I Visited Seattle Once When I Still Lived on the East Coast

It was a little more than year ago when I visited Seattle my friend Dan with the idea that I would write an article about it. The article didn’t get published. I decided to edit and post it, with added commentary from an older, wiser self currently residing in Seattle. It’s like I’m reviewing myself!

The Friends You Already Have at Home [Hah!]. (Or, Wasted in Seattle.) [accurate]

What would make someone want to leave our fair city of Philadelphia? For me, it was soon to be college graduate anxiety. What will I do? I would pick a place where I knew at least one person. And I do know a person—in Seattle.  I went with my friend Dan.

Dan and I figured that if nothing else, we were going to get wasted—at least we hoped we would. Well, we did that. According to my calculations, we were sober for about ten hours of the six days. I’ve pieced together a guide to Seattle. It is split into sections.

[I think that I sound pretty lame in the above paragraphs. I think the above needs something called a “lead”. I learned that by wiki-ing “journalism style”. What happened here is that I expected an interesting narrative to pop out at me after looking through notes. Then I started transcribing the notes and said “fuck it”. This is a common problem for me. This is why I gravitate towards certain schools of contemporary poetry. This is why I’ve written < 2 somewhat successful prose pieces. ]

Getting Around

Seattleites are friendly [more like polite ] but they don’t seem to have any sense of direction [OMG so true]. Or at least the ones I asked for directions on my first night in the city. If you can at least figure out which bus to take, the driver will help you out. You’ve got no choice but the bus, since there’s no subway. Word is that they’re putting together an integrated light-rail system [this has since happened and it stops nowhere I want to be. Actually it might run up Capitol Hill which would be sorta sweet], whatever that means, sometime in the future. Be ready to get really fucking lost. Dan and I spent two hours trying to get to Capitol Hill (I think) to get to the first bar of our gay barhopping night (don’t ask)[I won’t tell; it’s really really really funny seeing places we visited on our lost ramble, now knowing where they lie in relation to the Hill]. Apparently “go up the hill” and “go down the hill”” do not work for finding your way in Seattle [This actually does work for certain hills].

Getting Going

We went to the Space Needle. We went about as far as a block away; it was raining so we were like, “ok we saw it, let’s have a beer”. I made a point to visit the central library. It’s huge, magnificent [that library scares the shit out of me. I do not think it was made for humans], and will probably make you very sad that here in Philadelphia the trend is to close libraries. [what am I, five?]

Golden Gardens is a long bus trip (from the Central District) and walk down a steep wooded path to a beach on Puget Sound [I visited this again with my family when they came out. Did not disappoint. I also had no clue that we had crossed water and ended up in Ballard]. People were burning old Christmas trees in a fire pit on the beach.

Pike Place Market is surprisingly not a waste of time [still true]. I wanted to do a number two but when I found the toilet it was smeared in number two so I decided I could hold it.

We visited what our guides call “Johnny Cash” beach. It’s not really called that, and I don’t know what body of water it faces [the name of the beach is Howell beach; it is a clothing-optional beach. This beach was better during the summer; I think it’s on lake Union]. On the way back, we stalked around what our hosts told us was Kurt Cobain’s house.

Getting Wet

It rains in Seattle [fuck yes it does]! My flight into the city was cloudy with 90 percent chance of waiting half an hour for the bus with all my shit that got soaked in between the airplane and the airport [holy shit did I actually write that]. And then it rained more, flooding I-5 and cutting Seattle off from Olympia and Portland. Even native Seattleites [still unclear on this] commented (maybe for our benefit) that it was rainier than usual [Seattle is apparently on average rainier than it was in the last century or something like that. The municipal street drains can’t handle it. My basement can’t handle it. It blows]. The weather held out the rest of the week—we even saw sky! But only when dark out.

Getting Friends

Comparing Seattle to Philly, Greyson told me that Seattle people are more open; friendlier [HA; cf. Tao Lin, “Seattle Lies“]. On the other hand, she sees Seattleites as more similar to Philadelphians than Portlanders(?) [seems like Portlanders are the best.] or Olympians. Dan said that he liked hanging out with kids who had “a similar mindset”; that it was like hanging out with friends he already had. I think it was a bit like if a better dressed West Philly completely shut down and collectively decided to have drunken sledding party in response to snowed out roads (this actually happened the week before we arrived) [this is far from true. This may be a result of observer effect or whatever. The week we were in Seattle was an exception in terms of people’s friskiness and general willingness to ‘rage’]. Where else would a night at the bar turn into an arm wrestling tournament? where Dan comes out as champion? [I wish I still had the pictures]

Getting Rid of Cash

We went to three record stores.

Getting Food

You can get meal for ten or less easy. That’s before beer [and 10% sales tax]. This is where we went: Glo’s Café, Pagliacci (pizza and draft beer!), 5 point (diner and beer!), some random spot in Golden Gardens, Meskel (Ethiopian), which happened to be down the Street from Greyson’s house. Ballet (Vietnamese) marked the end of an all-day collective hangover on Saturday [I ended up visiting Ballet again after walking it off from Belltown. Seems like this place was made for me.]. You can get beer at most restaurants here [DUH]. Bill’s off Broadway was the jumping off point for the night that ended in the all Saturday hangover. All of these places, excepting Meskel and 5 point [and the spot on Golden Gardens], are on Capitol Hill [actually, Pagliacchi was in the U-District].

[Funny story. Looking for a place to eat or drink Dan and I passed this place called “The Comet Tavern”. We peeked in but decided that we would get our asses beat if we went into that bar. I don’t know why we thought this.]

