for a few hours and availed myself of the free wifi and the handy outlets built into the desks. The design was unbelievably ugly but great for computer use. This is the area where I sat. Audrey gave me a test before I went into the building: take the elevator to the top floor and see if you can get downstairs without using it. I managed it but not without difficulty. There is an entire floor that is red. The walls and ceiling are red. It's like being inside an intestine and you want to get out as quick as can be. The building is a testament to misguided progressive thinking. See for yourself.

It's not a real vacation being here. It's an attempt to see my mother and not have her drive me crazy. And vise versa. We're doing ok on that front. We're not feeling tense. We're liking each other. We're even having a little bit of fun and a few laughs. I told her about the blog and she was curious but didn't insist on reading it. She was happy for me. She was glad I found a venue for self-expression. When I was blue about the way Tim reacted to the blog, she didn't want his feelings to stop me from writing. She took my side without question, though she could understand how he felt. She suggested that I keep writing, but make it non-public. She encouraged me to give Tim a new alias and make it less easy to identify him (done and done).

I've also spent a lot of time doing computer technical assistance for Mom's mac. I don't mind. It keeps me out of trouble and she is grateful. It makes me feel useful. She bought herself the newest version of the OS, which means (ahem) that, somehow, it got installed on my machine as well. Sweet.

Seattle is a lovely town and I could happily live here again. I don't care about the weather, as much as I'd prefer sunshine. California might be more the ticket, but I like it here. I like the pace, I like the neighborhoods, I like my old friends. It's good to be close to Mom, though I'd like to live a few miles away. It's very hilly here and I'd probably need a car. Though I lived here for years and only used the bus and my feet. I suppose I'd get used to the hills again.

Still, I miss DC quite a bit. I have a good life there. So different that what my life was like when I lived here. I've grown up pretty much completely since I left Seattle, not that I was such a baby before I moved. I said to Mom that I feel very old and very young being here. Old because it's been so long since I lived here and young because when I lived here I was so much younger.

I like it here. I like it in DC. I've always wanted to live in NY. I think Chicago would be fun. Or LA or SF or...probably quite a few other places.

Did I mention that I'm getting a cold? That's a fun thing for "vacation."

I haven't talked to Tim since Tuesday. That's a strange feeling. I don't want to pressure him or be one more thing to worry about, so I'm not calling. I've given him enough to worry about this week, so I decided to lay off. It was easy once I got the right perspective on it. Pele said silence=pause and I know that's true. Deep breath. Enjoy the dry cappuccinos while they last and get ready for two more good days with Mom and a long plane ride home.

Grateful for: dry cappuccinos.

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