We have one of those annoying “earworms” — you know, the snippet of a song that keeps going around in your head. It’s been with us for several days now, and neither of us can remember where Alene would have heard it for it to enter our heads. The song is Isn’t It Time? by The Babys from 1977 (Alene had to Google them for the song title.) We think we first heard it at the same instant back then, because we both seem to have a distinct memory of it being introduced on Radio One (by Dave Lee Travis, I think). “These guys are going to be so big” is how it was introduced. Well, they might have been big in America but neither of us remember them as making a big impression in the UK — although they’re certainly making up for it now!!
Anyway, you may well ask why I haven’t attempted to join Alene in person, given that I always know where she is. Why have I never just gone over to her place and knocked on the door? And that’s a good question! And believe me — I’ve tried!
While I was still in England, I tried emailing her — and I just got “undeliverable” notifications. Snail mail never got delivered either. When she moved to Seattle, I decided to move there too and for a while, I lived literally only two blocks from her, near the Junction in West Seattle. I waited a couple of weeks before attempting a visit. I never made it to Alene’s building. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning at Alki Beach with no recollection of how I got down there. And our connection was broken for a full twenty-four hours, during which Alene almost went out of her mind — and so did I. When we reconnected, she made me promise not to try it again, in case we were separated for ever. So I moved out of West Seattle at the first opportunity and have been living mainly in, on and around Queen Anne, with occasional stints in downtown hotels in between leases.
Sometimes Alene will find herself in a space I have only just vacated, such as a seat in a coffee shop or on a bus. I enjoy orchestrating these almost encounters. A few years ago, she turned fifty — as did the Space Needle. I suggested she go there on her birthday. While she was on her way from West Seattle, I got a cup of coffee and went to sit at the foot of the Needle, on the side where that Andean band plays. I must have been there over an hour, leaving when I realized Alene was walking through Fisher Plaza. She sat on the very same spot — and wept with joy at feeling the energy I’d left behind.
In theory, Doctor Who isn’t supposed to meet his other selves — but it’s allowed to happen in times of crisis — such as when the BBC needs to raise money for a worthy cause — or just to boost sagging ratings!
Alene and I have come to accept that we’re probably not supposed to meet either. But we are allowed to live in the same city and our paths can cross all the time. Perhaps we might be allowed to come together if something terrible happens. But we don’t like to think about that. It’s not why I’ve run away to the bottom of South America, though. I have every intention of returning to Seattle — although Alene rather likes the idea of joining me down here!