peter

This is how I met Peter.

I was sitting at a local pub around the corner from where I’m going to be living in Seattle, trying it out as spot for me to write, a home away from home. I was engrossed in my free-write with my earphones in, and he came up to the counter wearing a blue service shirt and a blue cap. I couldn’t tell if he was hip or if he was delivering something. He was friends with the bartenders so he would talk to them, then leave, then come back again. I never caught him looking at me, but I just had a feeling I was on his radar.

When I was packing up my things to leave, he came up and asked the bartender if he heard about what happened to Tom, the Bears fan. The bartender said he heard he went to the Seahawks game and got pickpocketed. He told him Tom was wearing sweatpants and it just fell out of his pocket. But someone did spend his money.

I had taken out one of my earphones to listen to the story as I packed, because it sounded interesting. But I felt I needed to address one detail of the story. “Who wears sweatpants to a public event?”

He turns and looks at me, sizing up where I’m coming from. “Like if you’re coming from the gym,” he said.

C’mon, man. Sweatpants are never okay at public events.

He starts telling this story that starts with, “I lost my wallet once when I was living in Minneapolis…,” but he’s kind of looking at the guy next to him, not me as he’s talking, so I go back to packing my stuff, tuning him out. He gets to the end of his story and says, “Did you even hear any of my story at all?”

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t know you were talking to me,” I said.

He says he lost his wallet in Minneapolis, but that day, two Peter Jaeger’s had lost their wallets, so someone mailed the other Peter’s to him. He said it still had money in it. He mailed it to the other Peter.

“Did you ever find yours?,” I asked.

“No,” he said.

“Don’t you think it’s unusual that two people with the same name living in the same city lost their wallet on the same day?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

“That’s gotta be magic.”

“That’s definitely something going on.”

Then he turns, leaves.

*****

I went into the bar this morning to do some writing. Peter’s working behind the bar. He asks me if I’m gonna get some work done. He’s seen me in here every day on my computer. “Yes,” I tell him. “Last day!”

“What do you mean last day?”

“I’m flying home today, and then I’ll be moving up here in 2 weeks.”

“Where’s home?”

“Los Angeles.”

He tells me about his experience going to Los Angeles. He asks me why Seattle and I tell him that I’ve always wanted to live here, and there’s no better time for me to do it than now. He asks where I’m living and I tell him, down the street. He said he lived in this area as well when he first moved out, and it’ll be a great experience. He’s a midwest guy, Big 10, Iowa vs my Michigan. He’s the one who tells me I’m going to be very happy because this is the exact bar in Seattle where the Michigan Alumni gather every Saturday. He tells me I chose the right place.

He apologizes and says he never got my name.

“Julia,” I say, shaking his hand. “And you’re Peter Jaeger, who lost his wallet in Minneapolis.”

Yes, I am, he said. And we fall back into a conversation about that story, which I love. I tell him he never knows…he might still find his wallet yet.

As I’m leaving, I mention how I’m really excited about this city, how it’s a completely new beginning. I don’t even know a single person here.

He pretends to be offended. You know one person now, he said.

That made me happy. Slowly, laying down roots.

Taking Seattle

Had a very inspirational, creative day yesterday. It was a beautiful day, almost LA weather, and yet, it felt like I was constantly being struck by lightning.

Went out to Macrina, this bakery that’s supposed to be good, had a sandwich and tea, sat outside reading. The food here is not as good as LA. Given that I will be living in a place where I won’t have the accoutrements to really cook the way I like to cook, I’m going to have to keep it simple. Which is good. I funnel a lot of my creativity into cooking. Now I’m being asked to funnel my creativity through words.

I checked into a new hotel, one closer to where I’ll be living so I can get a better feel for the neighborhood. Asked the guy at the front desk about the local jazz clubs. I don’t know much about jazz, but I’m trying to expand my experience of music, trying to feel more through music. He gave some recommendations, and I headed out to the Jazz Alley for a band called the Stanley Jordan Trio.

On the way there, I was crossing the street when I saw paramedics wheel a dead body wrapped in a red blanket out of an apartment building on a stretcher. It was unsettling.

