Having left my couch and armchair in Seattle (both having seen better days), I spent much of the afternoon going from furniture store to furniture store in search of a Comfy Chair. This is going to be harder than I had imagined. I’m not at all sure I want leather, and leather seems to be de rigueur these days. I sat in a number of leather chairs, Stressless and Stressless-wannabes. If someone gave me one, I wouldn’t turn it down, but that’s not the same as deciding I want to buy one. There were a few upholstered-in-fabric chairs. Much cozier. There was one at Ikea that fit me, and it has a matching ottoman, but like so much these days, the ottoman is only theoretically available. So, the search goes on.
I’m not spending all my time shopping. Or trying to shop. I’ve taken a walk every day since I got here and each day, I walk in a different direction. The area I live in is starting to make sense to me. It’s very different navigating it on foot and in a car, mostly because, in the car, I’m just doing the driving, the GPS is doing the navigating. My walking self has learned that when the street numbers are going up, I’m heading south, and when they’re descending, I’m going north.
This seems backwards to me since the norm in my brain is still Manhattan where, when the numbers are going up, you’re going north. Of course. Isn’t up always north? Apparently not. But I can teach my brain to flip it around (I did this with the Pacific Ocean when I lived in Southern California—it always seemed to be on the wrong side), though I think it changes once you get to downtown Minneapolis, which I haven’t done yet. I saw it for the first time in the distance this afternoon as I was driving back from wherever the furniture stores were. Though, to be fair to myself, I do know I went west and north, and it was as I was driving east that the skyscrapers appeared in front of me. The Mississippi is over there too, and St. Paul. I’ll get there.
Monday, the first full day I was here, was warm and sunny. I knew my apartment was close to two lakes, but I had no idea until I walked there just how close. Which one to explore first? I turned right, toward Lake of the Isles, and almost immediately was on the edge of a lagoon. As I walked, I kept telling myself, It will be here tomorrow, I don’t have to capture it all today—though it won’t always be 70 degrees with soft gentle air and filtered sun. That evening at TJ’s, the young guy checking me out (not me, my groceries) asked what my plans were for the evening (I wish they could come up with questions less prone to make one feel like a social failure). I told him I’d just moved here yesterday so planned to take it easy (not a social failure; just a newbie). “Welcome,” he said. “Enjoy it while you can. It’s not usually like this in October. Usually it’s gray and overcast and cold and raining.”
There was one day like that this week, or maybe it was two, but even that wasn’t so bad. Seattle does cold and gray too. It hailed briefly yesterday, when I was in a consignment antique store a few short minutes away in another direction. I didn’t mind being trapped there while I waited for the weather to settle down. Compared to all the fluorescent newness of the stores I’ve been frequenting, it felt, despite its jumble, restful, like visiting a museum with artifacts of people’s lives (though the shoes shackled together did give me a turn; whatever else you can say about it, you won’t find anything like that at Ikea).
I’m going to visit it again soon. Maybe they’ll have a chair for me. Wouldn’t that be nice.