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Overheard conversations in summertime Seattle.
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Enjoying the placid view of Puget Sound and downtown Seattle from a ferry. (Chuck Taylor)

Overheard conversations in summertime Seattle.

Funny how people talk about how the urban experience puts you in touch with people, but sometimes, everyone on the bus or street has their ears attached to and iPod or cellphone, engaging with a reality far from where they are. But if you unplug, you can hear some entertaining stuff. These conversations from last week have been edited and shortened from memory, but they capture the gist of what was said.

Happy daze

A group of four or five riders on a downtown Metro Bus:

"Who was the guy on Andy Griffith who used to put himself in jail?"

"The town drunk."

"Yea, that guy."

"Opie. Opie and Andy."

"No, not Opie, that's the kid."


"No, that's the kid the kid played on the other show."


"Barney Fife."

"That's the deputy."

"It started with a 'B.'"

"Aunt Bee!"

"Yeah, she was an alcoholic."

"She was the only one that wasn't on that 10-year reunion show."

Silence while everyone tries to think of the name of the town drunk. Then:


"Yes, yes, Odo!"

"No, it was Otis. Otis."

"Yes, good ol' Otis."

Blind leading the blind

In the auto line at Colman Dock waiting for the Bainbridge ferry, an apparent newcomer to Seattle answers the questions of a visitor:

"So, is there a ferry to that other island, Vah-shun, however you pronounce it?"

"There's a passenger ferry."

Surprised. "No car ferry?"

"No, I think it's just passenger. It's a very small island."

"Yeah, but don't they need cars?"

"The island, it's like only one-mile square. Why would they need cars?"

"Does Puget Sound freeze over in the winter? What do the ferries do then?"

"It doesn't freeze. The water never gets that cold."

"How do the car commuters know they'll get on a particular ferry? How can you commute on a schedule?

Looking around at all the cars. "I don't know."

"Maybe they can make reservations."

Pause. Ferry comes in.

"Do they have a crew, a captain at each end of the boat, or does the same crew switch ends?"

"I don't know."

"I think the boat is big enough they might have two crews up there."


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.