Invisibility

There’s self-perception and reality. I assume, pretty much always, that no one remembers who I am. I don’t know why this is, but I just figure I don’t stick out in a crowd.  I know this probably isn’t true (and definitely wasn’t true when my hair was every shade imaginable) but still, I just operate under the assumption that no one remembers me or knows who I am. I think it’s a little bit like seeing someone in a mirror—if the angle is such that YOU can see HIM than the angle is such that HE can see YOU. This is just science.

I go to Stone Gardens almost every Monday. Lately I’ve been going Wednesdays as well, possibly another day over the weekend. I see the same people there, every Monday. I don’t know any of their names, but I know them. The taller guy with a lot of tattoos and small black gauges in his ears that almost always climbs alone. The guy with dark hair and a near scowl and his much smaller female climbing partner who are usually wrapping up right as I get there.  Then of course, there’s the Stone Gardens staff. Some I actually hang out with outside of climbing, but the others I just know from being there. Keith, who sets the routes that KILL me and is usually sitting behind the counter when I get there. Kyle, who I met out at Exit 38 this summer and throws his shirt down off of routes same as I do (and did some bad ass routes last night). Rick, who at this point I actually climb with sometimes and teaches the youth climbing classes on Monday nights. Some of their names I learned from overhearing, some I learned from introductions, some I picked up from volunteering at the climbing competition at Seattle Bouldering Competition. I still assume they don’t remember me.

Yesterday I found out—they know me! They know my name! Objectively—duh. I come in at least once a week, I swipe in and my name shows up on the screen. Not to mention, I have a few visible tattoos which always help with remembering someone (at least for me) and I’m good friends with some of the folks that work at Stone Gardens. Emotionally—I suddenly felt like a Cool Kid.  It’s a funny feeling—to realize that you aren’t as invisible as you think.

It’s getting cold in Seattle—the mountains are already snowcapped. So, in honor, a piece I wrote about skiing without any skiing in it.  This was written out of stories from a friend I love, dearly, who will be returning home soon.

Night Skiing

One moment, the ocean is its ordinary self. Breaking in sets of three, deep grey and predictable.  The next, it pauses, folds a right angle and rushes the cove. Later, the pier is drowned and mermaids learn how to breathe again.  She didn’t say “perhaps” she said “paper” and if you watched her hands, you would have seen each sharp crease before the warmth of the candle carried the moon to its place.

Borrow a cup of sugar and the sky unscrolls.

A color called iceskate, romance with a blade. Morning stacks room on top of room, illumination switches up. Stretches to a combination of take-out and coffee cups, lunch eaten at a desk.

No one ever says “the best time for photographs is the brightest point of the day.”  It’s always the witching hour, the breaking. Light that is just before it gets difficult to read.

You are squinting your eyes at the page. You’ve missed the window.

Later, when you look back, it will be impossible to differentiate day from night.  Except for the color of a shirt, the way one person is looking over her shoulder and another has his hand raised in a wave.  Hello or goodbye—another thing difficult to discern but for memory. Snow throwing light everywhere like it costs nothing at all. 

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