Life in the key of Pike

Across from my booth - An impromptu singing of "Arirang" by a visiting Korean Choral Group.

Many of us have a soundtrack playing in the back of our mind as we go through the day. My summer soundtrack at Pike Place Market is often the chaotic hum of the market itself. I set my business up on the sidewalk in close proximity to cars, motorcycles, ambulances, duck tours quacking, dogs whining, balloons popping, babies crying, the back end of buses grating on the cobblestones of the steep hill behind me. The indigent hawk newspapers – “REAL CHANGE to help the homeless.” Buskers play accordions. Firetruck closes in. Siren wails. Horn blasts until your head hurts. I don’t even lift my eyes to watch as it careens through the intersection never slowing, racing through people who grab children, pets and parcels as they scatter in its wake.

So, while setting up my booth the other day I was pleasantly surprised to have “Abraham, Martin and John” pop into my head.  Something peaceful, smooth. Now, how does it go?

Has anybody seen my old friend Abraham? Can you tell me…

“How far is it to the Space Needle? Monorail? Waterfront? Where’s the statue of Jimi Hendrix? What’s good to eat around here?” Oooh. That last question is always difficult to answer with so many choices.

He freed a lot of people but it seems the good they die young.  I look around…

Pink Umbrella Girl marches by with a tour group speaking loudly in a language I don’t recognize. Making a sweeping motion with one arm like an American football player making a pass and pointing southward into the market, I surmise her wish to convey “that is where they throw the fish”.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John? Can you tell me where he’s…

Husband “Geez, these are beautiful !” Wife “If you get something you need to know where you’re going to put it.” They turn and walk down the sidewalk, husband promising over his shoulder “I’ll be back”.

Anybody here seen my old friend Martin? Can you tell me where he’s gone. He freed a lot of people but the good they seem to…

“How much for the teepee?” $45. My friend Sharon makes them. She went to get some coffee. I’m happy to help you. We set up next to each other all of the time. It takes a village. She sells an art tile for me. I sell a teepee for her.

Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me? And soon we’ll be…

“I’ll take this Hamsa.” Perfect. Let me wrap that up for you.

Someday soon and it’s gonna be some day…

A mob of uniformed Japanese schoolgirls surrounds a mounted police officer. Chattering, squealing, giggling pictures with his horse. Iguanas on shoulders, ducks in arms, dogs in strollers, babies on leashes. Gold-man on a box. Mirror-man clanking, Wedding parties swishing. “Where’s the first Starbucks? What’s with the pig? I thought it always rained in Seattle? Where can I buy a sweatshirt?” Old man plays a sitar in the park.

I sit under my sunflower umbrella and hum along.

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Kat Allen, Symbols in Art

Modified from original blog posts in “What Comes Down Pike and Pine”


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