Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fun for one and all

Yesterday was the sort of day that makes all the rest of life worthwhile.

It was Rachael’s birthday; I won’t say how old she is. It doesn’t matter to me that she can’t run up stairs anymore, two at a time, or that the eyeglasses she used to wear upon occasion are now permanent fixtures. But she is sensitive about such things, and so I try to keep my lip zipped.

We took the bus to downtown Seattle in mid-morning. Rachael had a list of reasons to do it. She is not the sort that usually makes lists; I am and she knows it. And so it was funny to hear her tick them off, because when she does, it is almost always the last item on the list that is the true reason.

She said that it would be an adventure, it was, the sort of simple little trip those of us who were raised according to the gospel of the automobile don’t think much about. She also said it would be cheaper than driving, it was; that it would save wear and tear on the X-Terra, it did, and that it would avoid the potential for accidents, so true. And then we came to the final reason.

“Besides,” she said. “If I don’t have to drive home, I can have a drink or two with lunch.”

There is that,” I said.

And so, we found our way downtown on one of the double-section buses that Metro Transit runs, with accordion pleating between the sections. We sat near the pivot point and laughed at how the floor spun as the bus turned, and played tourist, pointing out the window at the seaport sights, something we don’t get a chance to do, driving the Route 99 viaduct.

Off the bus, we bumped along, peering into display windows, poking through shops that looked interesting and enjoying our favorite joint pastime—people watching. We wandered around Pike Place Market for a time, too, bought some whole-bean coffee for the espresso machine and watched the curds being stirred at Beecher’s Cheese Shop.

Then we strolled over to Etta’s, on Western Avenue north of the Market, for lunch. It was our first time there, but we agreed, on the way out, that it won’t be our last. Melissa was our waitress; if anyone from Etta’s reads this, she was an absolute delight. So was the food.

Crab cake appetizers, with a tart green cocktail sauce, clam chowder at just the right temperature, deep-fried cod and cornbread pudding for me and grilled king salmon for Rachael. She wet her whistle with a beer, brewed at the Market by the Pike Brewing Company, and I had a couple of Harvey Wallbangers, a drink most bartenders don’t know how to make these days. Mine were just right.

After lunch, we strolled back to the bus stop on Third Avenue, and stopped along the way at a candy shop for some after-lunch sugar – a couple of caramels for me; Rachael had dark chocolate filled with raspberry cream.

A good time together with someone you love is what life is all about.


Today’s superfluous fact: the use of bus to define a mode of public transportation comes from the Latin word, omnibus, which means “for all, for everyone”.