Being Different, Seattle’s Discovery Park

Who am I?

Few sun-rays come through the window, not much light out yet, looks gloomy again. Alexa, what’s the temperature outside? – I ask. “Its 55F in Seattle with chances of rain”. Im tired, it’s been a long week, went for runs and paddling in lake WA few times. But I couldn’t shake my thoughts about what is going on out there. I keep asking myself about if is even worth it to post anything this week. Feeling a bit sad, I have to admit.

Looking through the window again, some more sun-rays come through the tall green tree that is right outside our window. Still feels pretty cloudy out there to me. Is it even worth to get out? – I force myself to say yes.

It was sunnier outside yesterday. We went out, grabbed a burger, first one in three months and tasted good. That incredible remorse feeling after you take the last bite it is still intact. Sat on the park looking at the people wearing masks like a post apocalyptic scene. The move, the pandemic – It is still weird to me. Immediately the temperature dropped down to 50F or so, flip flops and shorts didn’t seem like a good idea anymore. Dog started pulling back in the direction home, she doesn’t like cold wind, we ran back and got in bed.

Today we are going out, fuck it, we decided it. I don’t care about the weather anymore, I will just leave rain coats, jackets, water shoes, hiking shoes, swim suit, towel and flip flops in the car for now on. Will not let the weather dictate my plans anymore. We get in the car, open the trails app and check our hike wish list.

We drive over the SR-520 bridge, sun comes out, but is raining, this happens a lot here. Move through empty highways get to the Ballard neighborhood, a long red light. As I look across the street a mother wearing black clothes and a colorful fabric mask, carries a shoe-less baby. Next to her, a young kid has a sign that reads #BLM. People chanting and dancing, I look through the car window, think about honking, I don’t, I look away.

I’ve been in this country for over 10 years. What inside feels like a lifetime ago, it also does like it was yesterday. And the legal hoops that still classify me as “legal alien” sometimes make me feel like these are “alien problems”.

I didn’t know I was different, until after I landed in the US. Where I had to pick one of the ethnicity boxes in the immigration forms that best described me. I have to admit it took me some time to decide for the Non-White Latino one.

Where I grew up, we pretty much all looked the same. Welcome to the US, and the concept of feeling different was born. We get to the Discovery park and starts raining. Shit, we forgot our rain coats.

We get off the car, parked a mile away, and see lots of signs that say crowded parks lead to closed parks. Nice touch there WA State as being cooped up at home wouldn’t be difficult enough. Mud shoes on, small argument with the wife to convince her to get them on, we start walking. I keep thinking.

Micro-agressions, is that how you call them? – I asked out loud. I remembered few times when walking out of Walmart. And the greeters would just target me to check thoroughly my bags and receipt. When a police man, gave me a ticket for almost $1K for not having the latest paper copy of my car insurance with me. Just to learn later at the judge that he could see it in my online files, as I was current in all payments.

Or, the time I got confused with the landscaper when doing the yard at my own home. Or when the lady asked me if I really lived here, when wrestling with the lock to get in to the stupid apartment we live now.

The list goes on, I just decided to forget about it. These are just annoyances, no more than that, things that I have to live on the day to day. Hey, at the end of the day, It’s my fault, isn’t it? – I am different.

We are 5k in, as we continue wondering through the green forest and the open flower fields. We get to at a cliff with a beautiful view of the beach, it is very crowded. No time to stop, keep moving, Gov Inslee’s sign said so.

I look at the app, and notice, we missed the turn, gotta turn back and head down now, steep muddy steps, glad I am wearing my hiking shoes. We get to the beach and it is absolutely gorgeous. Sunny, couldn’t feel better, looks like one of those mighty shots from a movie. We let the dog run, there are clams shells everywhere, water puddle reflections from the retrieving tide, smells funny, looks beautiful. It’s warm and sunny, rare.

I keep thinking about Walmart, and I say to myself these are just day to day annoyances we have to live with, because I am different. But what happens when they are not just annoyances? When they are real threats and you could actually die just because you look different? – That isn’t right, I loudly honk the horn in my head.

There is a bald eagle and for a second, I wish I had my swimsuit. The weather in Seattle turns on a dime and perhaps it will soon start raining.

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