Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring Break Day 2: Transit, the Opiate of the Masses

           If you haven’t read about the first part of my trip here, I highly suggest you do so. It’s quite literally the first part of this… well… trip. So, that’s important.
            Moving on. I woke up around 9:00 o’clock Iowa time which translates to a handy 7:00 Seattle time. That, if you don’t know, conflicts heavily with the 1:00 AM posting time of the previous entry. I laid in bed for a bit, denying that I had woken up, but eventually I had to conclude that what was done, was done. I got up and opened my computer to find that Seattle had a St. Patrick’s Day parade, beginning at 9:30 AM. I waited patiently for Pat to wake up.
            Then I continued waiting.
            Eventually, I was tired of waiting, and went to go get doughnuts at the local gas station, because that’s real Seattle cuisine. Unfortunately, by the time I got back, some sort of 5k was done and the festivities had ceased to my knowledge. Pat was awake, and we made plans for the day. By “we made plans” I mean we casually walked in a certain direction, hoping to find one thing or another to catch our fancy.
            Downtown was the general destination, and with Pike Place Market waiting for us, we hopped to to casually stroll down the ten blocks or so to the water front. Let me tell you, person, that Seattle is weird in a good way. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to the odd laser sounds coming from the street lights above you, telling you that the walk signal has turned on. You stop looking for it, and when you see everyone else walking past you on the corner, you become mad at a thing you didn’t know existed twelve hours earlier. Truth be told, I thought it was a sparrow singing on top of a nearby building for three blocks before I connected the dots in my head. I’m not great with patterns.
            Pike Place is hecka sweet. If you like small businesses and handmade crafts, prepare to have those preferences fulfilled. I bought a jar of jam. I don’t even like jam. But it had my name on it, so of course I need to spread that pomegranate goodness all over. I bought more, but ya’ll don’t need to hear about that except to know that nobody was tossin’ fish around. I felt cheated. The flight of the haliburton, which may be a fish or an oil company, I’m not checking, was cut short when nobody wanted some seafood delivered right quick. I would have ordered some myself, but seeing as my hotel has not even a microwave, I held back.
            There are so many people in that market. People that get out of your way, people that don’t. I’m not a big fan of the latter, as many could probably tell by my disappointed head shaking. Shoulders and elbows bump like so many ghetto beats, and shop owners are constantly disappointed as customers like me come up and leave again when a certain product is not to their liking. Flowers abound across one wall and sea food the other, with occasional belt and t-shirt shops to each side. Look, if you want to visit Pike Place (which I keep calling Pike’s Peak (THANKS Pierce Brosnan)) then you should visit it. I’m not going to sway you one way or the other.
            Until I tell you about the beer I had looking out onto the bay. It was a cold, frosty glass with my main man Pat, and we had entered an Athenian seafood place, because screw chain restaurants when you’ve got so many local places to eat, right? Well, usually right, until that local place charges $13 a plate for basically any meal. We were hesitant to just cop out and leave, so we ordered a beer and sat looking out the window. The view, you guys.
            THE VIEW.
            Beneath us was the bay that Seattle surrounds, and in the distance I could see the mountains between us and Canada. While I was drinking a beer from a menu of many I’d never see again in my life, I sipped, and I gawked, and I loved.
            I’ve figured out Seattle’s great triumph to being an awesome city: It truly does not give any shits at all. Go uptown, whatever, I don’t care. Stay here, same to me. I’ma do me, and I am Seattle.
"Oh, you don't care for this, it's more of a Tacoma idea."
            Public transportation is a lifesaver, though. Busses are hard to figure out, as our trip to the University of Washington campus (kinda) shows. Two transfers for a total of four miles makes for some hectic transfer and holding-pee-in action. But in Seattle, there’s this monorail. It goes from the Space Needle, which I can see from my bed in my hotel, to the smack dab of downtown. It. Is. Amazing. The World’s Fair certainly knew what they were doing when they built a two stop, one track mass transit system. Hell, it put Ogdenville and North Haverbrook on the map, why would Seattle be any different? Best of all, the ride was two minutes to the half hour we had spent in the morning walking to Seattle. It was clean. It was quiet. It was totes the West Coast system.
            I’m going to call it: West coast? Best coast.
            Sorry that this entry isn’t as poetic or stupidly dense as my last one, but there were no planes to put me in that “I’m going to reference the Great Gatsby” mood.
            In other news, I discovered my secret talent: Finding local, small bars to hang out in. One bar had the slogan of  “Alcoholics Serving Alcoholics Since 1929” and you know I hangs with that stuff. It’s a new front-runner in the bars-I’m-going-to-hang-out-in-when-I’m-older tournament.
            Look, I hate to scare you away, Beantown, but I could see this relationship lasting a long while. I might even move in with you. Yeah, yeah, we’ve only known each other one full day, but that day was magical. I normally don’t get excited about this type of stuff, but Seattle really makes me smile at the concept of the entire city. Big hills leading down to a waterfront where local merchants peddle giant belt buckles that no one in their right mind would wear, a university bar that has free pool on Sundays and is willing to extend that to darts as well, and a bus line that is totally cool with tourists saying “Um, uh, let me get my change out here,” are all the things I look for in a city. Well, they are now.
            Seattle, you are my first puppy love. Please get the Super Sonics back so I can quote more Ice Cube.
Honestly, I think it was more coincidental than ironic
that she brought the booze and you the chronic.
            In short, today was a good day. 

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