On October 15th, my return date to the US, a dire storm was predicted in the Pacific Northwest. The people of Vancouver were preparing for power outages due to all the trees that would fall over. They seem to have a problem with weakly rooted trees. Just over the border in Seattle, news stations were explaining that a storm this big hadn’t been seen in over since the 60s. Prepped with this, I kept a keen eye out the window of the bus for signs of the chaos. At 6pm we arrived in Seattle without seeing a drop of rain. I made my way from King Street Station to the bus stop and found the streets to be pretty gusty, but that was all.
I found my bus by seeing it pull up 2 blocks ahead. Running shoes came in handy in that moment. Still, it was just a bit too far ahead. A man getting off yelled to the driver to hold the bus. It worked! I hopped on with a huff and puff and went for my wallet. “What’s the fare?” I asked, pulling out a handful of change. “Don’t worry about it!” said my bus driver and handed me a ticket. I sat down and mused on her kindness for the rest of the ride. She greeted everyone with a smile, bantered with the gregarious public transit sort, and took tender care of those needing special assistance. I was thoroughly impressed and told her what a beacon of light she was on that dark night.
It really had become dark. When my stop came, the clouds were gathering overhead. I checked the photo of my route against the streetsigns, but something seemed to be amiss. Not all of the street names matched those on my map. What was going on? I backtracked several times before hitting the spot I thought it ought to be, but even this was wrong. Then came the rain. And on this rare occasion in Seattle, when it rained, it poured.
I ducked under a shop overhang and called my host, explaining where I was. Way off: somewhere in Capitol Hill when I ought to be in Fremont. “In Seattle you have to be very careful about the directions you attach to streetnames. N, NE, NW, etc. will all take you to totally different parts of the city. I’ll come get you.” My warm-fuzzy metre about the people of Seattle was off the charts just then.
Across the street was a sign for Cafe Soleil. I was drawn in by the glow of candlelight. Soft jazz added the perfect magic to the scene. After a day of portable travel food, (bread, fast food chicken wraps, chocolate) salad was just the thing. My plate was piled high with spinach topped with feta, walnuts, and raspberry vinagrette. Nutrition!
My host arrived shortly after the meal and drove me back to her place. Warm heart, warm home, hot shower, and a kitty: she had it all.