Friday, August 19, 2005

I posted the following on Angie's blog, after she described the sad scene of an abandoned espresso maker hoping for a good home. Angie, sweetheart that she is, suggested that it would make a good post by itself.

The image of the espresso machine is just perfect. An epitaph, or--what's the word? I want to say codicil, but I know that's not right, so I'll stick with epitaph--for the Seattle I fell in love with, the stereotypical Seattle, home of the twin vices of coffee and heroin, where the people, forced inside by rain, produced highly personal and idisyncratic works of art, music, theater, comics, works that offered a profound glimpse into the minds that spawned them, so individual, so much the product of their time and place, that they blew my little air-force-town, white trash mind, and the mere possession of them would lead to hours-long screaming matches with my dad about the course of my life.

The first time I went to Seattle by myself was on a rainy sunday when I was 16. Like any newly-minted driver, I was feeling my oats, and wanted to sally forth to Pike Place Market, home of that huge comic shop I'd briefly visited when I'd been there with my parents (who just wanted to see the guys throw the fish, then take the ferry to Bremerton and drive home). I wanted to get the "true" experience of this exotic place hinted at in the copies of the Rocket that would occasionally turn up at the Brass Ear. It took an hour to get up there at the Grem's top speed of 60, followed by another hour of making random turns up and down the unfamiliar streets until, quite by accident, I spotted the big red PIKE PLACE MARKET sign feebly shining through the fog. I wasn't there yet, though; first was an interminable wait at a traffic light, watching a strangely-dressed, slow-moving dwarf cross the street, limping on his malformed legs and staring through the windshield at me with a strangely predatory look.

Hey, you know what? You remember I said it was a rainy sunday?

Yeah, back then, Pike Place Market wasn't open on sundays.

By then, craving some sort of touchstone, I stopped to eat at a Burger King by the Market (now long-gone), where I sat in a corner booth, in mortal terror of the guy at the next table, who appeared to be arguing in tongues with a phantom antagonist, or perhaps with his own tongue, which at one point looked like it was trying to leap out of his mouth and escape before he could clamp his mouth shut again.

How can you not love a place like that?

*sigh* I wonder if someone gave the espresso maker a good home, so it can live up its raison d'etre of providing the waterlogged and depressed Seattlites with Foamy Double Half-Caf Nonfat Caps while they work on their zine?

Since I posted this, I've been thinking a lot about similar experiences, not necessarily Seattle-based, more about times I've sought out experiences outside my norm, when I've wanted to go to unfamiliar and scary places, either geographically, mentally, or emotionally. There may be more to come

That is a good post.

Angie was right

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