Walking past a gaggle of young adults headed to a neighbourhood party, I overheard one of the girls - you know this girl; the one who always has an obstinate yet undeservedly parental air about her and is prone to be the sore thumb except when she's inebriated ('cause then she's just normal) - that girl. I overheard her say aloud, as an alert to the other party goers she had been cavorting robustly down the street with: "You guys? O.K. there is one rule, you guys. We all have to be quiet once we're inside. It's a rule."
That type of behaviour would, at this point in time, kinda kill my wanting to hang out with that person for the remainder of the evening. However, It's that type of person that can also drive you to a different corner of a party - and I treasure those excursions...
Lets say it's the late 1990's and you're new to a bigger city in the Pacific Northwest; you don’t know too many people outside the ones you and your room-mate have met at the new job, which you've literally just started a couple weeks ago. You are going to a party in a section of town in which you are not familiar but do not care because you have just gotten your first real paycheck in a number of years and are still slightly tipsy from dinner.
You enter the party and while your room-mate and work friends are indeed grand and inviting people, there is that one girl (or was it a guy?) - one of those types who had randomly stumbled upon your groups familiar faces while on the bus ride and then because of a tangential friendship coupled with a collective act of sympathy for a loner in the city on a Saturday night, that loner is now part of your entourage.
At the outset of your party arrival, you feel the need to simply get away from that one person - which drives you across the room to stand next to a gal you caught giving you the eye, as you were giving her the eye, when you entered through the doorway moments earlier.
The ease with which you both slid into conversation reminded you slightly of the camaraderie you’d had with your, at that point in time, favourite ex-girlfriend. This girl had a universe of her own, however. You shared a beer, then another, and yet another - you talk music, politics, pop culture and 'what happened to it?'
A flurry of conversation - until soon enough, your room-mate grabs your attention..
"Hey man, it' s like 2:00 - we're gonna catch the next bus over to our place, you coming?"
And you respond that - No, you'll catch a cab or something in a little bit - knowing full well that you have no more cash on you and only a now expired bus transfer in your pocket. You figure it's not that big a city, you can hoof it a bit, and who knows - maybe you won't have to.
You sit and stare and laugh and talk and debate - and continue to sit and stare and laugh and talk...until you realize that the dawn is nigh and you both have previous plans for the approaching day.
Meeting again is a mutual grand idea - alas, she has bummed a ride to this party, and like you has no personal transportation - but wouldn't it be great if you can ever make it out to Olympia, where she resides.
Seattle to Olympia is not a terribly long journey, if one has the means - but it is a world away without a reliable vehicle. She may as well have said Bellingham, Spokane, Walla Walla, or Valhalla. Each it's own planet in the solar system of the Pacific Northwest.
Wary yet still hopeful, you exchange email addresses and a hastily scribbled phone number. Within a week and half, you've realized that a short, yet witty, email and a probably too polite voice-message are to prove fruitless. No harm no foul - it was a great night, with great conversation and a great gal simply on the wrong side of convenience.
This story could sum up my relationships with a lot of the folks I acquaintanced there (I say acquaintanced because my friends know whom they are, and are still golden), and is quite possibly a metaphor for my ongoing relationship with Jet City itself.
Seattle; I like you. I am drawn to your charms, your dialogues, your awareness...yet we connect only through strange circumstance.
Otherwise, and sadly, you are mostly unreachable and on the completely opposite side of my galaxy.
The Dispatch From Escalatorville
Z.F. Lively, Proprietor/Cross-Country Cynic
firstname.lastname@example.org, for long distance electronic communications