Sunday, July 20, 2008

Everything Happens for a Reason

Saturday morning, I woke up in downtown Seattle and needed to get to Capitol Hill by 11. This distance is walkable. I've done it many times. But I had a heavy backpack with me and had just spent the night in a half-sleep daze on an air mattress, so I decided to bus it. My plan was also to get to the cafe early to get some work done on my research project.

I got to the bus stop, looked at the timetable, and saw that the bus was due to arrive at any minute. Because of my previous experience with Seattle Public Transportation, I believed the timetable. When the bus didn't come for ten minutes, I thought, "Oh well, maybe there was a mistake. The bus will come eventually, I just have to be patient." Twenty minutes later, as the clock inched closer to 11, I was in that weird in-between time where I could have walked and been late or taken the bus and been on time. "Oh, I'll just wait. It's bound to show up. It's been forty five minutes already." At around 11:10, I was thinking, "Screw you, Seattle Public Transportation. How DARE you?! After years of loyal patronage and bragging about how MY city's public transportation system is better than YOURS, THIS is how you repay me?!?"

So I started walking. I was supposed to meet some friends on the very end of Capitol Hill at a cafe. While walking, I saw a bus that went in vaguely the same direction I was going, so I hopped on. It then veered off the path I wanted in front of another cafe I frequent. My friends called me to find out where I was and told me they would just drive down and meet me there. So we met at said other cafe, whose upstairs seating, wifi, and soy on the bar make up for the absolutely awful music the baristas choose to play.

Coffee with friends went well. I calmed down a bit and felt better. After a twelve ounce americano, my friends said goodbye and I decided I needed a bang trim. I started walking in the direction of the salon, past a handful of stores on the 500 block of Pine. I glanced sideways into the window of Spine and Crown, a used book store, and stopped short. There, displayed in the window, was The Literary Criticism of Marshall McLuhan.

Now, to some, okay, most everyone, the compiled essays of Professor McLuhan concerning the works of Joyce, Pound, and Poe that "embrace the whole continuum of human experience that [goes] into the art of printed creation and that [goes] on in the aesthetic assumptions and psychological biases of the reading public" doesn't mean much and certainly isn't very "cool". But this book is exactly, exactly what I need for my research project. I had never even heard of the name Marshall McLuhan before this summer's Institute, and now here he was, writing about books and authors I love, circling around a subject I am focusing on in my research. I rushed in and bought it, exclaiming to the booksellers how they made my day. Strike that, my life.

And had I not waited for the bus, gotten angry, decided to walk, taken that other bus, and been dropped off at secondary cafe, I would have never found it.


miss brix said...

Wonderful. I am drinking terrible coffee in my pajamas at my parent's house. Oh the joy. Your story pleases me because I can see you in every step of this.

what_wit! said...

It's funny how when everything seems to be working against you, when in the end there could be no better outcome.

Captain Julie said...

breathe in, breathe out.