‘Shave Yer Ears’
Funny the things you think about before embarking on a six month journey – mine was this and I stored it in a voice memo on my iphone just in case I forgot my last thought before I got on the road.
It’s always fascinated me how much life experience can be condensed down into a mile, a moment, and even a microsecond. We’re on week three and already it feels like eons have passed. We’ve zig zagged the coastal mountains and the farmlands of northern Washington down into the city proper and witnessed a whole lot.
Seattle: The City of ???
Walking amongst the innermost guts of a city, you kinda get to know it on an visceral level. You don’t need to read municipal code, do a Google search or even check in with Wikipedia – just walk through it. And though I have done all of the above I have torn feelings about this place perhaps because of and despite of itself.
Bare Naked Baristas?
From Everett to the George Washington Bridge is pretty much a continuous row of used car dealerships, box stores, strip malls, and these curious salacious sexy time coffee shacks like this one.
And this one. (FYI – Neither of which convinced Indiana they were worth their weight in Expresso to pop in).
I tried to look up what Seattle’s sobriquet is and I got bupkis other than ‘Rain’. Perhaps this place and its people aren’t even sure what it is.
To Be Sure
The beauty here is boundless. From Pike Place Market to the Chihuly Garden and Glass to the Waterfront District and countless soundside nooks surrounding Elliot Bay, the rusted steel structures of the Gas Works Park and the magnificent Madrona trees that are only found in this part of the world.
Perhaps then, Seattle is a city of contrasts as its expertly manicured landscape is mottled with the misbegotten.
I have never seen so many homeless people in all of my travels and it’s now perfectly clear to me how the Grunge genre got its beginnings here.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m nothing more than a passing observer but taken as a whole, my Seattle experience has been a bit disappointing.
The Second Long Island?
Only once before have we walked through a community that not a single person stopped to inquire about our cause or mission. Or offer a warm greeting of welcome to the fuzzybutts. And that was the stretch between the Brooklyn Bridge and Port Jefferson on our first walk. Seattle now has the distinction of being the second.
I’ve spoken with a few folks about this and the best guess is due to the breadth of the homeless population people are desensitized to them. And by ‘them’ I mean ‘me’ since I have a backpack and look kinda homeless.
At least the chap whose backpack I snapped a photo of at Pike Place Park has some panache.
Don’t know how to sum Seattle up really and maybe won’t have the context for some time. That’s why it’s taken me a tad longer to post this blog. I suppose I had a preconceived notion of this place and it just didn’t play out like I had hoped. The media was kinda ‘Meh’ I guess from so many who pass through here for some cause or another.
Is this where grumpy cat lives? Maybe we’re just cat-less in Seattle…
We’ve been granted safe passage thus far and that’s the thing to be grateful for. A few close calls and some rough and tough stretches but we’re making progress and as our dear friend Buddy pointed out yesterday, we’re at the midway point to Oregon. And we made some new friendships and revisited old ones, too.
But it’s time to move on.
It’s not always up to us if the message we deliver is received but no community can be deaf and dumb to an epidemic so broad reaching and indiscriminate. That’s why we talk loudly and carry a big stick.