Ghost of the Future

The space needle. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski

The setting is Seattle, Washington. It is April 22nd of the year 2012. The city is abuzz with preparation for the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World Fair; the event which brought our fair city such cultural landmarks as the recently repainted Space Needle, and the nearly abandon monorail. Both were once beacons of the future. Alas, their future was set in 1962 and remains there despite fifty years of evidence to the contrary. Yet there they are, continuing on as if a jet-pack or flying car might wheel around the corner any moment, and contributing a nostalgic undertone to the otherwise overpowering aroma of high-tech industry. The ghost of Seattle-past lingers, and it’s strength masses as we prepare to celebrate it. Hell, it’s even writing us letters.

For our protagonist (that’s me) even Seattle’s future seems ghostly. Whatever it holds I won’t be here to see it, because in July of this year I’m moving across the country, bound for the unlikely destination of New Brunswick, New Jersey. The destination is unlikely because there is absolutely nothing of interest there so far as I know. Indeed I would  never have chosen to go there if it weren’t for a certain gentleman–let’s call him Mr. Neighly.

The illustrious Mr. Neighly. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.

Mr. Neighly is an historian. He studies medieval European history at the University of Washington. Mr. Neighly has recently been accepted into a PhD program at the prestigious Rutger’s University, where he will continue his studies of peasant rebellions, power relationships, and the ever important “effect on the present day” under the tutelage of one Dr. Masschaele. Mr. Neighly is the sort of man that takes his hat off indoors. He wears Hugo Boss suits. He drinks only dark beer. Mr. Neighly is my husband. Thus, while I have no particular interest in New Brunswick, New Jersey, I will am willing to give up my friends, social groups, and an interesting if not lucrative job at the Seattle Art Museum and go there for the next five to seven years of my life.

It’s time for a change anyway. It’s time to shed my skin and let go unnecessary baggage. It’s time to rip up the stakes and shove off like a tumble weed in breeze.

That’s what I keep telling myself, but the truth is I’m not so sure. I love Seattle. I love it’s close proximity to the mountains, the ocean, the desert, and the rainforest. I love it’s glass and steel architecture always reflecting the sky, and the way it’s divided by water. I love the little towns outside of it with names like “Gold Bar” and “Concrete.” I love the tech savvy, DIY people who sunbathe when it’s 50 degrees outside and mow their suburban lawns with goats.

What’s in New Jersey anyway? Having grown up in Maryland my strongest memories of the state are of traffic jams, toll booths, and rest stops on the way to points north. It’s a place to through, not to. Are there gardens in the Garden State beyond the horizon of oil tanks and airfields? I hope so.

Orcas Island. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.


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