I had a beer with a friend tonight. It was the most social thing I have done since March 2020. My friend Kate wanted to hand off a couple of things, so we met half way, on Broadway.
We walked for a bit.
"I was thinking of a beer."
"Going to Captain Blacks?"
"I was just going to grab a Rainier from the fridge. Want one?"
We walked to the park near Analog Coffee. We had two choices. Sit on the hill or on a cement railing.
"I don't want to disturb the person sleeping. Let's check out the stairs."
We wandered over to the stairs. I forget the street name. If you're familiar with Capitol Hill, you're probably familiar with all the staircases that overlook I5 and downtown Seattle.
We sat down. Kate was about four steps below me. We popped open our beers. Are we far enough apart? Am I putting her at risk because of gravity and droplets? Is this safe? I live alone, I don't socialize, I wear a mask, and when I get takeout or buy groceries, I am in and out. But these are the thoughts that run through one's mind. You don't want to get someone sick.
It was incredible. I needed that. The longest interaction and conversation I've had since March. I could give JD Salinger a run for his reclusive money, and yet I didn't want that beer to end.
I worried that we'd frighten off people who needed to use the stairs. But it seemed to work out well. We could see in both directions when people were approaching. We'd mask up and move to one side, letting them go by. There weren't many people. They were all masked. One person rushed by, possibly worried that our talking had laid a droplet minefield lingering in the air.
We finished our beers and started heading home. We walked down an alley to throw our cans away. Kate spotted a mirror and lined up a phone photo. She's a great photographer but rolls her eyes midwesternly when I say that. I have my reasons for saying it. She had a pop up postcard writing event I went to, and I was drawn to a postcard of a red brick building with an iron staircase fire escape. Great photo. Have you ever taken a photo of a building? In your head it looks amazing, but the resulting image often looks like shit. Kate's photo was Hopper-esque (not me, the real Hopper.)
I tried to photobomb Kate's mirror photo. She was on to me and allowed for the photobomb. I was carrying my camera bag and a bag in my hand. I'm not graceful. In my head I was thinking Baryshnikov. Kate's photo will show Shrek.
"See the building straight ahead? Top left bay window? I lived there."
We turned east, walking up the hill.
"Wait. That's my misogynist asshole neighbor. Let's let him get inside."
We paused, affording us a voyeuristic view into a basement apartment. A man was on his bed typing away on his laptop. A dog was sprawled out on the bed living his/her best nap life.