I was seated right up next to the stage. I mean, my table touched the stage. It was kind of close for my tastes, but I still enjoyed it. The band took the stage. What is it about people, that they can seem both young and old to me? This guy looked like a 23 year old man in a 40 year-old man’s life.


His technique is called touch-tap guitar, and he would play with both hands close to each other on the fret in the most fluid, intellectual expression of every nuance of emotion. It was unbelievable. He was accompanied by a drummer and bassist, though I would have preferred if the drummer just stuck with high hat/bass drum complements instead of breaking out into incongruously jarring drum solos, and if the bassist didn’t spend the first song tuning his bass as he played. He was stressing me out.

The music made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me feel and taste colors and textures. At one point, Stanley Jordan got on the grand piano, playing guitar with one hand and piano with the other. Then he switched hands. The music was so electric and powerful–he turned emotional intensity into sounds the way I turn emotional energy into words. Everything was charged. Everything had meaning. It was communication beyond communication. It made me feel mute. I’ve always wanted to be musical…took piano lessons for 6 years as a kid (forgot it all), then taught myself to play guitar in 2003-2004, but it was always hard for me to use music to get out the emotional tones I felt, even though I desperately wanted to. I wish I could translate those powerful feelings through my hands into language, but the best language I have with my hands is on the keyboard into words. We were all blessed in different ways. But this is why I appreciate music. True music, expressing true emotions. Revealing true inner universes through language beyond language.

There was a table of Japanese businessmen and I watched them for a while. It’s hard to tell the inner emotional world of Japanese men. They’re very stoic outside. I wonder if because they don’t acknowledge that world, if that means that world does not exist. I was watching the man in the front who watched the musicians with his arms crossed, slightly nodding, like a proud statue, when I noticed behind him this head of frizzy wild hair lean into the frame of my vision, tilting, tilting, tilting until the guy almost fell out of his chair. It was one of the guys at his table trying to get a look at me. He kept watching me for the rest of the night. Careful, I thought. Japanese businessmen in their 50’s can be perverts!

After the show, I waited for a while for the waitress to come pick up my bill. The host came by and asked if I wanted to stay for the second set which would be free of charge. I told him I wanted to check out more of Seattle. He recommended 2nd street where there would be a lot of live music. I asked him which place in particular would be his first choice, and he told me which venue is his favorite, but ended by saying, “You should walk around and choose the one that feels right.”

I like that. I like the interactions I’ve been having here.

I finally took my bill and headed to the bar to see if the bartender could close out my bill. There was a dark-haired man I’d seen working on the set up eating at the bar, next to a guy in his 40’s who looked part Asian with a smooth round face and dark eyes. They were in conversation when I walked up. The guy eating stopped talking when he saw me, then asked me if I needed help. I asked him how I could go about closing my bill because I couldn’t find my waitress. He said he would get her. When that guy left, the Asian guy started laughing.

“I thought you were the bassist,” he said.

“You mistook me for a man!” I said.

“Well, we were just talking about the bassist and Fausto’s the sound guy, and when he stopped talking, I thought it was because the bassist had walked up behind me!”

The story is, they had been sitting at the bar, commenting about how the bassist had been off. About how he didn’t sound good, when all of a sudden, Fausto’s eyes go wide and he stops talking, so the Asian guy thought that the bassist had walked up behind them.

“So basically, you were talking some shit about this guy and thought he’d caught you guys,” I said.

“Exactly!” he laughed. “I’m so glad you weren’t him!”

I confessed that I was seated right under the guy, and he kept tuning his bass and it was stressing me out. I asked, “Shouldn’t he have done that before they began their set?”

He said they were in the club for 4 hours before the show. It should have been done.

The guy who’d been eating, Fausto, comes back with the waitress who takes my card. He introduces himself and when I hear his name, I ask, “Isn’t that like the devil? Faustus. He made a deal with the devil.”

“Yes,” he said, surprised. “Most people don’t know that.”

“Most people don’t read enough,” I said. But then I’m wondering, why would someone name their kid after a tragic literary figure who made a deal with the devil?

He asked me what my name is and I told him.

“Oh, like Julia Childs,” he said.

I pretend to be vexed.

