Racing the S.L.U.T.


My battle to best the machine starts with breakfast. Figured some high-protein, extra-organic Kashi cereal (eaten with soy milk of course), should do the trick. Belly full and lucky socks on, I set out to race the South Lake Union Trolley.

First challenge was finding the damn thing. The persistent drizzle on this very typical December Seattle morning severely hindered my SLUT sniffing skills. I padded anxiously between Westlake and Terry avenues trying to get a glimpse of one of the crayon-colored cars. Was wondering whether the red one is the fastest when the purple trolley came around the corner. It stopped at the "Group Health" station on Terry and Thomas. Game on.

Figured I'd first try speed walking next to it. Sure it tops out at 20 miles per hour, but I had rush-hour traffic and red lights on my side. I gave a nod to the driver and the SLUT took off, promptly leaving me in the dust. But I persisted and caught up to the trolley after a few blocks. "How do you like that, you Czech-made pile of tin!" I sneered.

Green light and we're off again, but this time as the SLUT reached Lake Union and took a right on Fairview Avenue she started to cruise and pretty soon all I could see were those mocking red tail lights.

SLUT 1, Curl 0.

Fair enough. My shins burning from the awkward motion of rapid walking, I cut my losses and prepared for the main event.


"OK SLUT, show me what you've really got," I chided as she switched directions for the return trip. I did a few quick calisthenics and comforted myself with my running cred: Hood to Coast relay, Cherry Blossom 10-miler, Bay to Breakers. A mere 1.3 miles to Westlake Center? Walk in the park. This kid runs 7:30-minute miles.

Was pondering whether I'd have time for a coffee break when the SLUT came back-- and she wasn't messing around. The purple car glided past me (and this other kid who was trying to get on) and headed for the southern tip of Lake Union.

I set off at a good clip, weighed down by my rain coat (sans umbrella native Seattle!) and camera I'd been handing to unsuspecting passers by to help me record the effort. I kept within a block of the transit toy and even pulled ahead while she stopped at the corner of Fairview and Westlake, but it was all over when the SLUT headed up the homestretch.

She passed me with a patronizing "ding" "ding" and didn't look back. I picked up the pace, but couldn't buy a red light. And as anyone who's hoofed it up Westlake can attest, it ain't flat. By the time I reached the station on Westlake and 7th Ave., the SLUT was smirking at the end of the line-- about three blocks away. And she wasn't the only one that was purple.

Bested by the machine I did the only thing I could: hopped aboard for the free ride back. Next time SLUT, next time.


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