Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Drama of a Change Agent (rewrite)

You have no idea how important my job is. I am a “change agent” of major progress and growth in Seattle. It’s an amazingly complex and significant responsibility. It’s awe-inspiring (and a bit over-whelming at times) when I realize change couldn’t happen without me. The burden I feel is incredible, but I’m proud to bear this enormous and vital role. I stand straight and tall, without waiver and without any of the stress I carry showing on my face. Everyday, I am here, never missing a beat, sturdy, the bearer of good news. I am the “Proposed Land Use Action” sign.

I am done just right, in classic white background with clear bold black letters. Did you know that there’s going to be two (count them – TWO) 32 story buildings going in right behind me? “640 residential units. 34,200 square feet of retail. parking for 1,063 vehicles. Existing structure to be demolished.” Everything you need to know is right here, clearly displayed on me. “Comment period ends 7/26/06, but may be extended to 8/9/06. Master Use Project #3004231. Applicant Terry McCain, phone #425-462-6400”. It’s all here, addresses, diagrams, the whole works, very tasteful and understated, as it should be. I am a classic sign and I wear that label proudly.

Not like those pink signs across the way. My goodness, the bright colors and flashing neon just wears on the senses. Elephants no less! Advertising something as trivial as a car wash! With the colors and shapes – neither of the signs are even rectangles. The smaller pink elephant always stays facing the same way, which at least shows some small amount of good taste, even though it’s always flashing, blue and white and pink, day and night. The larger elephant! Well, it’s just a tasteless wonder. It doesn’t even have the good sense to stay still. No, it rotates and shows me all sides of itself. Constantly moving, sometimes I see the narrow ends, like it almost disappears. Then I see the other side, like this is important. Tell me something that I don’t already know.

Backs of signs are not meant to be seen. My goodness, my back side is very classic. No paint, no frou-frou, just plain wooden back, with a stripe of black letters – CANADA and LTD. It still has the bar-coded sticker giving my size. I’m still a 4’ x 7’ and don’t I look fine? It takes effort and self-control to remain in this good of shape at my age, you know.
There are several One Way signs, classic black and white, with arrows pointing all different directions. One small One Way sign has been jostled and bumped out of place and now the arrow points slightly to the ground. How sad. How sad to be uncared for and left to have your pointer a bit off.

I watch other schizophrenic signs and I’m a little concerned. Are they dangerous? Are they well? They are always changing color, back and forth, between white and orange. And the orange sometimes blinks and sometimes is steady. Then they swap again and become white creatures. The creatures sort of remind me of the human beings that go by, but the shape isn’t right. In the sign, the creatures have both arms down. All the human beings I see have one arm up to their ear and they are always talking. It seems odd, but they all do it.

There’s a parking lot behind me, the Tetro ZinZanni place. It’s been empty for the longest while. There’s red-haired lady with bright pink hat and dress nearby, her words stating “Tetro ZinZanni Dinner and Dreams”. She and I have become acquaintances over time. She’s too intense on her color choices, but one can’t choose one’s neighbors. I don’t know if she realizes “the existing structure to be demolished” means her. I’m sure she can’t see the front of me to read her fate, and I’m certainly not going to tell her. Life is hard enough when you are buffeted in the wind and rain, baked in the sun, and alone in the dark, which us signs always are.

I’ve been here quite a while, and lately the parking lot behind me has picked up activity level. Now trucks are coming and going. Wires and boards and chain-link fence pieces are arriving. Tractors and bull-dozers sit on trailers, big wheels just sitting. Once the trucks and such started showing up, a few more human beings were dropping by and studying the diagrams I hold, ever dependable and ready with information.

Hmm, this is odd. I don’t understand. There are a couple of human beings coming up behind me, with large hammers and crow bars. I wonder what they’re for? Human beings are such an odd species, always going somewhere, doing something, carrying stuff. Never standing still and taking in all that’s around them. I can’t imagine a life so full of movement and action. They’re headed my way. I wonderful if they’ll stop by and admire my shape and words. I’ll stretch and stand up a bit extra straight just in case…. What? They stopped behind me. Very rarely does any one stop behind me and I find it unsettling when they do. I remember once, this curly headed human being stood there with her tablet, writing down notes like crazy, but that was a long time ago, until these two showed up now. What are they doing? They are swinging their hammers and pounding on me! What the heck!? I don’t understand! Hey, wait! What’s going on!? Don’t you want t…..

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