City Encounter With a Certain Seattle Type
posted by July 17 at 12:17 PMon
So I’m on my way to work this morning, walking past the fountain in Cal Anderson Park.
In the shallow pool that the fountain drains into, there’s a hippie man walking around with his shoes off. Nothing unusual. People walk around in this pool without their shoes all the time, especially in the summer. Seattle Central kids do it after class. Biker boys and girls do it at the end of the day. Parents do it, children do it, dogs do it (though they don’t have to take their shoes off, obviously).
Anyway, this hippie man sees me walking to work and, from his shoeless perch in the fountain, calls out to me: “If you took your shoes off you could do this, too.”
No shit, I think. But I’m on my way to work.
He has a self-satisfied smile, and the pose of a man who is offering me a revelation. I really detest this Seattle type. The type who’s doing something utterly unremarkable, something barely transgressive at all, and who acts as if he’s just levitated the Pentagon or discovered the key to changing the universe and needs to share this key with all of us poor saps who — horrors — are busy rushing off to work.
But I decide to be polite. In response to his informing me of the obvious, that if I took off my shoes I could do what he’s doing, I say:
And keep on walking.
This is not enough for the hippie man.
He says, with an obnoxious, laconic condescension for people like me, people too busy to hear his good news:
“Oh, but you can’t because you’re off to… work.”
As if no one ever heads to work on a Tuesday morning. As if having a job is harming the world and walking around in a fountain is saving the world. I usually try not to engage with people like this. What’s gained by confronting a grown man who thinks he’s superior because he’s walking around in a fountain with his shoes off on a Tuesday morning?
I don’t know what’s gained, but it felt good. I stopped and said to the man:
He smiled blissfully.
And then I headed to work, also feeling blissful.