Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Ghost of Dr. Popham

Wandering around my old haunts, I feel like a ghost watching live scientists and students discussing research, studying, and typing up papers on computers. The old coffee shops that I went to daily and just loved hanging out in hit me in a wrong way. The people watching isn't as interesting as in China and Africa. Everyone looks the same. The same clothes, the same bags, the same cell phones, and computers, the same sad lonely bubbles of one. In China and Africa it is really rare to see a person sitting by themselves. The Capitol Hill coffee shops feel full of rich yuppies, wearing their expensive clothes that are made to look worn out and it makes Seattle feel rich and privileged, makes me feel like a loser for not wanting the same things.

The best part of the coffee shop experience is the music and art on the walls. The background music in China is bland pop drivel repeating the same Chinese love and relationship vocabulary over and over again.

The gray sky is a poor motivator to get out of bed. I am cold and don't want to get up, but the gray sky is perfect weather for biking. Sweat turns the gray into yellow happiness. Riding the routes from the north past old rugby fields to the Burke Gilman passing the IMA and the stadium, riding the routes of the Seattle marathon around Lake Washington and touching base again with the Jen who went to a gym, ran, and biked felt nice.

Today while speaking French, eating Senegalese food and drinking iced bissap (hibiscus tea) a flood of images touched me in such a I miss Africa and want to go back way. I wonder why I don't mind facing the memories of Africa compared to facing the memories of the scientist who died five years ago upon graduation.

It is weird.

I ran into an old group member who had just arrived in town a few days ago from NYC where he is doing a post doc. What a coincidence. Does it mean anything?

No comments: