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A Seattle Notebook

After work in Seattle, I wanted to sit down and write, but I had nothing with me other than money. I searches block after block, walking past shoe stores, walking past clothing stores, walking past jewelry stores, until I found, on the corner of Pike Street and 4th Avenue, a Rite Aid pharmacy. It was holding a going out of business sale.

I wanted just a pen and some paper to write on, but all I could find were big packages of pens, and specialty notebooks with glittery flowers on their covers, made for little girls to write their secrets in. It was all marked 50 percent off, but the original price was twice what I would ordinarily pay, and it was more than what I wanted anyway.

Without any smaller alternatives, I took one package of ten of the least expensive pens available, and I searched through the bin of blank diaries, until I found, at the bottom of the box, one thin notebook with no glitter on it, with plain lined paper, for just two and a half dollars. On the cover of the notebook was a thick line that ran from blue to white, to red. Under the line were the words, United We Stand.

After buying the notebook and pens, I searched for a place to sit down. One block away, I saw the sign for a Starbucks, and went through the door underneath the sign, into a shopping center, within which the sound of distant chattering echoed off the glass front walls of every store.

"We're closing up," said the man in the green apron behind the Starbucks counter, "but there's another Starbucks right over there," pointing me around a corner in the atrium. 30 seconds later, I had ordered a large coffee (I don't know if it was grand or venti), and was looking for a place to sit down.

50 feet away, outside a branch of the US Bank, there was a soft chair and a small table in a corner, next to some tropical plants. I sat there and wrote this, watching shoppers walk by, passing through the facade of a British imperial arch, holding up nothing, with two great winged griffins at its top, facing each other across a dry stone fountain, never moving at all.




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