Sunday, February 18, 2007

Swap Meet

I rode out to the annual Seattle Bike Swap at Magnuson Park today—a cool gray day, perfect for meandering on two wheels. The Swap itself produced in me the usual pattern of emotions: a slightly frantic sense upon first entering, followed by feeling overwhelmed, then, eventually becoming fed up with the whole thing.

I did manage to make the purchase of the show: for five bucks, a plastic desk-accessory model of a bicycle called “Midfielder Writing Bicycle” that comes apart to reveal pens, protractors, paper clips, and other office supplies, whose slogan is, in slightly fractured Japanese to English translation, “Enjoy Your Desk Work in Play Mind.” (Now there’s an attitude I can truly appreciate.)

Afterwards, my friend Andy and I rode to Kenmore, specifically the Bastyr University campus, to check out a possible stop for the Half-Century Ralleycat, the former Chapel of the Seminary at St. Thomas. Very impressive in a starkly modern institutional kind of way; it reminded me of something out of cheesy sci-fi film from the fifties. While the cornerstone reads ‘1956” and the official opening day was in 1958, I think it could count as an example of something as old as me.

Then I headed over to Phinney Ridge to look at the Norse Home, a building very much in the same style whose cornerstone does, in fact, read 1957.

My next stop was the Terry-Lander dorm complex at the UW; the plaque inside Lander says it was dedicated in 1956; I couldn’t get into Terry; I think, though, it came along a year later.

The style of all these buildings from around the time of my birth struck me as infused with feelings of optimism and efficiency; they’re relatively unadorned, with lots of glass and steel; I wondered if my own outlook on life is, in some way, similarly reflective of that time.

The buildings strove to look new, but all were showing their age. Me too, I guess.


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