Thursday, May 2, 2013

For Honeydew Homies - Interurban/North Creek/Sammamish/Burke Gilman Loop

At Filbert Road and Snow Ridge

On a ride up to Lynnwood, over to Bothel, and back to the U District via the BG, the wind was blowing in my face the whole way. How is that even possible?

Here is the map.

On a particularly daunting stretch of two-lane blacktop called Filbert Road -- no shoulder, an armada of SUVs all in a hurry, limited sight lines  -- I came across this sign.

Rob was a couple years older than me, but we went to Lindbergh together. I didn't get to know him until the summer of 1991, when we served a summer school sentence together at Honeydew in the Highlands. He used to give me a ride home most days. Since he was older, he could also buy me cigarettes.

Rob Peffley
Rob drove a Volkswagen Rabbit with wires hanging out of the dash. In my memory he is holding a Newport in one hand and shifting with the other. He had a disheveled, golf-pro coolness about him. Most days he was hungover. I asked him, you drink a lot?

"Like a fish," he said. It was the first time I had heard that expression.

Aaron told me Rob had died in a motorcycle collision in 2007. He was 33.

Here is a blotter brief about the wreck. Here is a page written by Rob's dad. It's about his motorcycles, but includes info about the wreck. His dad said Rob had not been drinking and was riding in daylight. He was a short distance from his house when a distracted motorist struck him head-on.

This route is really great, but if I do it again, an alternative to 196th St. SW/Filbert Road will have to be located. That road was scaring the hell out of me before I saw Rob's sign.

Upon arriving in Bothel, with much fanfare, I connected with the North Creek Trail and promptly discovered an out-of-the-way place to take a break and get high.

Right after getting high, before I could kick back and watch the sky and listen to the Led Zeppelin on my jam box, a young man emerged from the woods carrying a large paperback of jokes.     

He saw me and it was like he had been out here, in the trees, looking for me the whole time.

His name was Dylan. He told me a lot about his life in the space of five minutes. I learned about the seizures he suffered as an infant, which left him with brain damage and a developmental disability. He lamented that his neighbors kept calling the police on him. Especially because he didn't do anything.

"My neighbor, Matt, he is married. I hurt him."

He wanted to know if I still lived with my parents, or if I was "old enough." The book of jokes was dogeared and bookmarked in places with tiny post-it notes.

He had some questions, but mostly he just spilled his guts. A big concern for Dylan is not understanding the social dynamics and nuances in the world around him. He didn't say it like that, but that's how I took it, and how I didn't get jumpy when he wanted to stand within my personal space. It was, I might add, a very stoned personal space.

"I don't get what the fucking problem is," he said. He was mystified, and employed much profanity.

I asked him what he did to his neighbor.

"I didn't do anything, I don't know what the hell is going on."

The police had also been called when he decided to walk laps at the high school nearby, a bewildering turn of events.

One day while passing through the school parking lot, Dylan said he came across the principal, who told him that Dylan could "do laps" on the track anytime he wanted as long as there were no students there.

"It's a fucking mystery," he said. "They said it would be best for everybody if I was there on Saturdays and Sundays."

The confusion moved Dylan to profanity, and he cursed with a functional proficiency that stood out against the rest of his demeanor. Cursing gave him an air of sophistication, or at least maturity, almost as if I felt more comfortable with him being so close when he cursed.

I told him that I wasn't from this place, that I had never been here before and was just passing through. I asked him where we were. What is the name of this place? He looked at me suspiciously. It took some coaxing before he would tell me.

"Canyon Park," Dylan said, a little anger in his voice.

He switched back to recounting examples of neighbors calling the police on him when he wasn't doing anything wrong. I had to go. I didn't have any answers for Dylan, I couldn't explain what the fucking problem was, even if I hadn't been so high.

Before I left, Dylan told me a couple jokes.

"Why is a beaver like a train? They chew chew chew all day long. Why did the student eat his homework? His teacher said it was a piece of cake. I got a whole book of them."

I had to ask directions twice before I reconnected with the Sammamish trail.

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