You Shall Know My Velocity!

Wwwho’s in Ssseattle? THIS GUY.

I arrived at 10.10am yesterday via a Spokane-Seattle Amtrak train and was completely FUBAR. For brevity’s sake I won’t explain, but it did involve paramedics (one of them suspiciously Luke Seelye-esque), vomiting, and a minor panic attack. After medication and a 3-hour nap at Bryce Bahler’s house, things turned around and today I’m feeling well — still fighting the tail-end of a cold though. I’m in Seattle’s incredible 11-storey public library, an architectural wonder. I just visited the St. James Cathedral, which was beautiful, but I think it’s beat by Spokane’s awesome Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (but maybe it’s just my Protestant prejudice: Catholic vs. Episcopal).

I’m in town til Thursday, when I fly back to Columbus in the evening. I had planned on taking a train, greatly looked forward to it in fact, until I discovered that by “Columbus” Amtrak meant Wisconsin, not Ohio. A train to Cinci would be much more expensive, almost 3 days long, and still way out of the way for my siblings to pick me up. Hence one of the reasons I didn’t hitch from Spokane — also because I’ve been sick. Needless to say, being sick while homeless in Spokane wasn’t that fun. I had in fact been sleeping those nights at the Catholic House of Charity on 1st & Browne, a place for which I have nothing but praise. It was eye-opening too. Their “Sleeping Program” goes from 7.30pm to 7.30am, but lights out isn’t really until 9pm (before the sun even sets!) and the shades are pulled up at 6.45am so that I was generally sipping McDonald’s coffee and reading the paper before 7.15am (I took leisurely 3-hour breakfasts).

The House sleeps close to 110, split between two unequally numbered dorms (about 85/25). I tended to amble in around 8.45pm when there were less people so I got a little privacy while showering. You get a locker & bed (I was #73) but you have to walk dripping wet and naked across the room to the nice people at a window dispensing towels and pajamas. The mandatory showers and pajamas are primarily for hygenic reasons, secondarily for security. By “security” I mean that it’s more difficult to hide weapons in faded, nearly see-through cotton, but they’re also pacifying because it’s just hard for anybody to look threatening in pajamas.

My first night, one guy tried. You see after lights-out the dorm becomes home to a symphony of snoring, a sonorous score punctuated by all manner of bizarre interludes: farting, burping, wheezing, moaning, sneezing, and so forth. This is naturally upsetting to some, usually just met with cries of “shut the f–k up!” But one guy got up and marched over to yell at my neighbor: “Roll over! You’re snoring like a motherf–ker! I told you to roll over and you’re just staring at me like a… like I don’t know what the f–k what, but you’re snoring and I can’t sleep!” I almost laughed out loud. Again, the second night, different guy: “Dale! You awake?” He was calling to one of the counselors (I think they call them proctors). “Let me out of here! The snoring’s so f–king bad I can get more sleep on the streets! Jesus Christ. I can get more rest on the streets!” It’s true, the snoring is bad.

More stories to come at a future date. Library time is almost up, so I’m out. Don’t know if I’ll blog again before I fly out. Be well.

8 thoughts on “You Shall Know My Velocity!

  1. Hooray! You did it. So when you get to Columbus let Katie and I know when we can have you over so we can hear all the stories!!! Glad you made it and are doing ok.

  2. I too am glad you made it…congrats on a successful trip! I’ve enjoyed the posts thus far and look forward to hearing more of your stories in some form or another. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  3. Bummed I won’t get to see you in Seattle, but awesome that it was a success! Definitely looking forward to hearing more! I just read Into the Wild this weekend and while it’s not a 1:1 comparison, I did think of you a few times and hope you were faring well. Congrats!

  4. Mom&I just got home. Congrats, too, from your “paw” n “mae”. We knew you could do it! Keep blogging. Love ya’

  5. Great trip brosef. Thanks for sharing. Look me up sometime when we’re back at school. (If you don’t, Ima hunt ya down) Alternatively, I may be making a trip up in the Dayton area sometime and could potentially make it a bit farther if you’d be interested. Lemme know. Love to hear more about the trip.

    Much Love.

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