I always thought Petula Clark had it right, “when you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go.. downtown!” I liked the song back in the sixties and even then as a kid I’d hop on a bus downtown for 20 cents. With another dollar or two I could shop and eat at Woolworths and have a full day of cheap entertainment. Little did I know at the time I would spend more than 30 years working in downtown Seattle, whether lonely or not. It wasn’t always as great as the song, but it wasn’t bad either. The work was mostly interesting, my coworkers mostly pleasant, and the coffee always good and plentiful, especially as the years went by and a Starbucks appeared in every lobby.
This week I headed downtown to attend the retirement party of a former coworker. It had been a while. My husband dropped me off at the light rail and I emerged from the tunnel in downtown Seattle 30 minutes later. It was icy cold but I walked to the Sculpture Park soaking in the sights and sounds, both old and new, around town. Today the vibe was gray and red.
The wheel was a nice addition to the waterfront and provides something new for the tourists to do. The ferries still run faithfully back and forth across the Sound while the red cranes add background color.
By the time I made it to the Olympic Sculpture Park tiny snowflakes were falling, my face was frozen and I wondered why I’d left my hat and gloves at home. I hurried through the park but still caught the Space Needle through the Eagle.
Honestly, the Space Needle doesn’t look quite like itself these days. while being renovated with a glass floor underneath the revolving restaurant. Guess I won’t be eating there again – though truth be told I only dined there 3 times in as many decades.
I picked up the pace for the long walk back but still found a giant cherry popsicle – my kind of sculpture.
I found more pops of color at Westlake where food trucks are now a thing.
Nearing my destination, I came across the Seattle Public Library and finally appreciated its peculiar shape.
I made it to the Seattle Municipal Tower where my own party had been on the 40th floor some six years earlier. I stopped at the window just as I had many times before on the way to my office. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier; early in the morning the sunrise is spectacular, as it was in this photo before I retired.
I wished my friend well – the best computer programmer we ever had I told him. It was a short party of cake and words (this is government after all) and soon the working folks were off to a meeting and invited me to come along. No thanks, I said, I have no interest in attending a configuration meeting. Neither do we, they laughed! And so, we parted, I happy to be retired, they probably wishing they were. Okay, I admit I occasionally miss working; the camaraderie, lunches out, walks on the waterfront; and the satisfaction of accomplishments that can be measured. Still, I wouldn’t go back. Except for another lunch, which I promised them I would do this spring.