My ride share had to cancel this morning, her son is ill. So I tried to catch the valley shuttle bright and early to get me out to work at HBO in time for our morning Stand Up meeting. I love the work being done there and wish I could talk about it but I cant. Suffice to say they are an amazing team of people doing amazing work on amazing things that are amazing and I’m just really proud to be a part of it.
But their offices are in downtown Seattle, roughly 27 miles as the crow flies from my house. By bus on the best of days that’s an hour and twenty minute commute.
This wasn’t the best of days, weather wise. I let Aspen out for his morning routine and did sign language to him in praise while I gave him his anti-seizure meds. It was cloudy out and raining that classic late-January Seattle rain. Misty and a bit clingy more than pure drops out of the sky. It smelled wonderful outside, and Aspen looked like he was covered in dew from it during his morning constitutional.
I love living in the country. I’ve been here ten years now. If you get the chance, try to spend some time living somewhat remotely. I’m not saying it’s better than living in the city, I’m saying a radically different experience sometimes cleanses the mind.
I tended to my own morning routine and donned my “rain shoes”. Yes in Seattle you usually have to have a pair of shoes dedicated to the purpose of walking in the rain. The shuttle pickup stop is roughly three quarters of a mile down the ridge from my house and my canvas Vans weren’t going to cut it. I have a wonderful new greatcoat I bought for the Child’s Play dinner this year that I trot out for the cold and rainy days. I shrugged my way into it, put on my hat, tucked my ipad into the inside pocket, and began my walk. I paused for a moment at the door and listened. I’m not sure why I did it, but there’s something about the sound of rain lightly hitting the trees and the house in the morning that never, ever gets old. Even a misty rain can be loud in just the right moment.
I walked. All around me commuters passed me by and I was wondering what they were thinking of me. Was it “Oh that poor guy trudging in the rain somewhere” or was it “oh man. I wish I could just walk around in the morning instead of driving to work”?
aaaaannnnnnd I missed the shuttle. I wasn’t walking slowly, there was a slight pause in my walk as a family of deer foraged up the hill halfway the journey by one of the housing subdivisions. I thought about taking a picture, but deer in Duvall are fairly common and I was in a really good mood and although I’m not “that guy” lecturing people about enjoying a moment as opposed to stopping to phone-cam it, I enjoyed the moment instead of phone-camming it. I was probably 30 seconds from the bus stop, and a good 7 minutes ahead of the shuttle’s pickup time, when the shuttle blew right past me.
I went with my first instinct, “Oh no that’s the only shuttle for the morning bus runs!” and realized the best I could hope for to reach work would be late morning. I raised my hand and took a few urgent sprint strides before realizing there was no way this was going to work. I stopped, the rain still making that soft patter in the mist, and continued on to the stop just in case that was perhaps a duplicate shuttle or one running really late.
Suffice to say, that was my ride. I stood at the stop until ten past the pickup time and resigned myself to doing some work from home until I could catch the next run of buses an hour or two hence.
The sky had brightened considerably and the actual droplets of rain had increased. My coat and hat made me feel like Tom Reagan in Miller’s Crossing. I imagined a world where I returned home, put a record on my new turntable I just bought, poured a whisky, and sat like a person in a simpler time until things coalesced back to where the things I had no control over aligned again to get me where I needed to be. I was somewhat amused by this line of thinking when I saw the deer again.
They had moved down the hill and were standing square in the center of the road. The curve at the top of the ridge where I live offers a long line of sight to anyone coming down the road, but to anyone going up it’s a blind turn. And the speed limit, while 35, is routinely broken. My appreciation for them standing stock still in the road, a doe and two very young offspring, was countered almost immediately by considering the likelihood of someone hitting them. Sure enough I turned and around the bend were two cars. I raised my hands up in a waving motion, then my hands pushing down in the road construction crew “slow down” motion. They slowed and I pointed to around the curve. They crawled around the bend and saw the deer.
The deer were nonplussed.
This represented a problem. They were in the road. Two cars, albeit with blinkers on, were on a blind uphill curve. I tried everything I could think of: my phone’s ringtone, shouting, etc. I was even considering quickly downloading a bobcat or cougar roar on my phone when the entire family of deer, with a measure of somewhat aloof disdain, snorted and moved off the road into the brush. The cars passed. I stood for a moment. The entire situation had lasted maybe 60 or 90 seconds.
Living in the country.
I made it back home, hung up my coat and hat. I sent a mail letting work know I’d be delayed and my work item updates. I took a look at the phonograph I just bought (it’s this one by the way) still in its wrapping and debated opening it.
On the morrow, I decided. I’m still waiting for some tiny bookshelf speakers en route to accompany it.
The rain still made noise around the house. Aspen, Eowyn, Adia, and Rochelle were asleep upstairs. A new puppy, Basil Hayden, is asleep up in Canada. We see him soon.
I sit at my desk now, finishing a wiki for work, getting ready to catch the next run downtown. Might have dinner with some friends tonight. Finishing up a long overdue project in the late evening.
And I might see those deer again in the morning.