Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Well met on high

Rachael and I have only been in Seattle since last Halloween, so we still play tourist now and again; yesterday we took the elevator to the top of the Space Needle. The view was fantastic, but the coolest thing that happened had nothing to do with what we could see.

I don't care for heights and avoid edges anytime I get higher than thirty feet; the observation deck at the Needle sets at a 1/10th mile. So, there we were, doing a 360-degree stroll around that deck, and I was as far away from the edge as I could get, even though it has a waist-high rail and cable mesh above that.

We were walking counter-clockwise and I was trailing my left hand along the inside wall; just to feel attached, you know? And a husband and wife, Japanese tourists, came at us, headed clockwise. She was all over the place, pointing and talking 80 miles per hour in Japanese and taking pictures, but he was trailing his right hand along the inside wall and looking a little green. I suspect my face was the same shade.

Our eyes met and we each recognized a kindred soul; He didn't speak English and I don't speak Japanese, but I pointed to the rail and shuddered and he nodded; we both grinned and took our fingers away from the wall just long enough to pass each other.

Language and culture may be barriers to communication, but we are all brothers and sisters in our phobias.