Friday, June 02, 2006

People Watching

The morning certainly belongs to the elderly in my community. West Seattle is a pretty diverse neighborhood - a semi-cosmopolitan, semi-rural salad of caucasian, black and Asian/Pacific Islanders in a sleepy suburb of the Seattle sprawl. We are hemmed in by the port, the Georgetown industrial district, and unincorporated King County, yet we have (in my opinion) the best view of the city and surrounding islands from Alki Beach.

So getting back to my point, part of our cultural diversity in West Seattle is that we have a large population of retired/elderly folks, and when the kids are in school, they come out en masse to enjoy what the local area has to offer. As I was driving back from dropping the kids at school on Wednesday, I happened to spot an elderly couple moseying (which is what I feel to be an appropriate term for the style of walking one does past a certain age) down California Ave. with canvas shopping bags a-swinging. They were a lovely old couple and here's what I thought was the coolest: they wore matching T-shirts. I couldn't see what the design was from the car, but I thought, how cool it would be to get to the point in life where it would be CUTE to wear matching T-shirts with my spouse, and not be thinking shoot me in the head if I ever think wearing matching T-shirts with my spouse is cute... Now, Sam & I ran a publishing company, and we made frequent appearances at local and regional conventions. So part of our married life was spent wearing matching T-shirts, which I figure is just a corporate uniform thing. But who knows? Perhaps this old couple run a game company too.

So then I get behind another couple in a late-'90s Mercury Sable (which is mandated by city ordinance to be driven by those over 60 - and I say that having recently owned an early-90s Mercury Sable). Local lore is full of comedic bits about how the speed limit in Ballard is 15 MPH and you must drive with your left blinker on, dragging a seatbelt out one of the doors, and in some of the more suburban neighborhoods of Seattle, odds are you will find yourself behind the old lady in the climactic sequence of Ferris Bueller's Day Off at least once a week. But while on the freeway I've been known to give driving lessons via psychic impulse and verbal monologue, when I'm in a neighborhood I tend to relax and not let other drivers get to me. The guy driving this Sable was, contrary to the steroetype, absolutely competent, save for the riding of the brakes and the speed of 20 in a 30 zone. But what was cool about him was his face, which I saw as they made a left turn. He must have been 3'6", with a Rex Harrison hat and a white beard that made him look like Popeye's pappy (complete with squint). The trenchcoat he wore completed the picture of McGruff the Crime Dog and Gus Chiggins the Grizzled Prospector, if they'd ever dated. And I wouldn't put it past ol' Gus Chiggins. Awwww, peaches.

In short, I'm starting to step back and observe people - really notice their "characters" and catch a glimpse into other lives, even if most of it is manufactured in my own mind from the observation. I'm also becoming aware of what it takes to get to the point where you truly have CHARACTER. I think I will have fun being the crochety old guy waving his cane at the whippersnappers on his lawn and criticizing their "rap music and their Zimas" (actual quote from an irite old man in the University district).

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I got the transfer back from Victory Studios - the one from the sole remaining 1" master tape of my first film, Project. This is the 20th anniversary of it's "release", and I wanted to finally put that sucker on DVD. It's a good excuse to learn more about Vegas and DVD Architect. It's amazing to think we shot it as juniors in high school, and I edited it after graduation in 1986. I'm not going all Lucas and adding the nifty effects we wanted but didn't have with analog equipment in the mid-'80s, but I am cleaning up the audio a bit and fixing some bad edits. Maybe I'll record a commentary and poke fun at all the actors (many of whom are media professionals today).


LL Cool P said...

Ooh, I want a copy! Might I purchase said DVD, sir?

tbone said...

You may indeed, but not before they're out of the oven. ;)