SLOW: Children at Play

I’m currently sitting in the Redmond Town Center Mall, which is this very rich, very ritzy outdoor mall. It is in the mid to upper 50s, and sunny, which means that it is mildly busy with housewives and small children. Not horribly by any means, just enough to be noticeable. What is remarkable about this to me is that none are screaming, crying, or having tantrums. It reminds me that children can in fact be delightful fun when they are happy, playing in the fountain (one obviously meant to be played in, no less). There is a collection of 3 or 4 children, none of whom are over 5, playing in the water (the fountain is flush with the ground, and rather remarkable, with a large brass bear (and two smaller cubs playing) sitting guard over it all.

Teenagers have also started infiltrating the mall, as school is out. They are well dressed and pretty clearly the children of some of the wealthier denizens of the area. They are also hanging around the fountain, and are being remarkably well behaved and friendly to the small children. After visiting east coast malls, this is a refreshing change, and I’m fairly impressed. I’m a big fan of people behaving respectfully to everyone around them, leaving the chipped shoulders elsewhere. After all, the sun is out, now is not a time to be pissy.

I can smell chinese (I THINK… could be Thai, the aroma is one of those middling scents that doesn’t quite place ethnicity), and it is making me hungry, despite the fact that I ate before coming here. I don’t know, I think it may be that I miss home, especially right now for some reason. I miss Vermont springs, mud and all. I miss my friends, and I’m painfully aware of how little I’ve gotten out and about in Seattle to make any new ones out here. Because so many people out here have strange work schedules and are so busy all the time, I do think that more of what goes on out here is rather than a small group of close friends, everyone tries to accumulate a broad spectrum of friends (none of whom are as close as far as I can see), so that there is always someone around to hang out with when you are available.

Mickey HAS managed to make a friend or two (through work), and has other friends that are out here… whom we almost never see. That is part of where this idea of keeping a whole bunch of friends on tap comes from — it’s not that they’ve stopped being friends, it’s that they’re all busy, almost all the time. Not that we’ve really made as concerted an effort in hanging out as I sometimes think we should, but… I don’t know, I still think there is a ring of truth to the many friends theory.

In traditional Nabil style, going back to the smelling of chinese and it making me think of home: my favorite restaurant back home is Panda House. I ate there nearly every day for months (years?), and have yet to find a restaurant that tastes even remotely similar. Frustrating! Ah well — I do enjoy “fast food chinese” (a guilty pleasure if there ever was one), so it’s not like I can’t at least have something that’ll satisfy a craving. I think after I finish this ramble, I may seek out the origin of these smells and get a quick snack to eat. Nothing huge, appetite ruining… just something.

The sun has shifted past the awning I was under, and is now in my eyes… I kind of like the feeling, especially when I stop, close my eyes, and just soak it up. I can feel the sunlight soaking into my hair, and it feels really, really good.

Here is a remarkable observation I just had: I’m in a fucking MALL. An outdoor mall, yes, but a mall nonetheless. That said, it doesn’t feel any more active or bustling than, say, 7:30 in the evening in May in Hanover. I’m not saying “Ooooh yes, I must start hanging out here all the time, this is IT for me, baby!” but I am saying that the vibe is there, in some small amount. If I could find a place to steal wifi access from, I probably WOULD hang out here more. It’s not that hard to get to, and if I time myself, I don’t even have to worry about the Microsoft traffic that should be starting… oh, real soon now if not already. I may take this as an opportunity to figure out how things connect via the non-major roads. Of course (unless by some miracle, a wireless hotspot appears shortly), you’ll probably reading this after I actually get home.

This is all actually in response to wanting to get out and enjoy some of the beautiful weather we’ve been having, while still getting my schoolwork done. I wrote further in another essay for my semester while out here, and then decided to do my “thousand words” for the day. Mostly because of a sign that is sitting below me (I’m sitting at a table that is on one of the bridges over the road) that says “SLOW: Children at Play”. I needed to write it out of my system, and I think I’ve largely succeeded.

I’m trying to determine what do now. I think I’ve been sitting here long enough (about an hour), and I really am starting to get a craving for some food. I suppose I should ask myself the question: is it comfort food, or is it because I’m ACTUALLY hungry? Hard to tell, some days.

Wow, I’m vaguely offended. This woman with a baby carriage was walking along, saw me, and immediately veered down a different path. Maybe I’m misperceiving it and actually she’s just an abrupt direction changer (I know I am sometimes). I really shouldn’t think poorly of her just because of that one act. It just kinda cheeses me off, though, the thought of it. I’m wearing a black hoodie (my NINJ4 hoodie), beige slacks, have my leather jacket draped over my chair, and I’m sitting at a freakin’ computer typing. Give me a damn break. It’s not like I look like a horrible freak or something. (Or do I?) Maybe I should go back to “my kind” and visit the EBGames that is three stores down from where I’m sitting. Not that I’d be buying anything, mind you, but because it might be nice to just sit and talk games for a bit.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely continue saying it til it ceases to be true: teenagers are such weenies. It is kind of disturbing watching 15 year old girls strut around like the own the world. But then, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they actually DO.

4 thoughts on “SLOW: Children at Play

  1. my thoughts…

    kids are evil, but they can be cute when they’re having fun. and I wish there were fountains we were allowed to play in when I was a kid. and of course people (and even teens) are happy and reasonably well behaved when the sun is out here… they don’t want to waste the few short hours of it we ever get!

    yes I have a few friends out here that we really never see, but that’s really our own damn fault since we almost never even try to call them. We need to have more parties and stuff.

    I think you should hang out in cool public places you like… that DON’T have wireless access. I bet you’ll get a ton more actual work done.

    I’m betting that the woman with the baby carriage saw you or your computer and was reminded of something else at the mall she needed to buy so she abruptly headed in that direction. I really doubt it was in a negative response to you or a need to be farther away from you… She may not even really have seen you if she was running though the list in her head of stuff she wanted to get while there. Or maybe she just realized the fountain wuold tempt her kid and wanted to avoid that instead. Outdoor malls are the worst place for logical stratightforward navigation anyways. So don’t take it personally.

    And I firmly believe that 15 year old girls do in fact rule the world… maybe not all 15 year olds, but definitely the ones strutting around in porn-star t-shirts.

  2. Hey Bil.

    Yeah I’m approaching that loneliness point myself and I’ve been here 7 years. It’s just that now as I’m “coming out” so to speak I’m finding an ever increasing distance between myself and everyone that I’ve considered very close to me. Hard but good stuff.

    Although in some ways I’m finding solitude to be liberating.

    There’s nothing quite like eastern food. I love it. Thai is definitely my favorite although I also really like the others. It’s like a party in your mouth. :)

    It’s funny how no matter where you go you still look at where you grew up as home. At least that’s the way it is for me. I don’t imagine that I’ll end up back there for quite some time, if ever, but I still look upon it fondly and cherish the years spent with everyone. I guess that’s just part of growing up.

  3. Hey Tim!

    Yeah, home is home is home. Is, was, ever shall be. That’s not to say that you can’t live elsewhere, but… well, Vermont is home to me. It was time to leave, to try somewhere new, but that doesn’t change that fact. It’s something I realized when I first left for anything close to an extended period (2 or 3 months on walkabout, wandering through the country). There were a number of places that I think would definitely be a cool place to live, but that is an entirely separate entity to the concept of “home.”

  4. hey Bil…

    since you changed the background color to the grey-blue… the color that your name comes up at the bottom (the grey link color) is really hard to read. even the blue that other people’s names come up is a bit too similar to the background too. in my humble opinion of course.

    just thought you’d want to know. :)

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