“I had one goal in life, only one goal, and that’s to never be compared to an elderly English woman, and tonight, you have proven to me that I have failed at life.”

They all laughed.

“So, how long have you lived in Seattle?” he asked.

I calculate. “Two days,” I said.

“Oh! So you’re visiting.”

“I’m about to move here.”

“Are you moving here for a job?”

“I have to find one.”

“So you’re moving here, yet you don’t have a job yet!” He sounded incredulous.

“I’m not worried,” I said. “I’m highly employable.”

He started laughing, this high-pitched surprised laugh. “Highly employable…I’ve never heard anyone put it like that but I like it! I like your confidence.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“So what do you think of Seattle so far?”

“It’s been interesting. I’m ready for Seattle to impress me,” I said.

“I’ll get right on that,” I heard a dry, female voice say from behind me.

I turn and it’s the female bartender, late 30’s, tough life, flipping through a battered library book showing rows and rows of pictures of flowers. She hasn’t even looked up.

I start laughing. “Right after I finish my book,” I said, pretending to be her. She looks up and laughs.

The waitress brings me my bill and I’m signing it as I get a text. I’m checking my phone while calculating tip, when I hear Fausto say something.

“I’m sorry, can you say that again? I’m trying to pay my bill, write a text and have a conversation.” Then I start laughing. “See!! I’m multi-tasking! I told you, I’m highly employable!”

“Beautiful women get all the breaks.” He has a slight South-American accent so I need him to repeat that line a few times because I couldn’t understand the word “breaks.”

When I get it, I say, “Break?!?”

The bartender says, “That ain’t a break. That’s a skill.” Exactly my thought.

So I turn to her in a sarcastic sidebar and say, “What is it with these guys, they act like everything we have they gave to us when we earned everything we have?”

“Exactly!” she said, “They have no idea how strong we are.” She says it like we’re talking about children, and right away, I know I’ve got a new ally.

“You guys…,” I say as I turn to look at them. “You’re lucky we let you get away with giving us what you give us.” But I’m laughing as I say it, so they know it’s not mean-spirited. Just truthful.

The Asian guy starts laughing. He knows the girls are calling it like it is.

“My goodness,” Fausto says. “This one’s tough.”

I say that I’ve gotta run. I ask the bartender what her name is. “Amee,” she says, pronouncing it like “Ah-mee.”

“Amee, it’s nice to meet you,” I say as I shake her hand. “Good luck…,” I wave my finger in mock exasperation at the boys, “–dealing with this…”

I smile and wave goodbye at them. It’s all in good fun.

“Come back and visit us again,” I hear her say as I’m heading out the door.

I walk down to 2nd street and check out some places. Nothing strikes my fancy. I head up the street. This pasty white guy in a button-down green shirt follows me. “I’m going to follow you,” he said. “You look like you know where you’re going. Where are people tonight? It’s a ghost town.”

“They’ve gotta be somewhere,” I said.

“I hear the place to be is Pepo’s. Do you know where that is?”

“I’ve never even heard of it.”

I think he takes that as a blow-off, because he stops walking and behind me, I hear him mumble something to his friend. I see a sign with a female ninja. I remember I’ve been there before…that’s where I met some nice people on my last trip to Seattle, so I head in there.


While at the bar getting a drink, I see a big brutha in dreads. He’s got purple streaks in his hair. I’m standing next to him, and I realize that sometimes bartenders will get a girl’s drink order first, so I say to him, “Don’t worry, I know you were here first.” He ends up buying me a drink (I don’t usually let guys buy me drinks…don’t like obligations or complications), but he insists, so we talk. He’s kind of a funny guy…can’t tell if he’s gay or not.

I don’t remember how it came up, but while we were waiting for our drinks, I said, “I usually try to make the most out of life.”

He said, “I’m usually happy if I just get half of what I want.”

So when we get our drinks, I toast saying, “To the man who prefers his 2nd choice.”

He clinks then stops, “Wait, what do you mean, 2nd choice?”

“A lot of people will choose between two things. They’ll think, ‘I would really love that,’ but instead, go with the other thing, but then decide they’re happier with the 2nd choice than they would have been with the first thing they thought they would have really loved. But there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re happy.”

