Late last night, after a long day of work on Cyndere’s Midnight, the sequel to Auralia’s Colors, I wearily wandered over to the three-dollar-a-ticket discount theater several blocks from my house and caught the 9:30 show of Away from Her. Which was wonderful for many reasons… more on that some day soon.

But what I really want to tell you about is this: one of those “I Love Seattle” moments.

I got in the long line of folks who were heading in for the late shows. The Crest is a cheap-o theater, with bad seats (including some old airplane seats to replace those theater seats that were too shoddy for anybody). But it gets GREAT movies after their initial arthouse run. So I have to say, I was startled to discover that the people in line in front of me were Bill and Melinda Gates.

Yep.

They bought tickets for The Wind That Shakes the Barley. And I almost did too, just to try to sit next to them. But I was so happy to see them out on such a bargain date that I decided I shouldn’t interrupt them.

And what makes this all the more memorable is that I’ve encountered them once before.

Several years ago, late on a rainy night after a rock concert, my friends and I realized we were famished. So we pulled into the famous Dick’s burger joint in Seattle’s University district. While I was waiting for my burger at the window (it’s one of those walk-right-up-to the-service-window places), a car pulled in, a man got out and ran up to the window next to mine. He smiled, the crew behind the window smiled, and they handed him the bags of burgers he must have ordered ahead of time.

It was Bill Gates. And Melinda was at the wheel of the car.

I love this town. And I gotta say, those two encounters have made me rather fond of the Gates. Good, enthusiastic Seattlites who appreciate reasonable prices.

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