A Pat behind the veil


Here’s to seeking out stories (photo credit to Partner)

I got home from work today feeling like those flamingos in Alice in Wonderland that they use to play croquet with. Like someone had grabbed me by the feet and smashed me into things all day. Everything is a shit storm lately, every task is urgent, and I have three people all telling me to do the same thing three different ways.

Do it this way, no this way, no this way.

My poor head is spinning. The last thing I wanted to do when I got home was investigate anything in my free time. And yet, for some reason, I called Pat.

When I got my phone, probably ten years ago, I used to get all these calls asking for Pat. They slowed down over time and I hadn’t gotten one in years. I had forgotten all about Pat, until last week, out of the blue, I got another call. It was some company calling for him, I don’t remember what exactly they were calling about, but they used his last name. It takes so little to find a person these days.

A quick Pipl search later and I had his new phone number. I was curious who this person was, yes, but I probably wouldn’t have called except that the number (my number) is still associated with his REI account. I’ve tried several times to start an REI account (so I can stop borrowing Partner’s account) but they keep telling me my phone number is on someone else’s account. So, why not?

Ten years later and I am on the phone with Pat, chatting about REI. He’s joking that I’d better not steal his safeway gas rewards (he still uses my number for it). He is saying he still stops by REI on occasion and he’ll change the phone number. I am telling him that I found his number online, that I work for the Public Defender’s office , and so I’m practiced at finding people.

There is a real, living, breathing person behind a tiny little moment in my life. All I experience is a brief moment, a phone call for someone I don’t know. But there is a whole person, an entire life behind that little moment. There is a Pat behind those phone calls and he has a story all his own.

It’s a funny little reminder that the world is big and full of stories. That I need to keep seeking them out even when I am tired and feeling like a bashed flamingo. My feather’s are all bent out of shape but my ears, my eyes, and my heart are still working. I’m lucky. Life is beautiful.




Yoga: what exactly are we doing here anyway?

a meditation

It wasn’t until I lost my yoga studio that I fully appreciated its value. It was a little locally owned place. It was the best studio I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. It was one of a kind. Now a condo building stands on the ground it touched. Many of the classes I’ve tried since then have felt more like aerobics than yoga. Asanas recited in their english names and a room full of people following dutifully. But it lacks soul. It’s missing whatever magic it was that left me wiped clean of all tension. That loosened the tight places in my heart, if only for a few hours. Yoga unwound what was knotted and healed what was broken. It felt like a kind of magic.

Do you know the sort of yoga I’m talking about? It’s difficult to explain because I honestly have no idea how it works. Or at least I didn’t have any idea before. I went to classes but I had never really learned about what yoga actually was. So when my yoga studio closed down and I couldn’t find that level of relief in any of the studios I tried, I began to seek it on my own. Continue reading


The first time I saw him he was sitting on the sidewalk, his face hidden in his hands. The sign leaning against his knees said “I feel invisible just for asking.” I never give money though, so I kept walking, but his message stuck with me. After that I started noticing him around and I began to wonder. Who was he? What happened to leave him on the street? He carries this massive backpack around all the time—was he traveling? I think it’s odd that we can live in the same city, walk the same streets, yet live in worlds that are so far apart. All the details that make my life recognizable—his life has none of these details. So I resolve to talk to him. To follow my curiosity. But as soon as I decide to talk to him of course I can’t find him anymore. I see him once but when I follow him around a corner he disappears. Weeks go by where I walk up and down streets on lunch and after work to no avail. Then, finally, he finds me. Well, sort of.

Continue reading

Four fall cocktails and a metaphor

When I went out looking for a fall cocktail I wasn’t really expecting to become interested in psychology. But you don’t always know what it is you’re actually investigating when you start a case. And that is what happened. I went looking for fall flavor and I found it. I found four spectacularly delicious warming things to toast the change of seasons with and four damn patient bartenders. Which I appreciated because, as always, I had a lot of questions.


metaphorically significant cocktail

My first destination was Spur in Belltown. I’ve never had a bad drink here. I sat down at the black stone bar and Quiet Bartender gave my request for a fall cocktail a few moments thought before bringing me a Dixon Hill. It was beautiful. Apple brandy, suze, lime, and celery soda. Suze is (apparently) a french apéritif—a bitter with citrus undertones that could be likened to Lillet. Apparently Picasso painted a bottle of it once. Who knew. But it added a beautiful element to my drink. It was sweet and tart like a green apple but with just a hint of bitterness at the end. It’s a perfect metaphor for how I feel about fall! Beautiful, sweet, but with a hint of bitterness for the end of summer. I’m not sure Quiet Bartender did this on purpose but I was still impressed. Continue reading