Natalie Goldberg Card #8
“Tell me about a favorite café, diner, luncheonette (do they use that word anymore?), coffee shop.”
I’m working through the Natalie Goldberg deck of writing subjects. Each card in this world-renowned author and zen teacher’s Deck contains a writing topic on one side and a short lesson on the reverse, delivered in Natalie’s honest, heartfelt urgency. “This is my wish for you:” she says. “[T]hat you take these cards, grab the topic on one side and write, write, write . . . Remember no good or bad. Just words on the page.” That’s what I’m doing with this series. Just working my way through, and sharing the results with you.
Whidbey Island, 1999. Y2K days, and I was married to a man named Halim, who was a programmer for Microsoft for years. He knew a thing or two about what the ramifications might be if things went south.
Whidbey Island was a long skinny island that ran roughly north/south, and was clearly divided into three demographics (please forgive the momentary slide into un-woke generalizations): in the north, you had the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station — the military. In the middle portion of the island, you had your fundamentalist Christians. And in the southern part (Langley and Clinton, WA), you had your crystal-gazing, vegan, save-the-whales liberals. I remember a freelance website designer saying he was really tired of working for people who, when they couldn’t afford to pay him, would offer to balance his chakras as an alternative.
Halim and I moved to the southern part of Whidbey Island at the end of 1998, because we had very dear friends there, and that’s where we wanted to be if things went dark.
As we were weighing whether to move or not, the definitive Yes came when, during a weekend visit to Langley, we went to a movie at the Clyde on Main Street. We were in our seats, and the previews had finished. Just before the feature started, the lights went up and the owner of the theatre came out.
“Welcome to the Clyde,” he said, then yada yada…about no smoking and keep your feet off the seats in front of you, etc. And then he said, “I think we have a birthday girl here. Sarah? Are you here?” A blushing 15-year-old raised her hand, and her gang cheered around her. The owner started…