I really do love it on the roof.
Late in the day, when the sun has lost it’s ability to burn you, but not to blind you. Or maybe I just spend too much time inside, because it take me forever to adjust my eyes and stop squinting, even in the shade.
Maybe the sunlight doesn’t really make it to the street. I seldom need sunglasses, and have never squinted down there.
The sound certainly tries to make it up to the roof. My family who’ve never been here would recognize the sirens from the firehouse around the corner. But up there, they’re just sirens; without the physical force to knock you off your feet, that they have at street-level. Other than them, and an occasional Harley, nothing else makes itself heard on the roof. There is only a steady, low-level hum that is the city. A half million inmates. Another quarter million tourists on an average weekend. Three-hundred-thousand cars. Air-conditioning in every northwest home. Giant city buses dissecting the neighborhoods, disgorging people someplace they obviously didn’t come from.
Down here in my apartment, I can hear someone’s brakes scraping. I can discern the rhythm of an ancient muffler. Pixel’s collar is jingling about 5 feet behind me.
Up on the roof, I just realized, is they only place where there is a big sky. Every time I go to Texas, or I sit on the Seneca Lake shoreline in New York, I marvel at the big sky. I miss it, and haven’t seen it regularly since the summer of ’96. But up on the roof, all the building do their best imitation of a photograph of some European city. There’s an actual horizon, and not just a rise in the street.
I think if I sat up there too long, they would have to drag me back to my apartment, kicking and biting.