Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Bench

Finally– a bench!
After walking the Pike Market area for almost an hour we found the bus stop that would eventually return us to the hotel.
Safely securing our position on said bench – strategically placed so we could optimize our people watching skills – JT and I settled in for what would turn out to be one of the most amusing events of our entire excursion
I love to people watch
So does Johnny
Something else we have in common
Though – side note - when we come to discuss our observations – our opinions can get as diverse as any two peoples can be – we do enjoy the process
In any event – here we were – in downtown Seattle – waiting for our bus – and people watching
We gazed around the environment
Johnny was intrigued by the musical performance just behind us
It appeared to be an eclectic mix of Oriental and Indian people with some African Americans and a token few white singing and dancing to some techno Judaic Christian type motifs
I soon bored with that event and panned on to the northeast where on another bench – not more than 50 feet from us sat what I had originally thought to be a woman.
Just about the time I went to comment on her curious state of affairs JT chirped in and articulated what I had now come to ponder
Was it in fact a woman or a man?
The he / she was – by all accounts – strange to say the least
From head to toe “it” was a eclectic mix of avante guard and shabby chic
His (or was it her) hair was jet-black and shoulder length but this was all visually over powered by the fact that what little remained was painfully thin
It hung straight to the shoulder and they (he or she) was continually stroking it in a downward motion between their fingers
He – or was it her – was adorned entirely in black
Even his – I mean her – their - fingernails were manicured and polished – in co coordinating black
The shirt was long sleeved, falling mid drift just below the hip area which was causing me even greater difficulty in determining which gender the specimen was
With a rather pot bellied stance and awkwardly chivied gate I was getting no clues though by this time had determined – whatever the origin – this specimen was indeed a very gentle creature
I say gentle because – in spite of all their awkwardness – this person had an air about them – and though I dare not call it serene – so undeniable was it that I was caught in a most disconcerting yet humbled state all at the same time. 
As I continued to observe this person I could not help but think how it was that they came to this particular place and time
Johnny was wondering the same thing for as we turned to each other in disbelief the words just came flowing out of our mouths
As we exchanged our observations it became evident that our muse was in fact their with his / her companion.
There –off to the left – just between the music venue and our bench – was the second half of this intriguing duo.
Subject number two was just as unique if not more so
An aged creature with thick, long chaotically matted grey hair and a beard to match, he – and he was defiantly a HE – though dressed in a satin purple skirt and gold lamette blouse, was dancing – or more like undulating – around the square fanning colourful silk scarves thru the air.
Momentarily – the skirt clad character gathered up his props and headed towards our friend on the bench in front of us
There- the two systematically sorted thru, folded and packed up their belongings
After a short embrace they rose and headed off in the opposite direction to which JT and I were now making our way to
Once on the bus we just looked at each other in disbelief
Again we pondered as to what life choices had brought our friends to this place in their lives
I was boggled by the fact that they were at the very least some body’s children and quite probably at some point some body’s husband and father.
As our bus pulled out into the busy street I looked back out the window behind me\There I caught the last glimpse of the two walking hand in hand off into the crowd
It is irrelevant that our paths will never cross again
Point is – they did – and I am a changed person for it
Perhaps my greatest regret from the encounter is that I was only able to grab one quick and not very effective photograph to document the encounter and sadder still that I did not have the fortitude to introduce myself to them ...

( written September 2008 ) 

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