Northwest Emergency

The morning change of the tide, Big Beef Bay, Seabeck, Washington, 6 March 2007, 10:45 AM

I’m on an emergency trip to the Northwest right now because my father is having valve replacement surgery. I’m spending all my time in the hospital this week so posting will be light.

I managed to get away from the hospital long enough for a brief get-together with fellow blogger K. tonight. J. was unavailable as he was stuck home dog-sitting.

Above is a picture of the bay where my parents live. I rushed out the door with the camera just too late to capture two great blue herons beating the tar out of each other with their wings and jumping around like Baryshnikov. Every time I come back I am amazed by how beautiful it is here. I don’t remember being able to see the mountains so exposed and from so many locales as I have noticed this time around. On the other hand, I can’t stand coming back because it’s dismaying how eager everyone in this area seems to be to destroy everything that makes it such a wonderful place. Really what the peninsula could use is fewer such vistas and instead another strip mall.

A few more observations from the trip:

  • On my flight back here I ended up missing a connection so ended up with some extra layovers as part of the reroute. While annoying, the extra legs allowed me to observe more closely the gradation of people from stodgy and formally to kicked and outdoorsy as I traveled from East to West. Judging by the dress and carry-on luggage of the people boarding the plane for the Salt Lake City to Seattle leg, Salt Lake City is like some Los Vegas of the outdoor adventurer.

  • Hillbillies are everywhere. When I was growing up in the Northwest, it seemed like there were the hillbillies and then a bunch of normal suburban people. That must have been some attuned, contextual distinction for which I no longer have the sensitivity. Everybody here seems like a redneck to me now. The urban areas are even populated by the townie brethren of the hillbillies.

  • Bureaucratic language abuse abounds. When my dad had some minor complications that didn’t admit obvious explanation, the anesthesiologist assured us that “unusual events are common the first day of recovery after a surgery.” The hospital garage has a sign over one of the exits that says “Do not enter.” Do you mean do not enter the outside? Wouldn’t that be do not exit? Well they don’t make a do not exit sign. So the do not enter sign will have to do? A sign at the post office reads “Service Animals Only.” So the humans have to wait outside while their animal agents do all their mailing for them?

  • Things are unbelievably cheap around here. I was out to dinner tonight and ordered a cocktail, a glass of wine, salad, an entrée and dessert. I thought that I had gotten totally carried away and was unhappily anticipating the check to be something like the usual $50.00 it would be in D.C. Nope, $23.00. Amazing. That’s what I remember eating out being like — and for a dining experience consistently better than that in D.C. even.