. elsewhere . . letters from the inaccessible .


24 December 2001
christmas eve

the experience seattle project, part two

Sunday mornings in Seattle (or, more precisely, Issaquah, suburb) are wonderful. You see, rain in Seattle is not like rain in, for example, Los Angeles. Rain in Los Angeles, though rare and brief, tends to come in bursts of halfway hard raining punctuated by spats of cranky, prickly sprinkles. Rain in Seattle, for some reason, perhaps it's my perception, perhaps it was the sense of distance and alien-ness, seems much more gentle, though persistent. And persistent. So, as I was rambling, sunday morning in Seattle was wonderful, lovely light rain.

I tend not to sleep well when I'm not in my own personal bed, drooling on my own personal pillow. This vacation in Seattle was no exception, and, after a long saturday evening of chatting and catching up with the Joneses, I slept quite poorly on the borrowed pillow, in the borrowed sleeping bag, on the borrowed air mat. After some six hours of fitful sleeping (from which I awoke probably on average once per hour), I awoke and took in my surroundings: Mr Jones has fewer computers in his apartment than expected. He also has not a single chair with a back against which to lean. Yes, they own, by my hasty count, a total of 3 stools. That's the extent of their sitting devices. This did not surprise me, and don't mistake my appraisal as opprobrium, but I was half-surprised to see as many trappings of comfort as I did, Raven being quite the ascetic when it comes to creature-comforts.

Once Mrs Jones had gone off to work, Mr Raven Jones was awake as well, and we spoke in the morning, while I munched on a banana for breakfast, I examined the contents of their cupboards: not empty by any means, there were several boxes of cereal, one of which had on its side, apparently, the name "Placebo Sweet." I was without my glasses at this point in the morning, and had only briefly taken in the side of the cereal box before I realized it was a box-side feature on skier Picabo Street. Of course, this is not to deny the strong metaphysical verity to the thought of naming a breakfast cereal Placebo Sweet. When you eat it, you only think you're full.

In the morning, we set off to Crossroads (a mall-like thing in some nearby city which I cannot recall, perhaps Bellevue?), to visit the Half Price bookstore. On our way, however, I was able to impose upon Mr Jones to drive me by Seattle's downtown. "Seattle: Portal to the Pacific" was engraved into the arch over the tunnel under Mercer Island, inhabited, apparently, by the rich and influential enough to force the state to dig the I-90 under their island (and, of course, high-priced real estate) rather than build the road over or through it. Makes me think that perhaps that may be the method by which we may actually have the I-710 here in LA actually complete its planned course and meet the 210 in Pasadena? Not likely, if LA's own laughable "subway" from Downtown to Hollywood is any indication.

So anyway, we drive past the skyline (which I thought looked wonderful under the brooding sky) and under the convention center (not an experience wholly unlike driving the 101 or 110 through LA's downtown, but through a much more attractive and resonant downtown), and at the north end of the city, we veered off back east toward our destination for the morning. Moving east past the University district is the famous Floating Bridge. Raven told me a story of how, once when he and Mrs Jones were crossing, he felt strangely dizzy, and briefly wondered if he were coming down with something before he realized that his unquiet semi-circular canals were the result of the floating bridge undulating beneath their car. My only notable observation is the tumultuous, white-capped swells on the right (south) side of the bridge, and the much more placid, calm-as-a-hindu-cow surface to the north. After the Floating Bridge, we arrived at Crossroads.

I'm sure there are similar places in Los Angeles. I'm equally sure that it is a good thing that I do not know where they be hid. We made a brief pass-through of the Half Price bookstore at the Crossroads shopping mall-thing, and crossed into the nearest Starbucks establishment for some hot hot chocolate and mocha latte, each with whipped cream. The frightening thing is, on this brief pass-through, I already found no less than 2 books which I had every intention of purchasing. I ended up buying more than a couple books, even to the point where it was necessary for Mr Jones to ship the books to me, as I could not fit them into my baggage. After much time (and not so much money, love the Half Price bookstore!), we had lunch at the Chili's, and went on to Thinker Toys so Raven could buy a toy (a science kit) for a disadvantaged child.

After returning home, and Mrs Jones' return, we departed back to Bellevue to meet with a few of Raven's friends for a shopping excursion (at Bellevue Square, just another mall where we found a wonderful new version of futuristic Risk in which Lesotho had overtaken nearly all of sub-saharan Africa), and dinner at Cafe Veloce. Cafe Veloce is a wonderful place; themed after Italian motorcycle racing (mainly of the 30s through 50s, apparently), Cafe Veloce has 4 old-fashioned racing motorcycles around the room, fantastic pastas, and non-stop motorcycle and auto racing crashes playing on televisions throughout the dining room. No kidding, while you're eating a large plate of spaghetti, you can watch spill after spill of motorcycle racers doing face plants in the rain, over turning, under turning, or being bucked off their cycles like hapless rodeo cowboys when an over turn is too rapidly corrected by the whims of physics. The combination of delicious spaghetti and the content on the monitors amounted almost to a minor religious experience.

More socializing and relaxing by the warm, strangely scent-free fire of the duraflame, and then sleep.

Next Update: Monday! Walking in Issaquah, Schlotsky's Deli, and Jonesing (no pun intended) for diversion.

musings of señor prod.

A little precession at the Revolution.


©2001 Timothy A. Clark -|-