Nothing to do and nowhere to go

Cold autumn mornings returned to Seattle last Wednesday — and I put the detachable hood back on my warm down vest.

I attended a training session downtown in the morning and took my usual early bus just for the sake of keeping things simple, even though I would get downtown far too early — but that’s what coffee shops are for. I whiled away the time in the Cherry Street Coffee House — the one that’s actually on Cherry Street — on the northern edge of Pioneer Square.

Pioneer Square feels good at the beginning of November. We (Mark and I) fondly remember my first holiday season working for a long-established Pioneer Square retailer. It was mad, mad, mad — and more mad! It was so mad, that I gave myself permission to live on the edge a little — or at least pretend to.

Closer to Christmas, I ended up with several closing shifts and was on the bus home to West Seattle around 9:45pm — well after the hour at which Pioneer Square becomes a different place. By day, the cafes, restaurants and bars swarm with business people, office workers, and tourists. Sometime after 7pm, menu boards are taken in — and bouncers take their place. At the end of a long shift in the store, it felt good to be sitting on the bus as it made very slow progress down First Avenue — past places very near and dear to Allen’s heart, such as J&M Cafe (& Cardroom), the Central Saloon, and the Triangle Pub. Once past the stadiums, the bus would pick up speed, and in a seat just ahead of the bellows, I would enjoy the bouncing of the bus as it hit the First Avenue South bumps and potholes. There was a bus driver who whistled melancholy tunes — and by the time we were in West Seattle, I had been lulled almost to sleep — and was not always so anxious to get off the warm, cosy bus.

I wasn’t afraid back then. Of course, I was younger. I also got minute-by-minute feedback from the Universe that I was exactly where I was meant to be — but perhaps that’s because I lived minute by minute. And I was younger then.


This morning (Friday), I was having my morning coffee at the other end of downtown — at the southern edge of Belltown. I picked up a copy of The Stranger to look at my horoscope. In those days at the store in Pioneer Square, my horoscope in The Stranger was always disturbingly spot on (while those for the eleven other signs were completely non-relevant) — and it was often very encouraging — so I made a point of checking my horoscope whenever a copy of The Stranger crossed a path. But I lost the habit around ten years ago.

When I first started going to this coffee shop, a few months ago, I noticed the stack of copies of The Stranger on the rack by the door — and Mark joked that I should look at my horoscope. But I couldn’t find the horoscopes! I went through the paper page by page without seeing it anywhere. Mark joked that this might be a sign I have no future! However, a few weeks ago, I took up a copy of The Stranger and opened it right up at Free Will Astrology (by Robert Brezsny) — and it was disturbingly spot on as usual.

The horoscope I read this morning picked up where my Wednesday morning thoughts left off…

Immerse yourself in the mystery of having nothing to do and nowhere to go. Put your faith in the pregnant silence. Let emptiness teach you what you need to know next.

Back in my Pioneer Square retail days, I felt that my life would end very soon — and it felt good — because it allowed me to live from one minute to the next — always in the moment — rarely worrying about what the future self — because I truly believed there was no future.

Well, I’ve had fifteen years of future…. and most of it has been rather good.

I suppose I should have some faith in the next fifteen years!


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