Seattle's Best (Part II)

By Glenn

When we last left this article, the Spoon concert had ended but my trip had only begun (not literally - I had been there for over 24 hours by that point). Since Keelin identifies as an Orthodox Jew in public, she had Saturday off from work. We took advantage of this the way anyone takes advantage of false Judaism: exploring downtown Seattle's water front. Full of seafood restaurants, boats and the sleeping homeless, this area is "classic" Seattle. Keelin and I ate at one of those restaurants and the only vegetarian option was grilled cheese and clam chowder. I substituted chowder for fries and then substitute the grilled cheese for a baby seal sandwich, clubbed only a few miles away from where we sat. We didn't end up spending $40 to take a boat across the beautiful body of water known as "Puget Sound" but that's something people do.

Instead of wasting our hard earned time and money on the boat ride, we wasted someone else's hard earned time and talent by looking at art. I stood in front of an installation, thinking about how artists earn a living in these tough times - it's not easy, but would you rather have them robbing you while you sleep, passed out on the waterfront?

The Seattle Art Museum, known as SAM in what I assume is an ode to 2001, puts art all along the waterfront in the hope to confuse tourists and comfort native Seattleittes who use the area as a place to jog and smoke crack. The junkies that Keelin says plague the downtown like poor-circumstances-and-bad-choices locusts only come over to Puget Sound to fall in late at night. Thankfully she and I did neither.

The rest of the afternoon we did sightseeing by car through areas including but not limited to: suburban Seattle. Every major city has its Newark, its Downers Grove, its Pomona. Here they have Tukwila and Microsoft. Driving through Seattle's periphery is different than driving through California's because nothing is in Spanish/Korean and there are real trees instead of palm trees. Additionally, the hills. I've canvassed in Jefferson City, Missouri so I know what it's like to be in a hilly place, but some of these hills inclined steeper than the unemployment rate in Obama's America.

Now that I've gotten all of my best hill jokes out there, let's move to Saturday night. There's a delicious Thai restaurant in Columbia City called "The Spice Room." Keelin grew up near Columbia City, wore Columbia outdoors sportswear every day of high school, attended Columbia University in New York and then lived in Columbia Heights, Washington DC. I went to college in Columbia, Missouri, had many friends and lovers live in Columbia Heights, Washington DC, wrote an award winning play on the Columbia space shuttle disaster and then worked on Columbia Road in Grand Forks, ND. Some might say that's all a coincidence but I ascribe meaning where there is none - just as the world did to Smells Like Teen Spirit almost twenty years ago.

We went downtown again that evening to see the movie Greenberg. The second time for me and the first time for Keelin, the tickets were $11.50 and worth every penny. What better way to enjoy my trip to Seattle than to watch a movie entirely about the good and the bad of Los Angeles? Ben Stiller moving back to LA is just like Keelin moving back to Seattle, after all, but she can tell that story on her own if she wants. I'm just here to talk about Seattle.

Sunday we had brunch at a cute little restaurant in Capitol Hill. Notice I say in Capitol Hill and not on. That would be the terminology used in DC to describe the area of town where John Ensign molested pages or whatever sick shit "The Family" was about. This Capitol Hill has its own blog and an Urban Outfitters. UO might seem trite to the urbane people reading One Year in Texas from their iPhones, but I had never been in one. Walking in, I felt my life change before my eyes. All the hipster clothes I thought were from thrift stores stood in front of me with outrageous price tags. There was a table full of books based on internet fads (LOLCats, Post Secret, "Charlie Bit Me"). I saw pants so tight I wondered if the next generation of male hipsters would be able to procreate before realizing that I'm not ready to have a child either. You might compare my experience at Urban Outfitters to a former Eastern Bloc-ker finally seeing what the West has to offer, but only if it had no concept of what it was like to live under Soviet rule.

That evening Keelin and I went out to dinner with her father Tom. Though over 45, Tom is on Facebook AND email, having never embarrassed himself on either. We had a great time as I got to learn more about Seattle and eat an entire four cheese pizza by myself. Tom works with the IRS, one of the 16,000 new employees hired after the health care bill passed. Don't email me saying that is a lie made up by the right-wing because I already know. I'm just using it to prove a point. Afterward, we went to back his house (aka Keelin's childhood home) so she could check for some mail and I could find some childhood pictures. The most prominent one featured what looked to be a 10 year old Keelin but in reality was her at age 15. I hadn't seen that kind of age discrepancy since the last time I visited the Eastern Block, specifically Ukraine. But whatever radiation the Space Needle is emitting, it's still not enough to dampen my love of this beautiful city.

There you have it, my trip to Seattle monotonously summarized with the flare of a Soviet Russia state newscast. I didn't do enough to convey the beauty of the area; in fact a quick word search reveals I only said the word "mountains" twice and once was in reference to Dolly Parton. The natural landscape of the area around the city is amazing and unlike anywhere I've ever lived or wanted to live. That's all changed after this visit though. I now not only have a surrogate family waiting to adopt me but also feel like I could adopt a hip neighborhood within the urban boundaries. Seattle isn't suffocating like New York or financially collapsing like LA, but rather a smaller version of Chicago. Instead of Irish, Poles and blacks, there are Asians, Native Americans and hippies. Extremely liberal and close to Canada, it's probably the best city to launch an attack on a major Canadian metropolitan area. Like the lead singer of Deerhunter said "I never thought I'd be 27 years old," I never thought I'd love the Pacific Northwest but now I do - at least the part of it Eddie Vedder calls home.


  1. Part II was as good as the original, just like Weekend at Bernie's II. Unlike W@B2 this tale was not filled with voodoo or a dead body grooving to cool island rhythms, yet it somehow still managed to be great.

  2. Fantastic! You left out the part where you met Stone Gossard!! I LOVE ASIANS, NATIVE AMERICANS AND HIPPIES (well, one of the three...)

  3. This is the greatest thing written about Seattle since "In Utero"!!!!

  4. You missed a digit. The IRS just hired 16,000,0000.

  5. LOL, parent comment!!!!

    Also, you forgot to mention I now work in the Columbia Tower.

  6. Hooray!! So glad to hear you "love the Pacific Northwest"... because you should. And I've never even been there. So what does that say..?

  7. i liked this even more than part I. i kind of teared up at the end, even though new york is NOT suffocating! i have to pee but the lady next to me is sleeping. this is the only place i felt comfortable sharing.


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