Seattle’s Space Needle: Thoughts on Torture, Weather and the Behavior of Small Children

I don’t really know how long I waited on line for Seattle’s Space Needle. I didn’t check the time when I got there, and since the line curves around the base of the tower to the elevators, it’s hard to judge what, exactly, you’re in for.

It was long enough to note that one of the group of young men in front of me was wearing a shirt that said “I-Heart-Waterboarding”, and that some of the small children in the family waiting behind me had a lot to learn about personal space.

It was long enough to see a short black and white video of the construction of the Needle for the World’s Fair in 1962, playing on monitors mounted to the ceiling, roughly five times. (You, too, can see snippets of this video, from the comfort of your computer.)

The size of the crowd was owing to the weather: the first truly warm and sunny Saturday that the city had seen this summer. I learned this mostly in the form of complaints about what a rough long spring it had been here– gray, gelid, gloomy.  It had been hard for me to work up much sympathy for this predicament, given that I’d left New York City in the grips of a 100 plus degree heat wave, and had been reacquainting myself with the pleasures of taking deep non-lung scorching breaths, and given that the weather had turned delightful the moment I was wheels down — you’re welcome, people of the Pacific Northwest!

But now I realized that the people taking advantage of the glorious day were greatly contributing to the length of my stay in the line.

The child waiting behind me bumped into my butt again. I found myself reconsidering my anti-waterboarding position.

Needle, schmeedle, I was ready to bail.

Yet there is a certain inertia, or maybe it’s grim determination, or is it resignation, once you’ve put in some time on a line for a tourist attraction. I stuck it out. And, once I finally got to the top and got to take in this view, I was glad I did.


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