Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Seattle...and still a fish
Just getting to Seattle was pleasurable. It was a damp and forested symphony of sights. I was compelled to put a soundtrack to the drive, if for no other reason than to burn it into my mind. It was like an image of life going by. Even the things that appeared the same were different, like the days of monotony that pass. But, as I drove through this land for the first time, I felt the unknown future closely. The trees on the side of the road may as well have been like stars that flash by when they time warp in movies. I was moving into the future. My future. This time it was clear just how unknown it was.
But I'm still a fish. Somewhere around ten minutes north of Seattle, I saw a sign that said "coeds", I mean something something college. Why did I turn off? The lure, that's why. It get's better. I was driving down W 45th and the women were everything a guy would hope they'd be in Seattle. Quirky, tattooed, and in winter dress. I had to regroup and get my bearings for the stops I was going to make. Why not get some coffee? I stopped into a coffee shop to see what the big deal was.
While waiting in line, I started a conversation with the nearest person, as is my habit. It just happened to be a woman. I turned around, "Hey. I have an idea. Why don't you join me for coffee?" She looked kinda taken aback and uncomfortable that this big creep was doing what I was doing. I seriously shrugged it off and said, "It's cool dude. This isn't even a coffee date. It's just that I'm in Seattle and don't have any sights to take in." I gave her what I thought was my winningest smile, or smirk. Sometimes I can't tell. Whether the innuendo was lost on her or not, I may never know. But she actually responded in a somewhat agreeable manner, "Oh. Well where are you from?" Pfft. Where am I from? "Sacramento. That's in California." She kinda laughed even, "I know where Sac is." Indeed.
So I said, "Come on. It'll be fun. I promise I'm a good conversationalist for like the first half hour." I saw the wheels turning. Just to ease the tension I added, "Tell you what. I'm gonna go have a seat by that window. If you think the chair across from me needs some warming, then warm it." I then ordered my coffee. And I sat at my seat and waited. She came over.
Understand, this wasn't a dream girl. But her company was welcome. I had no visions of an afternoon delight or anything. Just a little company. I got it. Must have been the California thing. I didn't even drop the fisherman status. Can't just drop sweet seduction Jenkins without a fair warning.
After coffee, I went into the city. I could describe it as being scenic or charming or any number of things. I'm actually at a loss to adequately describe this place. For those of you who have been to San Francisco, it was like San Francisco light, but in a really moody and wooded area with snow capped mountains on the horizon. I'd been to Seattle before, but failed to notice. This place was beautiful. And I felt like I was in Seattle. I wanted to put a knitted beanie with ear flaps on and grab an acoustic guitar.
The city was landscaped with red and orange bricked structures, modern looking apartments of charcoal gray and some orange spritzed here and there with train tracks on the road and the modern office buildings of steel and glass. It was peopled with all manner of trendies. Whether they were setting the trend or following some stereotype in an infinitely circular regression I couldn't tell. And I didn't care. At lunch, the girl who took my order had bangs that looked like they were cut by Muhamed Ali, high above her eyebrows. She had a sleeveless shirt that showed off her sleeved arms. She was oblivious and cool, but as helpful as she needed to be.
While we're on the subject of my lunch, let me say that I had an illegal burger. 100% the best burger I've ever had. I mean, it's tied with around 50 other burgers that were the best I've ever had. But I've eaten thousands in my life, so this is still rarified company. I was feeling a little snooty going in, like there was no way Seattle could compete with other parts of the country when it comes to burgers. I mean, they only eat like tofu wraps and grass and stuff right? Ya, well this burger dominated Ford's. Dominated. And at ten bucks for the burger alone, it better have.
After I ate, I had to find another location or two. I didn't even mind getting lost. In high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Macadow, admitted that one of his favorite things to do was get lost in a strange city. At the time I called him a commie freak. I think I may have actually done that. But now, I can see the appeal. Just following your steps or the car and taking it in. It was a singularly enjoyable experience. I've been thinking about leaving the country and hitting an island. While I am still thinking about leaving the country and hitting an island, it also occurred to me that there is so much to see in this country. There is American culture. And I'll take it when I can get it.
BTW, when I was in this place filling out paperwork to get on a boat there were like 6 black dudes who looked like any other group of 6 black dudes. I was thinking, "Ahh. Some kindred spirits in this whitewashed town." Then the lady asked one of the dudes his name. "Muhammed alahani Mustapha Mohamed". And this in the most busted English you're ever heard. Not one person that spoke English did I see. But really, they were nice. And it's hella funny that they were loud in the office and lounging all over the furniture like Biggie Smalls or something.