“I usually find a way to be happy with whatever life decides to give me,” he said.

“Well, if you can be happy getting half of what you want that life decides to give you, why not be happy getting all of what you decide to give yourself?”

He thinks, takes a sip of his beer.

“I don’t really like this beer.”

I laugh. “Well well well,” I say.

He looks me in the eye for a long time, sizing me up. Takes a sip.

“I’ve decided I love this beer.”

“Now you’re just trying to prove a point.”

“Yeah? How’s your drink? With your two olives and one lime?”

“Great,” I say.

He wants to know where I’m from and I won’t tell him, and he says, “What are you…like an alien from Alien World?” I nearly spit my drink out because I’ve recently decided to write about my life as an adult’s children book about how I’m an alien born to human parents. But luckily I was born to an Asian family. In Texas. So no one could tell the difference.

I start laughing and say, “Alien World. You make it sound like Mega Mart. Where you can buy your aliens in bulk!”

“Get your alien toilet paper, on sale, 36-ply!” he said.

I laugh. I like people who can improv silliness.

“No seriously, where are you from?” he asked.

“Everywhere. And nowhere.”

He tries to guess my ethnicity, but can’t. All he knows is that I’m not from Seattle. I think it’s funny how people can’t guess my ethnicity. Or my mother’s. We’re both like that. We are both so unique and good at finding common ground with so many people, that we seem familiar to people, yet so hard to categorize. Most people think I’m mixed. Mixed of what? They can never say. But I’m full-blooded Chinese.

He says that he doesn’t even know my name. He says, “You’re like a ghost. You come in, you obviously have substance.” He pokes me in the shoulder. “You’re obviously real. But when you leave, you’ll disappear and I’ll have no idea what the hell I was even talking to. Do you like living like that? Like a ghost? Don’t you find it so empty?”

“Trust me,” I said. “I’m very real for a lot of people.”

“Hmmm,” he said. “I don’t believe that.”

I don’t say anything.

“Would you say you have wisdom?”

I laugh. “We’ve been talking for the last half hour. Does that really need to be asked?”

“What! Most people will think about it, then say, ‘Not really.'”

“What do you think?” I ask him.

“Yeah, you probably do. You’re just being mysterious.”

“Okay,” I say. “Ask me one question. I’m one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet. I have to run, but ask me any question and I’ll answer as truthfully as I can.”

He thinks, and thinks, and thinks. He thinks and thinks and thinks. Meanwhile, I’m watching two well-dressed guys, one of them slender and darkly handsome, really artistic looking in a lavender tie, the other a blonde guy hitting on a girl who is not so deep. Yet I notice, the two guys are matching…the artistic guy’s lavender tie matches the other guy’s shirt. I start laughing.

“You act like you’re being tickled,” Dreads says. “What’s so funny?” I point out the two guys and ask, “Do you think those two stepped out of the door today intending to match?” It is a little gay. He laughs, too.
Finally, he says he’s got his question. I’m listening. What could it be? The meaning of life? What is his purpose? What is God? I’m thinking, this guy has one question to ask someone who sweeps in like a ghost claiming wisdom, and he’s been thinking about it for the better part of the last few minutes, so it will be a good one. He asks:

“How many islands make up Hawaii?”

WHUT.

“I don’t know…5?” I say.

“Wow, that’s right,” he said. But I looked it up later. Hawaii is made up of 132 islands, with 8 of them being the recognized ones. So the correct answer should be either 132 or 8. Yet he took 5 for the answer.

I shake his hand and give him a hug.

“Have a great night,” I said, leaving without looking back.

I walk by Amber which is the only other place I went the last time I was in Seattle. I know they serve food late, and I haven’t eaten yet, so I stop in. There’s an acoustic band playing. The guy is good, doing a mix of covers and his own songs, and I like that his voice has soul. If he does Amos Lee, I was going to be very happy.

So I sit at a bar and order. This good looking brutha comes up and orders a Bombay Sapphire on the rocks. I know he’s going to try to talk to me because he’s been looking at me for a while from across the room.

“What are you drinking?,” he asks.

“Bombay Sapphire and tonic,” I said.

“Really? We’re both Sapphire drinkers.”

