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April 15, 2007

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nothing to see here, folks

Going downtown to meet some friends, I decided to walk
the three miles, thinking maybe I'd have some thoughts,
perhaps induce an epiphany. I'm not sure why but I took
just about the ugliest route imaginable, south from
Fremont along Highway 99. It started out promising
enough on Aurora Bridge, where I paused often in the
sun to photograph the fresh green of spring trees, various
shades arranged in planes, dark and pale. Yawn. The bridge
has been recently outfitted with emergency suicide hotline
telephones. It's a popular jumping off point but I never get the
urge. Some people I know don't like high places because they
feel a certain tug to take that one small step that ends far below.
I guess I can relate: the first time I held a handgun (in Texas, of
course), I fought the impulse to point it at myself. I wasn't feeling
self-destructive; it was just something the gun seemed to want to do.
Technology dictates its use. In two miles of walking I encountered only
two other people, both going the opposite direction. What I did see were a
lot of crappy new condos, large and flimsy with too-small windows. There were
no signs of life, no people on balconies, none leaning out of windows. I cast my eyes
down, always on the lookout for treasure, but saw only litter, lots of it. Where was the
epiphany? Maybe the epiphany is there are no epiphanies. Not for me. I coughed and
hacked. The air in the wake of relentless traffic was very bad. Were there people in
those cars? I didn't see a single face. Maybe I wasn't looking very hard. In Belltown, the
people were out and about, carrying shopping bags, sitting at tables and bars, hiding behind
their one-sided cel phone conversations. I felt like I was snorkeling, kind of floating above it,
looking down. I'd stopped taking pictures, finally. Instead of arriving at an epiphany, I seemed
to walk myself into no-thought. By the time I got to where I was going it was time to move on....