Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Witness to the creation of a little happiness

A paper-journal note from September, 2000

Im walking around Seattle center, near the Space Needle. It's a warm, sunny, late-summer day. It's a slow day for the small collection of carnival-style amusements here, with a few visitors stepping up for the carousel, and no one at all on the minibikes-that-ride-around-in-a-circle. I'm watching the dodge-em (known in past years as bumper cars, before liability concerns forced a name change that suggested avoidance, instead of intentional creation of, abrupt impacts.) There's one kid on them all alone, driving in slow circles while all the other cars sit parked in a row. It's nearly silent, the soft scrape of contacts against metal, and a faint sparking as the pole atop the car crosses the seams in the metal ceiling. The little guy has a vacant look as he covers the same slow arc along the floor again and again. Finally the attendant, a black man in his fifties with a uniform blue shirt, pants, and hat, jumps in a car and chases the kid around a little. They both begin to smile and laugh.


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