Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back Within Seattle's Overloving, Sinister Arms

Lake Union, the ubiquitous crane, and
a quickly reducing number of seafood-related
warehouses from the 11th floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel

--9th and Terry Ave., Seattle, Washington

I had pretty much decided not to post anything from here, but ran across the 756,423rd Duke City Fix thread about "Flying Star", and couldn't help myself. Yeah, okay, I definitely could have helped myself.

Having lived here for a few years from the start of the boom in 1988 to the consumer packaging of "grunge" in 1993, I have been hesitant to return to Seattle and environs. And yes, part of the reluctance stems from the fact that the city holds some bad memories, including the fact that I was making like $16k a year in a city when, even back then, $16k a year was barely, barely subsistence level.

But another, bigger and perhaps more generally pertinent reason is that this town embraces much of what Albuquerque is not, especially in areas I am passionate about. Mass transit, self-sustaining identifiable neighborhoods, greenery, water. Coming here is philosophically like scratching really hard on an old scab, hard enough to get past the simple pleasure of the scratch and entering that pain/pleasure threshold as the wound starts to get bloody again.

In short, this city has too much of what I want, and that is scary. It is full of large-scale Microsoft/Starbucks mogul-funded projects (the new downtown Public Library, Benaroya Hall, etc.), a massive professional sports stadium(s) complex right next to downtown, and a pub on almost corner with eight quality micros on tap. It is areligious, not afraid of high taxes, and, at least in Summer, the perfect temperature.

So what's the problem? Why aren't I living here now? Why did I ever leave?

The problem, for me, is that Seattle and environs beckons like some sort of heaven to which permanent residence involves a hazy deal struck with an ultra-green, crunchy-liberal LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) deity you can't tell is God, Shiva, Satan or Bill Gates.

To further the weak analogies, this town is a Pandora's Box of social planning leftyism, the Las Vegas for people who hate everything about Las Vegas, the cool, temperature-perfect place the Sirens were trying to lead Ulysses toward (in his mind, if I were Ulysses, and who doesn't think they are Ulysses).

See, the place is already ruining me, throwing tons of lame literary references before me which I seem to have control over regurgitating. Seattle is a vile, gourmet coffee temptress, and I must leave its environmentally-friendly clutches pronto. I must run away from its scary combination of desirability, good civic taste and evergreen trees. Must....escape...evil.....mind-velvet......clutches.....

But not before going to today's Mariners game, having dim sum in the International District, drinking a post-game beer in Pioneer Square and taking public transit back uptown to look at the sailboats filling up Lake Union.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll find a restaurant tonight as good as "Flying Star". Man, this place makes me even more incorrigible than my usual high, unseemly standard of incorrigible. Utterly insufferable.

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