The grayish-blue winter sky faded into the gray cityscape built of weathered buildings and road-side slush residue. We were driving across town, yet again. It was February. And there was a great need for the north-south freeway to be finished.
A few new things had popped up around town, but for the most part things looked the same. A little worse actually, as the harsh winters had continued to take a toll on all the new and old structures and created increasingly speckled pothole roads. The People’s Gallery art wall on the Maple Street Bridge appeared mostly faded, resembling a sidewalk chalk mural the morning after a light rain. And a couple of my favorite local shops were now closed.
Sweatpants ran rampant throughout the city. At least that’s what Jon said. As an outsider of the Pacific Northwest that was his main observation. As a California native he explained to me that Californians only wear sweats if they are sick or if it’s past 11pm in a grocery store. I explained to him that in the Pacific Northwest sweats are a way of life, and on many occasions they are considered fashionable. He didn’t believe me until he kept seeing various demographics of people wearing sweats around town. He still thought it was weird.
After maneuvering through strange road layouts and pinning down frustrations about abnormally slow speed limits we finally made it to church where there was a fresh pot of coffee waiting for us just inside the double doors. Quite possibly the most endearing thing about the Pacific Northwest is the free coffee before, during and after church services. I miss that. And with the long, harsh winters I think the people need it. My friend who regularly attends there says that each week a few homeless people come in and sit on the floor in the back of the church just to drink the coffee. I think that’s really cool.