After spending five days visiting my grandparents in the retirement district of Florida-an area which I can definitively say is, out of all the locales in this world where I have spent even a single entire day, the least appealing in virtually every way-I find myself gradually approaching the tail end of a six day long visit to some friends from my years as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey who have since graduation moved out to Seattle.
Here is a selection of brief notes on Seattle jotted down in my pocket notebook as I wandered around the city for a couple of days.
Flight to Seattle.
British stewardess, maybe 50 years old & doughty, shortish red curly hair and thick, thick black glasses-to young woman sitting in starboard aisle seat. “Are you with them?” She is referring to the two persons sitting between the aisle seat and the window. “No,” is the reply. “Well then, why not sit over there?” says the stewardess referring to the entirely empty port-side half of the row. “Why look like a sardine when you can swim upstream like a salmon?”
In front of the Space Needle, homeless man in blue sweatshirt is silently gesturing to all passing vehicles that he will crush their bones, rend their fles, and devour them-in the “fee fi fo fum” style of the Jack and the Beanstalk giant.
Distressingly, the Science Fiction Museum is located down the street from the Space Needle, instead of inside of it, which I consider to be the obviously fitting location. In protest of this reckless and selfish offence against common sense, I enter neither of them.
Later in the day, somewhere in the downtown area not far from Pioneer Square, a girl (moderately hipster looking, ginormous sunglasses) waiting behind me in line to order at a Starbucks is shocked that “Tall” size is in fact rather short. She is from Alabama, were they do not have Starbucks. She promised her friends she would boycott it after moving to Seattle, but it’s right on her way to work.
Much like the apocryphal German spy unmasked in WW2-era Britain due to his habit of looking the wrong way before crossing the street, my most obvious “tell” as an out-of-towner in Seattle is easily my uncertain approach to traffic crossing. Never have I seen such a combination of pedestrians uniformly waiting for traffic lights and drivers uniformly yielding to pedestrians without pause. How is a New Jerseyan to react?
Back in high school I was friends with this girl who hated the taste of coffee, but thought she should be a coffee drinker for image purposes. To wean herself onto the vile drink, she drank mocha (coffee mixed with hot chocolate), gradually increasing the coffee to chocolate ratio. After I finished high school we lost tough and the last I heard she was a heroin addict living somewhere on the west coast.
As I write this, I am drinking hot chocolate. Not mixed with coffee. I hate the stuff. This is not a good town to be anti-coffee.