Seattle’s construction boom continues at a frenzied pace.

All you have to do is look up at all the cranes, and you can see why Seattle is considered the Crane Capital of the United States. Again. Two years in a row in fact.

And for one Seattle man, that distinction is bittersweet.

On the one hand, Richard Peterson considers the building boom “progress” as he puts it. And he loves progress. On the other hand, the 69-year-old street musician is concerned about the possibility of another rent increase on his Capitol Hill studio apartment.

“It could happen,” he said almost in tears. “I’d hate to leave Seattle.”

He knows he has a good deal with his $995 a month studio.

“Apartment rent only go up in one direction. And that’s up,” Peterson said.

In general, Peterson loves things that go up. The taller the building, the better. The savant is obsessed with buildings and the stories on buildings. He could go to any construction site in downtown Seattle and tell you how big the building will be.

I know because I did just that. I took him around and asked him, “How tall is this going to be?”

Response: “41 stories. 28 stories. 16 stories.”

He’s never wrong.

His obsession with buildings carries over to his obsession with his so-called “personalities.” I happen to be one of them. You see, his brain likes to keep track of things. Like those new buildings in Seattle he keeps track of, Peterson keeps track of ALL my visits.

I represent a building in his mind. And my building gets taller, by one story, every time I visit him.

In the 13 years I’ve known him, my building has gone from one story to 160 stories. One hundred sixty is one short of Johnny Mathis’ imaginary building. That’s how many times Peterson has seen Mathis.

So this is my long way of saying this is why I chose Peterson to include in my story about stories, my story about the building boom in Seattle. No better person to talk to than Peterson.

Sharify: “Why do you like adding stories to my building?”

Peterson: “I like adding stories to my personality buildings.”

Sharify: “Because?”

Peterson: “Because I like skyscrapers.”