A group of us were sitting in Caffe Umbria, off Occidental mall in Pioneer Square on Friday afternoon. Suddenly a very large, very red, very shiny fire truck pulls into the brick-paved mall, which bans autos and is one of the finest pedestrian streets in the city. It slows to a stop. Four firefighters emerge slowly from the cab. We wonder if there's a fire or what?
The men amble into the cafe and get in line to order (and pay for) their drinks and snacks. They stroll out to the sidewalk chairs and seat themselves, basking in the perfect weather. Time passes. It's a mellow Seattle moment.
Curious, I ask one of the seated firefighters why they felt the need to park their huge, glinting truck right there in front of the cafe. "It's hard to find a place to park it on the street," he answers, sensibly enough. I ask what station they are from, and he answers the one right around the corner on S. Main and Second Ave. S. And why not park it there? I inquire.
"Well," comes the reply, "this way if we get a call we don't have to run back to the station."
Very Seattle. Coffee comes first.