I don’t know if anyone really knows what I’m really talking about here. Has anyone noticed when you’re out walking in, say, the downtown of a city, and you look into the street, especially when there’s very little traffic or anything, and the street’s actually kind of sparkly? Like there’s these little flecks in there that catch the light just so?
If not, well, they’re there. At least they are here in Seattle (where I am currently writing this, if that wasn’t totally clear). I don’t see them every day, not even in the same streets that I have to walk on, but sometimes I do, and it just makes things really pretty cool. It’s actually magical, just a subtle thing that makes you go “Hey, that’s pretty neat” when you see it, and cheers you up for a little bit. Almost like, I don’t know, pixies or something left dust in the road.
In fact, there’s a lot of magical things like that in the city. For example, when I’m walking home, I walk through what I call the hotel district, and one of the hotels in the hotel district has a giant neon sign. The sign’s got the name of the hotel and a giant king’s head, like that on a playing card. For some reason, I’ve always really liked that. I’ve always thought neon lights were cool anyway, like, the little ones you can get or see in stores or bars advertising various items, usually alcoholic. I mean, when I was younger, I always wanted to get one. (Of course, now that I can afford one, I don’t really care as much, which is the sad way it always seems to go.) But even though I don’t want one anymore, I still appreciate them, and the one I appreciate the most is that giant king on the hotel.
It’s odd, I’m not typically superstitious or anything; I mean, I’m all pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool atheist here, don’t believe in psychic powers or pseudo-science, none of that. But, for some reason (and I’m blaming my slight case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), I seem to have this thing where if I don’t look up at the Giant King Head, I feel that something bad will happen to me on the way to the bus (probably just being accosted by a homeless person or something, I don’t think it’d be anything too bad). Oddly enough, I tend to do this every night, and very rarely does anything happen (of course, the couple of times I’ve been panhandled, I’ve looked at the King, so I rationally know my theory is bunk, even aside from the fact that there’s no reason why my looking at the King would have any correlation with anything at all), but I always look at it. But that’s probably just because gigantic tubes of neon making shapes are pretty cool.
The smells of the city are also pretty neat; I know this isn’t a universal thing, but Seattle often has a real sea-type smell, since we’re on the water and all. And sometimes it gets really strong; almost like just a really strong fish-smell — only it’s not a bad smell, just fishy. Especially on summer nights, when the sun’s either rising or setting; for some reason this seems to enhance the smell and make it even better. Those are my favorite days. I think the last time I saw the sparkly pavement was one of those types of days. It was magnificent.