Few cars were on the road at this time of night. With the moon roof down, I could see a group of stars in the dark, clear sky.
I don’t know what is about driving on a bridge over water. 65 mph feels like 85. Cops are rare so maybe I was doing closer to 85. Either way, I had the the I90 bridge all to myself as I zipped around the stretch from Mercer Island and into town.
With the top open, I extended my hand to deflect the crisp air onto my face like I did when I was kid while sitting in the backseat of our station wagon. I love the cool air of Seattle. It makes me feel so alive.
My iPod was playing Till Brönner’s “River Man”.
If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
It’s been nearly 15 years since I first crossed the bridge on my way to Seattle where I moved into an a tiny studio across from the University of Washington.
But tonight I exited the bridge and jumped onto I5 which goes through downtown Seattle, past the glowing pillars of Safeco Field. Taking the 45th Street exit put me on “the Ave”.
A lot has changed over the years. Tower Records was gone. The corner computer shop had been replaced with a used clothing store. My favorite used record and CD joint was now a copy store. I was happy to see that Bulldog News and Haagen Daz were still around.
But the vibe I remember was gone.
On the drive home I thought about how my life has changed since I moved to Seattle. I’ve lost track of all the jobs I’ve held. I’ve lived downtown and far from town. I’ve commuted to work by bus, train, bike, scooter and ferry. We bought our first home and raised our first child and adopted our first pet.
But the largest change (besides meeting Kim) is that I now have four children that call me dad. And a few other names on occasion.
I arrived in Seattle as a self-centered brat who felt like the world owed me something for sticking out four years of college. Having children has softened the edges. Toned down the attitude.
I’ve got a long way to go. But I feel like I’m a better person than the one that drove a U-Haul over the bridge back in ‘94.
I’m going to take my kids to the Haagen Daz next week.
Before it’s replaced by another gas station.