YOU WERE AMAZED BY THIS Understandably. the stranger


On Memorial Day, you were seated next to us on a flight from O'Hare Airport to Sea-Tac. It was just after 6 p.m., and the sun was beginning to dip west behind the Olympic Mountains as the plane made its approach to Seattle. We were on our way home after a hot, humid, sweaty weekend in New York City. We eagerly opened the window shade so we could see the mountains, the green, the water. You had headphones in, plugged into your personal Direct TV screen. But when we opened the shade, you turned your head and looked out the window to see Mount Rainier, hazy and white, glowing and gorgeous. Your eyes grew wide and your jaw dropped open slightly. "Whoa," you said. "What is that?" Dude, we know the feeling.


There was brisk wind and sideways rain on the open faces of Mount Pilchuck over Memorial Day weekend. The rain fell twice as hard and fat beneath the firs—big drops that felt like buckets of ice water even through a raincoat. The slick boulders and the muddy river the rain had made of the trail turned what would have been an easy hike into a fun obstacle course, and the mists transformed the sweeping views of other mountains into a gray void more mysterious and mentally stimulating than the sight of other mountains. Way-finding became troublesome when the rain turned to snow, and when the trail became nothing more than other peoples' footsteps in that snow, but all was passable until, turning a corner, we saw a thin, icy ridge carved into a particularly vertiginous part of the mountainside. Not too bad, but enough to merit consideration. Maybe a 6 out of 10 on the danger scale. If we slipped, which we could do easily, we would probably die. As we were trying to decide whether or not to take that risk, you lumbered up behind us. You were a larger gentleman with long hair, holding a flimsy umbrella above your head. The umbrella hadn't helped much: You looked like a wet circus bear. And yet quietly you passed us, and, with a sure, slow step you traversed the icy ridge and stood triumphant at the high point where the trail turns off and winds farther up the mountain. "It was easy for me, but I'm wearing rubber boots," you said, before waving and continuing along your slow and silent way.


We saw you rise, shirtless, out of your sunroof and look backward over the endless traffic jam at Snoqualmie Pass as so, so many people headed east for the Friday start of Memorial Day weekend. We had already been sitting in this traffic jam for hours, and your abs and pecs were a welcome interruption. Thank you, young sir.


We saw you driving for Lyft. We were in the backseat and not feeling very well. You noticed something was not right with us and asked: "How are you feeling?" We explained we were suffering from insomnia. Not sleeping well. Up all night. That sort of thing. And you thought for a moment and said: "Have you ever tried camel milk? You can't get it in the US, but where I'm from [Somalia], we drink it all of the time because it's very good for your body. It cleans everything. All of the bad germs are gone and you feel you have control of your life. But you can only get camel milk in a few countries in the world. The US is not one of them. They will not let us import it for some reason. I miss camel milk."


We walked into Revolver Bar on a gloomy Sunday evening recently, and you—an underground hiphop producer in your 20s—were spinning Lonnie Liston Smith and the Cosmic Echoes' 1975 cut "Summer Nights." To say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. The song's ultra-blissful, classy, jazz-fusion vibes were exactly what we needed to hear right then, even though we didn't know it. It's been a few weeks since that night, and we can't stop thinking about it. You said you wanted to start a regular night devoted to old jazz tracks that local hiphop producers sample, and we hope your ambition comes to pass.


On a Tuesday morning, we saw you—a man in a woven gray fedora, sunglasses, and baggy embroidered jeans—on the corner of Rainier Avenue South and Walker Street. You were listening to music through your headphones and treating everyone on their morning commute up Rainier to your dance moves—lots of juicy hip swinging and orchestra conductor–esque arm movements. At first we thought you were passing the time waiting for a bus, but then we realized you weren't standing near any bus stop. It was only 8:30 in the morning, and the sun was already shining brightly on Seattle—and, it seemed, directly on you.