The Tree Outside the Window

It’s funny how memories work. My emotional state seems to have more to do with triggering a memory than circumstances, though similar circumstances trigger similar emotional reactions. Eating a madeleine might trigger an involuntary memory, but so might feeling a particular blend of happiness.

Recently, I’ve been comforted by memories from childhood. They are there, ready to be remembered, which makes me think that my new apartment is as comforting as the childhood home I left almost ten years ago. In large part, this has to do with the tree outside my balcony.

Growing up, I would wake from my bed (or, on a school day, be woken by my mother) and open the curtains (or, for most of my childhood, blinds) and see a beautiful tree outside my double windows. Past the tree would be the yard, then the woods, and — past that — the field, which I stopped playing in around the time that I left childhood behind.

I see this tree reflected in the tree outside the balcony. Like the one that grew past my bedroom window, one might see a bird land on this one, or a squirrel scurry through its branches — though I have yet to see the latter.

Sunlight brings more memories.  Perhaps it has to do with the direction and height of the windows in my new place, or the way the light filters through the leaves. Whatever the cause, I’m reminded of sun streaming through autumnal leaves from decades ago, and the memories I made under them. And if I open the slider during a storm, I can hear the rain, which must be one of the most soothing sounds in the universe.

The tree outside my childhood home no longer exists. It lost its life for the sin of growing too close to the house, after a surprise October ice storm made my parents extra-cautious about anything that could fall on their home. I only have the memory of it, and the emotions from long ago reflected in the emotions of today, and that is enough.


Goodbye to 5 1/2 Years of My Life

December 24, 2009 -- a few weeks after I moved in
My former home, taken on December 24, 2009

On December 18, 2009, I moved from my friends’ house to a shared house in Seattle (I mention the move in A Slight Interruption in Service, but I never did an entry on the place itself).  For 5 1/2 years, I lived at the same address.  None of my housemates at the beginning of this time were my housemates at the end, though several stayed well beyond their six-month leases.

Earlier this year, my landlord told me of his intentions to sell the house.  He’d told me of the possibility of selling the house as far back as two years ago, but competing plans made it unclear what would actually happen to the place.  Though he assured all us tenants that our leases would continue under the new owners, I was leery, and began looking for a new place, particularly when he junked a couch swing I’d saved and put in the backyard.  That to me was the death knell of my old way of life.

As you enter the front, 12/24/09
As you enter the front, 12/24/09

Or, I should say, began preparing myself to move, for I didn’t start looking until he found a buyer.  That was early in July, roughly a few weeks after he’d put the house on the market.  One of my former housemates had expressed interest — with his father — of buying the property and continuing to run it as a rental unit, but the asked-for price was too high.

Initially, the owners assured my landlord that contracts would remain the same (all of us were month-to-month, minus one person who was on a three-month lease, signed through September).  Same rent.  Same rooms.  Same arrangement.  On the day I went to look at my first rental property– with a friend and coworker of mine, whom I’d decided to become roommates with — I got a call from my landlord.  Phone reception was bad where I was, so I listened to the message on the way back home.

It was Sunday, July 19th.  The owners had changed their mind.  After a walk-through the week before, they’d come back with a non-negotiable position.  All tenants had to be out by the end of August.

Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09
Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09

I later found out this was illegal (Seattle law requires 60-days notice if a single-family unit is sold and the new owners no longer wish to rent it out), but by that point, I’d found a new apartment, and since no one in my house seemed to care, I took no further action.  Ownership transferred hands on August 12th, a Wednesday.  I moved out on Saturday, August 15th, with critical help from a few friends and a UHaul van.  I later went back to grab a microwave from one of my former housemates and some cleaning supplies I’d bought but had left for other tenants to use.  I found carpets ripped up, boxes and appliances piled up in the yard, and no more shed in back.

A casualty of the move -- my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners
A casualty of the move — my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners

No matter.  I’ve now been in my new place over a month.  Boxes are unpacked, furniture is in place, and nothing broke in the move (one DVD got dislodged from its holder, but it should be okay).  I’m surprised how easy the transition was (the transition to living in a new place, not the move itself), especially since my home in the U-District was the longest I’ve lived at one address since adulthood.  Perhaps it was time for a change.  I’d been growing stagnant and frustrated in the months leading up to the sale of the house.  Now, at my new place, I can start over, yet again.

August 31, 2015, without shed
August 31, 2015, where the shed used to be

Goodbye, Egyptian!

12. Goodbye, Egyptian!
The curtain closes on the Egyptian Theatre

When I moved to Seattle, the first theater I saw a movie in was the Egyptian.  Used to large movie chains like Regal and Showcase Cinemas, I was amazed at the size of the one-screen space.  And it had a balcony, too!  The movie was An Education, which made a star out of Carey Mulligan.  I even wrote about the experience here.  Today, the Egyptian Theatre will show its final film, the appropriately titled Before Midnight — for indeed, the theater will usher its last patrons out shortly before midnight tonight.  I saw the film on Saturday.  On hand was the general manager of the Egyptian for 19 years, here on her last night.

In a way, both films describe what the Egyptian meant to me.  My film education in Seattle started with An Education, and Before Midnight describes my movie-going habits.  Unlike the Neptune Theatre, which ended its run as a Landmark Theatre with The Green Hornet (in 3D – ick!), the Egyptian gets to go out on a great film.

I don’t know what will happen to the theater after tonight.  Seattle Central Community College owns the building, so perhaps they will turn the space into classrooms.  If not, maybe it will continue to be used as a festival venue for the Seattle International Film Festival.  All I know is, from festival films to year-round programming, the Egyptian Theatre will always remain one of my favorite movie theaters.  Here then, in order, is every single picture I ever took of, and in, the Egyptian Theatre:

11. The Line for I Am Love12. After the Movie1723. The Director of the SIFF Festival24. Edward Norton Gets His Golden Space Needle Award252627. The Stage is Set for the Q & A28. The Egyptian Theatre2930. Tom Tangney Interviews Norton31. Tangney, Norton, and an Ear3210. At the Egyptian11. Not messsing around!13. Greenaway introduces his film1415. Post-film Q & A67. Programmer Dan Doody, director Kieran Darcy-Smith, and actress Felicity Price for WISH YOU WERE HERE68

Landmark - Seattle - Mozilla Firefox.bmpSo long, Egyptian!  Thank you for the many enjoyable hours I spent in your seats, and for the less enjoyable ones, as well.