Seattle was the bomb dot com. The bee's knees. The cat's pyjamas. All of that and then some. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. (Princess Bride, anybody? yes? no? moving on...)I dropped Bixby off at a little kennel in Gig Harbor, with lots of apologizing and promising I'd be back soon, and zipped over to Chris's aunt Joy and her husband John's house. Chris and Mikey were already there, and we spent the afternoon watching baseball and eating all the crackers and cheese and apples and popcorn John put in front of us (thanks John!) and visiting the little dock they've got down the hill from their house on the sound. I touched Pacific Ocean water for the first time in my life, and I will say that it's real cold. We didn't do anything all evening, and for the first time in a good while I got to just relax with people I knew.
The next day, Chris, Mikey, and I did some adventuring. We went to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, where we learned all about polar bears and petted some stingrays and saw teenage tigers and did not ride a single camel, but worse things have happened I guess. Lots of babies and lots of animals, so I was pretty happy. We went to downtown Tacoma for lunch at a sorta fancy little place called Indochine with really delicious food (pad thai!!). Chris and Mikey went off to a bar for more local beer while I stopped in Mandelin's to look for an Alice dress for my Halloween costume, which I found very quickly, except I think technically it's a Cinderella dress that needs a little touching up. Yay Tacoma! Later we went to a brewery called Seven Seas for pre-dinner drinks and then got actual dinner drinks and dinner (way. too. much. dinner.) at a place John worked years and years ago, and he showed us his picture on the wall and we walked out to the end of the dock and looked at the boats moving around on the night water.
Things picked up speed-wise a lot once I got to downtown Seattle. I went to the space needle but didn't go up it, and got sort of stuck in a blown glass exhibit they were having outside. Once I got unstuck, I went to a sweet little cafe called Cherry Street Coffee House, where I very nearly got teary when Pandora started playing "Wagon Wheel" (and if I die in Raleigh, at least I will die freeeee) and then actually got up to tell the barista that she was playing music basically from my hometown all the way across the country when "San Bernadino" by the Mountain Goats came on. After that, the Avett Brothers were pretty much inevitable. Big country, small world.
Then I went to Sean's apartment! I know Sean because he and Sarah are both from Kingsport and went to high school together and played in the marching band together and generally were really delightful individuals together. I hadn't met his wife, Stephanie, before, but she was from Kingsport too. Sean and I walked aaaaaall evening. It was great. I saw so much of the city - missed a lot too, I'm sure, it's HUGE - but I'm fairly confident we saw a decent portion of it. We went up Capitol Hill to a park with a volcano fountain that's near a bookstore where I found a copy of a book I've been looking for for a while and Sara Bareilles just happened to be upstairs signing copies of her book. We went into the most overwhelming and Wonka-esque Starbucks I've ever seen. We ate big delicious plates of Italian food for dinner and Stephanie showed up and turns out, she's a delightful individual too!
The next morning we went to Pike's Place Market, which is touristy but also a place locals use. We got THE BEST greek yogurt (lemon curd, please and thank you!) and saw the fish place but none of the fishes got thrown and tried jalapeno raspberry jellies and chocolate pasta and all different kinds of balsamic vinegars. Stephanie and I both got our fortunes told Big-style (any wise Libras out there wanna give me some direction?) at a magic store. We poked around a comic book/cardboard cutout/nerdy little thingamabob store for a good long while. And I'm so glad I know the kind of people who can't pass up a stationary store. Then Sean and Stephanie took me to the library, which is a thing to behold. It's enormous, and their Dewey decimal section is set up in an gigantic continuous spiral. They've got a floor that's all painted red to represent the heart of the Seattle community, and from the very top floor you can look down and see the whole library below you. It made my stomach turn.
After the library, we walked to the International District and got Chinese food in about two seconds. And a Roy Rogers, cause I'm fancy like that. There was a bookstore we swung through with strong fountain pen and sticker sections. AND THEN. GET READY FOR WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SAY. Sean and I went to... A PINBALL MUSEUM. You paid thirteen bucks and got unlimited play on all of their zillion (thirty??) pinball machines. I was in heaven. We stayed for nearly three hours, long enough for Sean's friend Hutch, who showed up, to get a parking ticket. C'est la pinball museum. Anyway, if you ever go to Seattle, go there. They also sold beer.
We zipped back to the apartment and I moved my car for about the fifteenth time (parking is tricky in Seattle) and then all four of us drove to the Ballard Homestead to see - get this - Bombadil! They're this little four-man band from Durham who I've been following since 2012 or so, and their music could be described as indie pop, or maybe alternative rock, or something. It's generally really fun music and they're all very good and talented and their concerts are always great. They just so happened to be playing in the same across-the-country spot I happened to be staying, so why not? I went up and said hey to them afterwards, and then Sean, Stephanie, Hutch, and I drove off.
Sunday morning we had to get up kinda early to beat the hipsters to this yummy little (tiny) breakfast spot called Glo's where we had a good long wait and then I got cake and hashbrowns for breakfast and it was exactly what I wanted and so very good. George Weasley the Hyundai Elantra and I left around noon because Chris and co. were watching the Panthers-Seahawks game, which was a very normal way to spend a Sunday afternoon, something I haven't done in a while. Carolina won, hooray!, and then I picked up Bixby from the kennel, where he yelled at me for leaving him so long and then curled right up into his seat next to me and waited for us to get to the next destination...