Friday, February 22, 2013

Scenes from Seattle: Rooftop, evening

Desmond and I are on the rooftop because, if you’re a city dog living in a pet-friendly building striving for urban chic, that’s where you go to the bathroom: on a patch of Astroturf eight stories high, with views of the Space Needle, and, if it’s a clear day, the Cascades. It’s after 6 PM, the only views the lights illuminating the insides of offices and living rooms. I haven’t noticed just how bright it is until suddenly, an overhead light is extinguished. I look above me; the towering construction crane just turned out its lights. Across the alley (and across the street, and down the block; this is a “developing neighborhood,” after all) a new apartment building is being constructed, floor-by-floor. The crane across the alley towers above us each day, its giant arm rotating, casting shadows on the rooftop. Now it is dark, and a figure emerges from his box in the sky: the crane operator. For a moment I lose sight of him, but I know he’s there, out in the open space, just the narrow steel skeleton around him. I suck in my breath as I watch him begin to descend down, down the impossibly narrow stairs. Beside me, Desmond, unfazed, squats and pees.