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Seattle: Where Everyone Has a Kickass Tattoo

A couple months ago, everything in my life seemed to be pointing towards Seattle. And I was suddenly dying to go there. "But HOW?" I despaired. There was yelling at people on Twitter for living near me and not thousands of miles across the country. There were sad Google Image searches of "seattle water." And there was finally the realization that I not only knew someone who lived there, but she was my awesome college roommate I used to bake weekly cakes for and who tolerated my one-person Meryl Streep Film Fest 2006.

She said she could take me in, I bought a plane ticket, and bam. Second time on the West Coast. If you live in the Midwest, going to the East Coast seems normal. It's like a two hour flight, and most people here CAME from there. The West is weird and scary and you have to fly over what my brain terms "nothing" but which is in fact states like Nebraska, Montana and Idaho (...there's stuff in those, right?).

So I get out there, Becky has a broken foot, but WE WORK WITH IT (meaning I run around and do shit and she searches for apartments for her move with her boyfriend to California, then I pick us up food and we watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer). This system meant we got a decent amount of time together but didn't want to kill each other by the end of the stay. I recommend it to all. Minus the broken foot part, as that probably sucks.

My first morning in Seattle, I took the bus downtown from Wallingford and asked my bearded seatmate (whose name was Mark) where to go for coffee that wasn't stupid. He suggested Cherry St Coffee, which proceeded to DELIGHT ME by being in a former bank, so there was a big safe in the basement.

I took the Underground Tour. And you guys. I have been on a lot — A LOT I AM NOT EXAGGERATING OR SPEAKING LIGHTLY — of tours, and this was the best one I've ever been on. Essentially, Seattle used to be lower and then they realized they needed a sewage system and also they were right next to a lot of water and maybe it'd be good to be higher up, so they built everything up, but kept these underground walkways and now some buildings that survived the earlier period are entered from what WAS their second story and that is the coolest.

They put skylights in the sidewalks

I bought a kickass dress at Diva Dollz, which is the best store run by the best people. If you're in Seattle and like the 1940s or just SUPER PRETTY THINGS, go there. They also have a location in New Orleans, just saying. They told me to go to the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, which I did and it was lovely and the owners gave me a white plastic chair to sit in and browse. Excellent. I bought my first Georgette Heyer ever there.

Becky and I went into the Arctic Club, which was a club for gentlemen who had been involved in the Gold Rush, and was used more recently so my roommate and I could sit in leather armchairs and talk about the undeserving poor in fake English accents (I'm not sure why the men were English except that it was a FANCY club). Then we ate pirozhki and donuts, went to the Experience Music Project, where I wheeled her around and only banged her broken foot against a wall ONCE, and then onward to home and more Buffy. And also X-Files. And some Futurama, 'cause I need cartoons on when I eat.

Saturday I met up with Jason, whom I know from the Twitters, and he drove me to Alki Beach South, where we did gaze upon sea creatures, including this one that looked astonishingly like a sea vagina:

I marvel at ALL of God's creations

And here's me by a sea star! Because apparently you don't call them starfish anymore! Proving my entire childhood to have been a lie:

We went to a place called Foxy Lady Latte, which I LEGIT GOT A CALL ABOUT FROM MY BANK. "Hi, Miss Burton, did you go to Seattle and buy something at Foxy Lady Latte?...oh you DID. Oh. Okay." And then we got fish and chips, I got to go to the Elliott Bay Book Company, where I got a copy of The Marriage Plot for six bucks, we walked by Wild Rose, drove by the Seattle Opera, and Jason finally dropped me at the Seattle Library, which is RIDICULOUS.


Sunday I met up with my brother and his boyfriend's friend Lauren and HER friend Sarah, and we went canoeing out in Union Bay, where we almost died from lily pads.

We never got stuck on those things, except the TWENTY TIMES THAT WE DID. But it was a team-building exercise. Also LOOK HOW CLOSE THAT HERON IS.

There were also many baby ducks, but this post is already legit too long. SO. We canoed, we ate at a vegan restaurant, Lauren and I talked about Harry Potter, then BACK to Becky's, where I stood on her front steps for a while and stared at Mount Rainier (oh yeah, I have a weird Picnic at Hanging Rock feeling for that mountain and if I someday go missing I'm PROBABLY on it).

It was a swell trip. The weather in Seattle's ideal if you like cloudiness and temperatures not below 40. Seattle guys seem kind of standoffish at first, but if you smile at them and talk like you aren't aware of it, they smile BACK and it is delightful. They have bluffernutter sandwiches, which almost made me die from sheer joy, because bacon, marshmallow fluff and peanut butter. And, of course, everything is green and hilly, as opposed to Illinois, which is flat and covered with corn and soybeans.

I generally take a fair amount of happiness from the fact I live in America. Anyone who's proud of their nation makes me happy, and in this instance my happiness comes from the fact that because I live in this giant, ridiculously varied country, I can travel from deep dish pizza-loving, calling-a-five-foot-incline-a-hill Illinois to moss-covered, messenger bag-wearing, tattooed and mountainous Seattle, and I am still in my country and the people there still consider me connected to them. That is tremendous. We mess up a lot in America, but we got that part right.


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