BP Energy Center western door- Anchorage AK
September 2016; (61°11’23″N 149°51’49″W)
Background: The BP Energy Center is super cool because it is free for educational or charitable or nonpartisan or some-other-things organizations and I am down with facilitating the public good. I accessed the building as it hosted a writer’s conference, but one of the mornings, I (and several others) showed up a few minutes early, not realizing the building would open no earlier than 8:00 on the nose. And so we waited.
Tastes- Cold water from my water bottle; the last bits of a granola bar stuck between my teeth (maybe bits of quinoa or almond?);
Smells- Green smells, trees, underbrush, dirt, all wet with recent rain; wet stone; the unfamiliar smell of the deodorant I almost never wear but I’m wearing now because conferences make me nervous and I don’t want to be all sweaty in front of the literary pundits; a faint ‘city’ smell that isn’t really pollution (maybe wet concrete or asphalt or cars or something, I can’t really pin it down);
Feels- Humid chill; the air is heavy with cold rain and the chill seeps through my thin jacket and leggings; it was raining about a half hour before, and will rain again before the clouds break; my feet ache a little, unused to the high heels I’m now being forced to stand around in, but the insides of the boots are soft and warm; my jacket (second hand, somewhat stylish but not quite a good fit) is too tight in the shoulders, and the cuff brushes my arm below the wrist instead my hands; the seam of the leggings between my thighs is a little itchy, but probably just from nerves; slight hunger; impatience to get inside where it’s warm and there’s food, but the desk lady is doing a really good job of not making eye contact with any of us; my arms are wrapped tightly around my chest, fingers pressed flat against my ribs;
Sounds- chit chat and laughter between myself and the other writers, talking about writing projects and cover design and when the door’s going to open and when the storm’s going to break; shoes of more conference attendees walking down the damp stone path; a very faint electric buzz that seems to come from the lights lining the walkway; the rev and rush of the highway on the other side of the trees; the nearer sounds of cars in the parking lot to the west muffled by the trees (cars pulling in, doors slamming, etc);
Sights- pale blue, dim light of a cloudy early morning twilight just before dawn; shadowy from the building and the copse of trees surrounding it, but diffuse from the clouds; the building itself is angular and modern, with grey panels and large windows, and a glass door; the trees and slender and young aspen, clear of underbrush and carpeted with last year’s leaves, brown and wet; a faux stone walkway leads from the building away through the trees toward the parking lot; the stone walkway goes in a small bridge with hip-high walls over a smooth walking path blanketed in leaves; the stone walkway is lined with hip-high rectangular prism gray (matching building) lamp posts emitting orange light; similar style square orange lights just out on either side of the door, just higher than the lintel; assorted writers types are milling along the walkway in front of the door, with varying shades of impatience (a woman with a scarf and curly salt-and-pepper hair and thick glasses; a heavy set older man in a plaid button-down and a leather bomber jacket with a briefcase; a pair of women, one forties, one teens, hanging back from the others, talking only to each other in whispers; a man with a bald top and a mustache laughing with a very short heavy woman in red with short cropped black hair;)