We talk and he wants to know where my accent’s from. I’ve been told I’m someone who’s a bit peculiar in that I don’t have an accent. As someone (from my first trip to Seattle years ago in fact) once put it, I talk like a news anchor…completely devoid of accent.

I ask him to guess and I’ll tell him if he’s right. So he’s guessing. Not from Washington, he says, and I agree. He says he wants to say California but he’s not sure.

I put on an English accent. “Are you sure I’m not from England?”

“Definitely not,” he said.

Then he says he’s got it.

“You’re from Alabama.”

I look at him like he’s joking. “Are you serious?”

“I’m right, aren’t I?”

wtf? The deep South?

“Sure,” I said.

He says he’s gotta go but he wants my number. I apologize. “I don’t give out my number.”

“Give it to me,” he said. “I want to see you again.”

“Then if it’s meant to be, you’ll see me again,” I said.

“That’s not fair. Just give me your number.”

“You’ve got to believe in the natural order of the world. It’s the way life works.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Here, I said. I open up my Notes application on my phone. This is where I store all of my observations when I’m out and about. I wrote. “Find Wall-eh. He owes me a drink because he doesn’t believe in magic.” Save it.

He laughs and shakes his head. “You’re amazing,” he says. “I’ll look for you again.”

The last person I met was a guy spitting game in front of people he worked with. He’s what in LA we call, a “douchebag.” He was holding court at the end of the bar and asked if I wanted to join their conversation. He was using the counter like he was mapping out a war offensive. I asked one of the guys he was with what the conversation was about.

“He’s telling us how his game works to get women,” he said.

“You talk to them like human beings,” I said. “That’s it. It’s that simple.”

So this dude who’s holding court comes over and tries to spit game and I’m kind of messing with him, but with a big smile on my face. He’s joking with me, and I’m joking back, but he can’t catch me.

The funny thing is, the more frustrated he gets, the more he starts talking like a sassy black woman. There are 3 Asian girls standing next to me. They’re looking a little awkward and vulnerable, bar chicks. These are the helpless gazelles who get eaten by predatory bar guys. So I suddenly turn to them and ask them, “Have you ever heard of a guy who thinks ‘game’ is talking like a sassy black girl from the South?” Then I do an impression of him as a black woman, “Giiiiiiiirl, why you wanna front on me like that? I know you wanna get a piece of this!” I do it complete with the finger wag and the neck bump. I know black chicks. Somewhere in me, I’ve either got a sassy black chick, or a sassy gay man…I haven’t figured it out yet. There’s actually a very fine line between the two.

But the girls start laughing and they ask me, “Who???” and I say, “This dude right next to me,” and they look and start laughing harder. He walks into their circle and tries to plead his case but now he’s really sounding like a caricature of a black woman and they’re laughing at him. So I say to them, “All they have to do is act like normal human beings and talk to us like a human being. Why is it so hard for them to understand?” And the girls are laughing and agreeing, saying, “Seriously.”

“Don’t reward the guys who don’t respect you or themselves enough to talk to you like a human being,” I said, and they all nod.

To the power of the pussy. Own it. Don’t let guys be idiots about it. For how big their mouths are, half the time they don’t know what they’re doing. We women have to respect ourselves not to accept bullshit when there are guys out there who will treat us as intelligent equals.

The guy’s friends are laughing about this whole thing. When I look over, they all high five me, like this is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen. The first guy who had told me what this dude was talking about leaned over and whispered, “He’s actually one of my customers. But it’s good that you’re calling him out.”

He keeps trying to plead his case to the girls next to me who don’t take him seriously and so he says to me, “You really busted my balls,” and rounds up his gang and takes off. The rest of his boys turn and wave goodbye, big smiles.

Seattle. My God. Can you handle me. I’m a really nice person. But I’m gonna be honest, call things as I see them, especially when I see bullshit.

I’m psyched about tonight. Got tickets to Les Nubians!

I hadn’t listened to them in years and last week, got really into them again. Happened to be looking through the Seattle Weekly and saw a little ad that they’re going to be playing downtown. The Triple Door. Looks like a club with an intimate setting. I’m so excited.

Music and people are my biggest inspirations.