The Twilight Exit [since moved to 26th and Cherry], was our first stop after waiting for Dan to Greyson’s house. Nothing helps you beat jet lag like a frosty can of Olympia beer. Or seven. [wow. I should write for AAA, or maybe for Vice when their target audience hits 45]

Getting Your Face Melted

We went to a show in Beacon Hill [at Monstersorri] and saw Filth Mattress, members of which we had been getting drunk with for the past week. Pipsqueek opened; they were a folk-punk thing with acoustic guitar and cello/violin [wait. I fucking hate ________-punk.]; they’re from Olympia; they barely got there thanks to the flooding. I bought Grass Widow’s CD, because they are awesome [feel ahead on the curve on this one. Wish I could get ‘mad cred’ for this]. I fall in love with girl bands. I don’t remember the name of the last band.

Getting PARTY

One of my favorite surprises was going out for pizza and realizing that they had beer on tap—good, cheap beer on tap [why italics? I can’t believe how blown away I was, but you know what? I was. However, I have since learned that Washington has the most insane liquor laws in the nation. Fuck. Seattle is a city where the bars call closing time at quarter after one and are shoving you our the door at half past.] What the fuck Philadelphia? There seems to be no minimum for using your credit card [except for the Cha Cha], which is awesome. You can get wine and beer at gas stations (I know you can do this just about anywhere that isn’t PA/Philly), and our hosts were shocked to hear that we couldn’t do the same here in Philly. What the fuck Philadelphia? Oh, and beer’s cheaper, consistently five bucks for a sixer of the PBR-line [depending on neighborhood]. $9-11 for a  six-pack of nicer beer at 7-11 [No malt liquor. Looking back, I feel like this lack of easily accessible malt liquor may have significantly improved my life].

There were several pictures; all of which were lost in the great ibook meltdown 0f 2009, which I will interpret with words from memory:

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2009.01.08

4561 Yes, I watch Dan while he sleeps.

Dan asleep

Feet uncovered

Under a plaid patterned sleeping bag

He sleeps on mattress cushions

They have been removed and laid out on the floor

In the foreground there is a coffee table, surface unseen

4562 Dan wakes up, realizes I watch him while he sleeps.

He looks somewhat confused and maybe violated

He is still wearing his hat

4570 Greyson waits for Ezra and John to get homebrew stuff.

She hangs out of the open door of an econovan in black pants and beanie

She is stick thin

4571 Dan and Greyson wait in the van while I take shitty photos.

Outside is washed out and gray

4576 Waiting for the bus. The last one passed us without stopping!

Outside is washed out wet and gray

4586 This library is huge.

Large concrete wall

Microsoft auditorium

4601 Ok we saw it let’s go drink.

Space Needle is boring

4602 Ok we saw it let’s go drink.

Space Needle is still boring

4604 Miniburgers and ‘tots at 5 Point.

Recently, a friend of mine appeared in the Stranger

He was at the 5 Point anniversary

Mouth full of fries

2009.01.09

4626 Dan picked some tunes but I don’t think they ever got played

This is a jukebox

This is a jukebox

Twilight I miss the pool table

Ping Pong is cool I guess

4633 Dan versus Ezra

He is very strong

4634 Dan’s alter-ego, “BroDan”, is winning.

He knows and smiles

Like he is strong

4635 BroDan for the win!

He knows and thus he

Is proud like

He is strong

4639 Greyson took this one. Just about sums up the night.

Flash

Finger

Thumb

Fuck!

4642 Greyson and…I forget her name.

Her name is Ren—she gave me a job

Which I lost

4643 BroDan takes on the line cook at Twilight Exit

Backwards hat

For the win

Sorry Mom

4656 The sky was always like this. Surprise!

It is overcast

4662 Mountains!

Booyah

I can see Rainier from the street intersecting with the one upon which my house lies

Rainier [not pictured]

4666 Records! (Zion’s Gate)

Yes, you can buy records

Her you can buy

2009.01.10

4691 I CAN’T HEAR YOU (80’s Night at Neighbors)

Gays jus’ wanna have fun

Sometimes I stand outside Linda’s where everyone seems very concerned with having a good time

Or appearing to have a good time but not really making the cut and

From there, outside of Linda’s

I look up at R Place and see waving arms and a disco ball

Gay people party like this (torso and hip motion)

And straight people party like this (torso and hip motion)

Pony has strobe lights in Men’s bathroom

Wish I were gay

Maybe I can try

4702 Dan is a handsome man.

Yes he is

4762 They have this here fish on a string. They use it to scare the shit out of kids at Pike Place Market.

Avoid coke laced

With Levamisole

(Deworming.)

4770 Obligatory Picture of Street Art in McJawn Article (Nike Store)

A penis or something

Seemed clever at the time

4772 How did we get so drunk last night?

Alcohol

4281 I don’t know maybe it was my sweater.

No it was not

2009.01.11

4817 Kurt Cobain’s House

It was dark out

Did y’all watch Last Days?

Love you Kim Gordon

I guess

4828 John and Delicious Soup

Satay

Vomiting water, a day!

Way on the walk up remembered a jaeger bomb

(Sorry Mom)

Pho

Than Brothers is also good

4838 Dan vomits posters before show (Beacon Hill)

A revoir scene!

2009.01.12

4820 Hang In There!

Advice to Seattle from Dan:

Do go Kurt Cobain on me

I called shotgun

Which makes you

Kurt Cobain

Too soon?

4873 Water!

Water!

4876 Water!

More Water!

4884 This is where beer comes from.

Wondering what this is a picture of

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