Monthly Archives: January 2009

Bird by Bird

snow1There are so many things I want to tell you about that I am perpetually paralyzed into not relaying anything at all.

I don’t want to promote the consumption of sentient beings, but there is a proverb I find comforting: “How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite.” I suppose a more benevolent version would be Anne Lamott’s recommendation, “Just take it bird by bird, buddy.”

My dizzying freelance workload kept me filled to the gills through the holidays, even with our series of freak snowstorms that left me stranded in West Seattle at the Flamingo Arms (sister establishment to the Aloha Cabana). I languished in the Page’s studio apartment sans internet, unable to cross the West Seattle Bridge.

My workplace was closed for several days at a stretch due to inclement weather, so I hiked to Rite Aid, knee-deep in snow, to fetch a stack of magazines. I read everything in print, listened to NPR, and took photographs of cars buried beneath a blanket of white.

Seattle has a formidable fleet of two snow plows and no salt, sand or ice-melt. A week after the storms, even Broadway in Capitol Hill (and everywhere else) was still undriveable even for buses, and the sidewalks still had not been shoveled. So getting anywhere by any means other than dogsled was out of the question.

It was so ridiculous I can’t even talk about it.

Photo credit: Viva

New Year’s Eve was absolutely stellar. The Page took me out to Etta’s for the Best Meal I’ve Ever Eaten. In a word, it was flawless. The atmosphere, the food, the service, the company, the filthy triple coconut cream pie I had for dessert.

Then we ran in the subzero night to the Showbox to see Devotchka. Their performance was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. And as you know, I’ve been to a lot of shows. We were up against the stage, where Imaginary Viva was shooting, and the spectacle was unreal. The purple glow and flamenco passion, the tiny Christmas lights inside a waltzing tuba, the rose petals flung from the heart of a magical gypsy. I was floored and enamored and forever changed.

For awhile it looked like I would lose my day job. The abysmal economy has not been kind to small Biotechs. The fear pitched me into a frantic undertaking of learning both Flash and Illustrator simultaneously in my usual volumefreak fashion. I steeled myself for the inevitable, but the company was saved at the last minute by a sturdy partnership with a pharmaceutical goliath. Once my job was secure, I decided learning Adobe CS3 at warp-speed wasn’t such a bad idea after all and so my studies continue.

Meanwhile, I churned out my most beautiful site yet, a swirly feast of eye candy for a theater group in New York called Gravity & Glass. It’s my favorite piece of work thus far. They are doing a Valentine’s show called “Bell Book and Candy” that I wish I could attend. “Because Love is a paranormal experience,” they say. If you find yourself in Manhattan, please do check it out.

With the “inclement” weather continually throwing a wrench in my well-oiled machine, I began to reconsider my mode of winter transport. The bus from the Flamingo Arms in West Seattle to work in the morning was taking me an hour and a half. Without snow, I can probably walk it in an hour. Or… I can drive it in 15 minutes.

With the temperature hovering at 33 degrees and threatening ice, I simply couldn’t bring myself to ride my scooter on Aurora at 50 mph. I ruminated for days and tried to come up with a workable solution but the only option I found was to return to the Dark Side.

I bought a car.

God, forgive me. Seriously. Blame it on the Seattle Metro. I tried to not have a car in this city. I managed for a couple of years. I fought tooth and nail to stay car-free. But I simply can’t do it. It makes absolutely no sense.

I found myself the perfect machine — matched impeccably to my needs and style. Her name is Daisy, and she’s a VW Golf, Wolfsburg Edition. Baby blue and nearly as old as me, with twice as many miles. When Viva and I went to look at her, we saw the ladybug floor mats and knew we were meant for each other.

Yes, it’s true — I make large life decisions based on details like floor mats. So far, it’s worked out for me. The car cost me less than a month’s rent, and after a tune-up and fresh license plates, she’s running like a champ. The car had an errant buzzer that would sound once it was warmed up, and the previous owner dealt with that by putting in a new stereo to drown out the irritant. After the oil change, the buzzer returned to hibernation, so I’m left with a quiet ride and a very nice stereo.

Upon acquisition of the car, my Quality-of-Life-o-Meter® has gone through the roof. It’s something else to start your day warm and dry, listening to good music. To have your wardrobe freed from the limitations of riding a scooter in the freezing rain. To show up for work sans helmet head, able to feel your fingers and toes.

I’m kind of pissed about parking, though.

I think that might be all the update I have time for right now. Forgive my absence and understand that it’s not because I don’t love you — I just have to follow my own path right now. A path littered with CSS code, lunch break rock shows at the Triple Door, and vegan espresso cupcakes.

It’s not you — it’s me.

I’ll be back soon. Save my seat.