Odyssey Day 2: Seattle; Kinjo say “fetch”

©2022 Michael Raven

As I had mentioned in my last post, I had walked about three times my normal daily distance, much of it up- or downhill and I found out just how out of shape I was when I got back to the place I was staying and had to struggle to stay awake long enough to write what I was able to manage writing yesterday.

Brain and feet both turned to mush, I still had one final obligation — a never-ending game of fetch.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… I was saying that things had changed and, yet, not changed.

Some of the base stores at the Market had not changed from when I was using it as my grocery store (when I lived in Seattle, I lived about five blocks away from Pikes). Sure, there was much less produce this time of year, as there is very little locally grown in January, and stalls largely contained art and crafts kinds of knickknacks. But the permanent stores were mostly in the same location with the same types of goods.

I was glad to see that the comic/collectibles store where I purchased so many Neil Gaiman books and items before he had become really famous was still there (I bought about 20 single-issue copies of Sandman when it was still published on a mostly-monthly basis there, among other things). I should have taken a picture, but they were still selling life-sized stand-up movie figures, mostly Star Wars this time around. I was watching my back a bit because I had just encountered someone sprawled on the nearby steps, someone with obvious mental health issues and probably drugged up on something. It distracted me from my mission to take more pictures.

There were also the places selling NW Coastal native arts (which explicitly ask you to not take pictures), and Tenzing Momo was still there, a place for things like essential oils, incense, herbal components to make medicinal teas and tarot cards, etc. I might have to return to them before I leave because they had the first myrrh oil I have smelled that had that musky hint of exotic sweetness to it from my past. Everything I’ve bought in the past 25 years has been more of a floral or acrid smell, not the pleasant smell full of brown sugar tones that I found yesterday.

After exhausting that, I went down to the waterfront and, as I said, I reminded myself why my fond memories of it are always disappointing.

It’s really touristy junk and sights down at the waterfront with a few decent restaurants. It used to be more worth the extra visit in the 80s, and even before I left in the 90s, but by the early 00s, it had gone to this limbo of not very much to see at all. Combined with the removal of the double-decker elevated freeway and the subsequent construction taking advantage of all that useful real estate, the waterfront looked more like a war-zone than a tourist destination. I was even less impressed than my last visit.

So I trudged back up the hill through Pikes and debated if I my body could handle the haul to my old neighborhood to see what had changed.

Amazingly, parts of it had gone downhill, which surprised me — I had heard that the place had been taken over by yuppies, but apparently they’ve moved on either because of the pandemic, or the unrest over the past few years with respect to police. But there were still some amazing survivors.

Patagonia and Federal Army and Navy Surplus were still where they were when I lived in the neighborhood. Patagonia is to the right of the picture I snapped and was actually more in need of exterior maintenance than the surplus store. To the very far left is the building I lived in, the pale brick that you can barely see (no windows). About a block to the right of Patagonia, there was no longer a nightclub known as the Vogue, a fetish club where I went several days a week to dance because it was the only place to dance and listen to goth/industrial that didn’t require a membership and someone to invite you to be a member (it was a way to get out of the liquor laws of the time, to have a private club so you could serve hard liquor without also serving food). The salon I had worked at is now a Taco Bar and the lack of patrons as I passed by during lunch was disconcerting, so I gave it a pass.

The old Mexican-themed restaurant and bar that was in my back alley was no more, and was, instead, a boarded up remnant of something that hadn’t survived the protests or the pandemic or both. A few store fronts down was my home away from home, the espresso bar where I did my spoken word night, Sweet Immolation and drank copious amounts of lattes, macchiatos, and breves. Of course, the espresso bar was long gone, and I knew it would be. But I was slightly saddened to see what it had become.

My feet were starting to give out and I discovered I was starving. So I made my way back to the Market to grab some food, trying to muster up the courage to eat the samosas that smelled so good, but were well in the category of street food and, well, I decided to use caution and eat more standard fare. Plus, I really wanted to just sit down to enjoy my food.

So I ended up at the Pike Place Bar and Grill, opposite of the main entrance to the Market.

The food was nothing special, typical pub food, but they took care of me when I charmed the waitress and she went into “make sure he has more coffee than he can drink” mode. I needed it. Plus, I got out of the constant mist and dried off a bit. And then, I consider going home, but decided Capitol Hill was on the way and I’d stop there, so trudged back to the rail station.

I did mention there is a Sasquatch fetish in my previous post, didn’t I? Sasquatch is a fetish in the city for whatever reason…

I went down into the Westlake station and realized that it was both too loud and too dimly lit to be all that comfortable. The people were quite, but the automated and frequent announcements were far too loud and the lighting was almost gothic.

In fact, I think my camera “fixed” the light balance, because the above picture seems much brighter than my memory.

I rode the rail to the Capitol Hill station, and got off to look for the espresso bar that had trained me as a barista over several afternoons when I lived here and had high hopes of opening my own cafe in Minneapolis using the same techniques (that’s another story for another time). The cafe had moved into a newer building, but was still alive and kicking.

Best breve in 20 years…

It turns out that it was a good thing I hadn’t hauled my electronics around. Like everywhere, Vivace was not open for interior seating and I couldn’t find an open wifi signal to save my life. I bought some coffee beans to drink and drink at home, enjoyed my breve outside and walked around a bit more. Capitol Hill is much the same as ever, just different stores and I felt like I had to watch my back less than some areas of downtown.

I had to catch the sign for this bar, as it seemed like “a sign”.

I wan into a goth clothing store that would have bankrupted me about 30 years ago. My eldest daughter thought I was mean for snapping pictures and then telling her that there was absolutely no way I was going to pay $100 for a ruffle shirt for her.

By this stage, I was burned out fro walking in the drizzle and my feet were starting to kill me, so I made my way back to the place where I am staying with my generous hosts.

I saw down, stretched a bit, gulped down a big glass of water to rehydrate and saw two sets of pointy ears and demanding eyes looking up at me.

Kinjo the corgi was telling me it was time to play fetch. Kinjo is obsessed with fetch. Fetch is more important than scritches. More important than food. Throw ball, Hooman! Naow!

I threw and threw and threw and threw and… Finally, my hosts made him stop, but he was unhappy that his new playmate was being left off the hook.

I figure I owe them that much, trying to wear the little lad out — they are, after all, giving me dinner and a place to stay — while not giving me any hint of what I should or could do to pay them back. So — weary as I may be from my walking, I won’t complain at all about needing to play ball.

Some of you might think this post is all very touristy. And it is. But right now, as I am considering leaving the apartment, several ravens nearby have started “shouting” at me to get a move on. Ravens have been somewhat distant since my arrival, but this is the first time they’ve started making noise at the crash-pad, so I should probably listen and head out of the door to see what they have to say or show me. On my way home last night, one stood on an evergreen and called right at me and wouldn’t shush until I waved. And then — he flew off.

Adventures await.

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