SEATTLE VIA SPONTANEITY

So on Friday, I left for lunch at work to take my brother to the airport and decided to hop on a plane to Seattle myself. I like traveling alone and there’s such a sense of adventure to it. Plus, I’ve always had a feeling that Seattle is a city that I would really enjoy.

Here’s a summary of my trip:

Day 1:

Arrived at 8pm. Showered, got dressed and asked the taxi driver to take me to wherever is cool on a Friday night. He drops me off in this area where there are a bunch of bars/clubs all within blocks of each other. Apparently, if you buy a $12 cover, it gets you into 12 clubs. So I go to one of them but it’s still early so I spend some time chatting with the bouncer about the city, telling him that I’m thinking about moving here. He tells me that the best thing about seattle is how nice and diverse the people are. I need to eat so he directs me to a pub around the corner that is supposed to have awesome food. I go to that pub (McCoy’s) and it’s a quaint little place that commemorates firemen. The only space in the bar is at the counter so I sit next to an old man who stares at me. Finally, he declares that he wants to buy me a drink and won’t take no for an answer. So I’m ordering my food and he’s talking to me about what he does, etc. He’s really nice and a little bit crazy, like someone’s eccentric uncle, even going to the lengths of taking out his dentures to show them to me. I’m listening to him talk about his life and he’s decided that he shall call me Rosebud and then later, he decides that my name will be Sunshine. And I’m apparently the nicest person he’s ever met. At some point, some guy pressed up against the bar between us to order a drink and the old man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “You need to say excuse me to the Lady.” The guy was confused and I said, “No, it’s not a problem.” But the old man tells the guy he’s got to apologize for invading my personal space or he’ll break his legs. So things are a little tense and the guy moves away and the old man finally gets up and goes home. He wasn’t a bad guy, just lonely, I think.

I go back to the club (Fenix) with the cool bouncer and the band is set up and playing. They’re an 80s Hair Band Cover Band and played Sweet Child O’ Mine, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Panama, Living on a Prayer, Cum On Feel the Noise, etc. They were pretty rockin’. I LOVE Seattle’s music scene and this wasn’t even a measurable taste of it! I saw a really hot guy who had the body of an Abercrombie model and the face of Andrew Keegan (10 Things I Hate About You) walk in and he was by far the hottest guy I’d seen all night. We made eye contact and smiled, and he came over and talked to me. Turns out he (Herbie) and his friend (Ryan) are from Wisconsin and they were really nice and fun. I find out that he’s been published in The Onion and I give him major props–hot guy, writes for The Onion, likes hair bands, and acts like the boy next door and seems suspiciously gay? Damn. He’s the man of my dreams. But I’m not really looking for anything on this trip so I get up to leave.

They leave too because they’re going to hit the other 11 bars. I go downstairs where there’s a DJ spinning. The dancefloor is a trainwreck–way too many middle-aged white people trying to dance to trance. I watch for a while but decide that since I’ve had 3 drinks already which is over my limit, I had better check out the other bars before going home to crash. I leave and run into some drunk girls celebrating a birthday; they were looking for the Fenix and so I took them back there, since it was the only place in seattle whose location I knew. I hung out with them for a bit. Some dork tried to talk to me but I wasn’t interested. He mentioned that he was just at a place called Larry’s across the street that was a hip hop club now. I think, “Bruthas!” so I excuse myself to get another drink but instead, I leave to check out Larry’s.

