Seattle Redux, This Time in Words [ 2004-04-09, 12:37 a.m. ]

Firstly, a huge sigh of relief and exuberance was collectively breathed in Brooklyn as Kent received notification of his acceptance to Columbia’s MBA program. He hasn’t formally enrolled (i.e., sent huge sums of money), but he’s 99.9% sure he will, and is just basking for a moment or two. And yay! - we’re not moving, at least not out of NYC. I think we’ll probably move apartments at some point this summer (because this mofo costs waaaaayy too much), but for now, we’re staying put. Phew.

Getting the email from Kent telling me he was accepted was a great welcome-back; I had taken the red-eye from Seattle and got home groggy and exhausted. I brushed my teeth, checked my email and was beyond thrilled to read the good news, then tumble into bed and sleep for four hours, with a very happy dog at my side.

Seattle was fabulous – truly. I flew out late Friday and arrived after midnight, got to my friend Jay’s place by 12:30, and we chatted until about 2:00. Which was really still 5:00 a.m., as my burning, bloodshot eyes reminded me. I crashed on his couch and awoke to a sun-shining, bird-chirping, breeze-blowin’ day in Seattle. It was absolutely lovely. I walked Jay to his rehearsal space near the Space Needle (Jay is assistant choreographer for a show that begins its tour in Seattle, which is why he’s there), then found a bench in the sun and called Chiara . I know Chiara from MATH+1 , and we’d not previously met in person. I was pretty sure - based on her journal, our emails, and the fact that she belly-dances and tin-foiled an entire office - that we’d have no problem as friends in real life. Then, as I was dialing her number, I started to worry – what if she had a really high-pitched squeaky voice? Or a weird lisp? Or a hyena-laugh? But my worries were put to rest, her voice was normal and lovely, and we made plans to meet at a Pottery Barn (where else? there are too many Starbucks – how would I ever find her?) downtown, and within half an hour I hugged her hello and we made or way toward Pike’s Market, no awkward hellos or regrets present, just constant (like, six hours worth) chatting. Mostly about boys. Or men. No, make that boys.

We gorged on fried food and went to the aquarium and ate gelato and shopped and then we drove to the Fremont area, where it was basically lather, rinse, repeat, minus the aquarium. I bought some gifts and drank my 18th cup of coffee for the day and took my picture in front of a giant carved troll. Good times. Chiara dropped me back off at the Space Needle in time for me to meet Jay, and we hugged goodbye with promises to see each other again and wreak general havoc at JournalCon. I love making new friends.

Did I mention that the Seattle Center – home to the Space Needle and Jay’s rehearsal theater – was hosting the World Rhythm Festival that weekend? Well, it was. And my friends, that is a whooooole lot of drums. Tambourines too. Hemp clothing, Tevas, drum circles, jugglers, ponchos and every other conceivable cliché was present, and they were drumming. So as I waited for Jay’s rehearsal to end, I also had a chance to go from thinking, Oh how interesting, a drum festival to Huh, didn’t know that many people had their own bongos? to Are these people ever going home? to Shuthefuckupnow frizzy-haired drum lady to No thanks, I don’t want any shrooms. By the time Jay appeared I realized how happy I am to be insulted in a yuppie urban environment (I love you Whole Foods! You too Club Monaco!). Small-minded, maybe, but all the people I know wear shoes.

Anyway. Jay and I had dinner with an actress (Dani) in his show, also know as My New Best Friend. She’s hysterical, and lives in New York, so hopefully we’ll hang out here when she’s off tour. And, her husband is a dermatologist, and my obsession with skin care is well documented. Double perks. After dinner we went back to the apartment and Dani made me watch her tape of the last“America’s Next Top Model.” And holy crap people – the girl who won? Is possibly one of the most GORGEOUS women ever to walk on this Earth. She is stuuunnning. STUNNING. I couldn’t stop looking at her. It was an hour very, very well spent (I squeezed in some good People magazine and Allure reading too. I love girls.

On Sunday I walked up the biggest hill ever. It was covered with lovely homes, though, which made it worthwhile. I walked down the other side and explored Seattle and missed Kent a little and missed Tuesday a lot because everywhere I looked there were cute people with cute dogs. I went in about a gazillion great boutiques but didn’t buy anything (good girl) and then met up with Jay later that afternoon. We played some more and shopped some more and then went downtown to see “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which was playing at the same theater as Jay’s show (TMM is the national tour; it’s moved on to another city, Jay’s show is next at the Seattle venue). Adorable show, and afterwards we hung out with the cast and Jay and I ended up at a bar in Capitol Hill called the Cha Cha Lounge with a few of the Millies. I felt about 103 years old, as the bar was full of bony, tattooed hipster types (in other words, it was just like New York). We hung drink-for-drink with the best of them, until the [strangely early] last call sounded at 2:00 a.m., and Jay and I made a beeline for the nearest cab home and made oatmeal (it sounded great after a night of cheap beer), then crashed immediately.

Monday was Jay’s day off, and we played tourist with Dani. We took the bus (like locals! Cleaner than the NYC buses! Cheaper too!) to Pioneer Square and each got several gooey cookies from a place called the Cow Chip Café (or something like that. Me, on the bus, as we neared our stop: “Oooh! Look! A cookie store!” Them: “Ha ha ha. It’s 11:00 a.m. Wait, where? I could use a cookie.”). We ate our touristy cookies and took a touristy tour of Seattle’s Underground and met our other tourist friends by The Pig (also known as the Ultimate Tourist Meeting Place). We went to all the touristy places near Pike’s Market, and I said a silent thanks to Chiara as I helped myself to another big ol’ tourist-sized serving of gelato. Then I led my little tourist excursion to a wine tasting room I had read about in Food & Wine magazine. Heaven. We tasted a bunch of wines from teeny Washington wineries (I bought a Pinot Noir, a Nebbiolo and a Syrah, all from the same winery) and ate cheese and emerged an hour or so later into the late afternoon sun, blinking sleepily (okay, drunkenly) and making our un-steady way back to the apartment. Jay and I shopped some more (window shopped – when I travel I pack extremely lightly and bring only one tiny bag so as to discourage the wanton vacation spending that would otherwise occur), and enjoyed the perfect weather, perfect city and perfect company. I know I’ve mentioned him before, but Jay really and truly is one of the few people I believe, with all sincerity, was fated to be a part of my life. Kent and I are both close with him, and he is never far from my heart, but it was nice to have him in close range for just a few days.

We had Thai food for dinner (and may I say that Seattle has more Thai restaurants than anyplace I have ever, EVER seen? Really.), and then it was time to relax, repack, and return home. Which I did, happily. I missed my baby (Kent), and my other baby (Tuesday). But it was a rockin’ weekend.

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