This column was going to be great. Anitra, Tex, and Cowboy, "the Seattle First Three of Six", were going to be tried by Seattle for the crime of sheltering people in out of the rain under the King County Ad Building overhang. I was going to skip the boring bits, skip all the hours that Anitra et al would spend watching lawyers jockey. Just as the trial got interesting, I would be there taking notes, and this column would have been the distillation of all the awesome trial drama.
Well, guess what. There wasn't anything BUT the boring bits. After about twelve hours of mind numbingly dull motions, not counting breaks for lunch and paper copying, the city just asked the judge to dismiss the charges, and the judge said OK.
That was it. No harangues, no "where were you on the night of." No "I would like to remind the witness she is under oath." No last minute note passed to the defense attorney by a handsome private detective. No brilliant cross examination. No map of the scene of the crime. No one screaming from the back of the courtroom, "Alright! I did it! Yes, I did it! I had to do it, don't you see? I hated her so much, with her damn poetry workshops and her computer lessons! That's why I framed her!"
It seems the defendants were charged with trespassing on county property, but the county wasn't willing to have a representative appear in court to explain why it objected to allowing a handful of people to escape the rain on public property when they weren't being a nuisance in any way. So the city, who was doing the prosecuting, realized it couldn't win.
So instead of talking about that, I'm going to reminisce about my old '69 Rambler. Long-time readers may remember her from my Opus 7, "Home was a '69 Rambler / I'd rolled it away from the road / Home was a '69 Rambler / until the state ha-ad it towed / etc."
I didn't just buy that car to live in it. We had a history together. We were a couple. A math professor and his wheels. I bought her at Rutgers NJ in 1979 for $200. Her previous owner had lost her in a drug bust. I needed her to make it between classes in that sprawling campus.
When classes ended in 1980 I had to come here to Seattle. I decided to keep the Rambler by driving us across country. That trip was to cement our relationship forever. (Get it? "Cement." Ha!)
There were "thunder strips" in Pennsylvania. Thunder strips shake your car apart if you are doing more than the speed limit. We met them in a rainstorm. I thought she was dying. I cried over her for hours on the side of the road. Then the rain subsided and I could see the strips.
The Man in the Yellow Beetle appeared in Pennsylvania. From there to Wyoming not a single hour passed that one of us didn't pass the other, except for a detour over a mountain. It was amazing. We took breaks at the same times. We must have slept at the same times. We drove at the same speeds. Uncanny.
I saw an interstate shunt that went over a mountain alongside Mt. Rushmore. As is my wont, I thought, "What the hell?" That stretch of interstate inspired this Haiku (this is the original version.)
Divided Highway Ahead
My Girlfriend's Behind
The "highway" was one lane in each direction, no shoulders, usually no railings. Divided highway signs signaled such things as trees in the middle of the road. As we reached the peak, my love nearly died of high altitude asphyxiation. It was snowing. I will never forget her gasps of pain. But she made it. We both arrived here May 17, one day before we would have been ashed on by St. Helens.
This column is dedicated to her spirit -- my '69 Rambler, b 1969, d 1984.