Yeah, as I had hoped, the place was filled with bruthas. Great music, a huge screen playing weird ass videos and the occasional G-Unit video. So of course, I order up a Hypnotique on the rocks, because it seemed to fit the environment. I’m pretty buzzed so I just want to be in a corner and dance by myself, just me and the beats. But people keep coming up and trying to dance with me. One guy wasn’t bad so I let him dance with me, but then when he was gearing up to kiss me, I excused myself to get a drink but just get water at the bar. I came back when he had moved across the room but some other guy came up to dance so I had to excuse myself to get another drink (getting more water). I was feeling pretty tired so I decided I would check out one more place and then call it a night. I went to the club next door and the first person I see is the guy who works at the airport whose job is to hail cabs. He recognizes me and wants me to dance. I’m really worried about my ability to stay on my feet at this point, so I dance with him but as soon as the song is over, I tell him I’ve gotta jet. He insists on walking me, and then tries to pressure me into letting him give me a ride. I keep turning him down but he starts getting more aggressive. Since we’re right next to the Fenix, I tell him that I have to go inside and say goodbye to a friend who’s having a birthday. He wants to wait for me but I tell him no and I go inside. I watch the band for a few songs just to sober up some when in walk the Wisconsin boys. The bar is closing down so they want to know if I want to go with them to an after hours dance club. I agree so we head over there. We dance some but then these two girls from England start macking on them. Being the Leo-Riser that I am, I felt a twinge of jealousy but measured them up and decided I wasn’t threatened;I just watched it play out and didn’t care. The girls kept talking about astrology which I found annoying (surprisingly) but finally, the boys want to go home and asked if I wanted to crash with them and head out to breakfast with them in the morning. I agree and we head back to their room. At the hotel, Ryan says, “You know what we should do? We should all make out.” I decline because I’m not attracted to Ryan on top of that being just weird, and plus, he had already grabbed me and kissed me at the after hours club to celebrate getting in for free. Since Herbie had made so many “jokes” about being gay, I declared that it was safer to sleep in Herbie’s bed so I got into his and we had a great conversation about writing. He tells me he wants to get my number so that we can keep talking and maybe he can hang out when he comes out to LA, or if I want to visit him in Portland (where he’s currently living). Ryan kept yelling over to us, “Herbie, why are you guys not making out yet?” Honestly? I don’t think he’s exactly straight. But I did appreciate watching him change into his pajamas.

Day 2:

I ended up slipping out of the boys’ room early in the morning because I felt weird about waking up having slept in the clothes I wore the night before. Plus, waking up being spooned by the most gorgeous man I’ve ever met is going to completely fuck up my standards when I get back home. I already cry every time I drive through West Hollywood. I walked back to my hotel which was a couple of blocks away and took a short nap. Got up and went to see the Space Needle, which is interesting from the outside, but just feels like a tall building from the inside. I think the optimal way to experience it would be to take a helicopter ride around it. I bet it looks really cool close up from the outside. Then I walked over to Pike’s Market, had some oysters and chowder, watched 1 fish get thrown, and sat on the grass with all the other bohemian types, though I was good and didn’tt ask anyone where I could score some weed. That area reminds me a little bit of 3rd Street or Farmer’s Market because of all the people playing music and all the fresh produce and arts/crafts for sale. And of course, the plethora of yuppies. The one music act I liked was called The Kitchen Syncopators, and they played homemade instruments that seemed like they were right out of O Brother Where Art Thou. Same kind of music, too. Very interesting. I walked around the city picking random streets, just observing the areas, the buildings, the cars and the people. This city has such a good vibe. I could definitely see myself living here. I went back to my hotel to take a nap, then went to dinner at a Japanese fusion restaurant called Dragonfire (?) . I had the 5-spice Salmon which was AMAZING. Best salmon I’ve ever had. Then I went over to the bar/club area and hit Larry’s first. This white guy named Jamie who had an interesting manner and aura about him came over and talked to me and he was surprisingly intelligent and well-read (surprisingly only in that, you don’t find many young guys in bars who can talk about Chaucer). I give him my number and my website address and head out. I drop by Fenix to check out the live band before calling it a night, and I catch their last two songs, Creep by Radiohead and a bangin’ version of Closer by NIN. I fuckin’ LOVE that song. I check out the dance floor before I leave and am dancing by myself, just feeling the beats, when this guy comes over and asks me to dance. I don’t really care either way and I’m not really paying much attention to him because I’m just there to be with the music, not to participate in a ritual that leads to physical consummation. We dance for a while and he wants to buy me a drink. I find out that he’s with the National Guard and shipping out to Baghdad next week. I ask him, “How many times have you used that line?” He says, “Once.” He actually has his papers in his wallet and shows them to me, and I was so curious about them that I read the whole thing under the pulsing lights of the bar. We end up talking for a long time about what it’s like going to war for policies you don’t necessarily believe in, and about how he chose that path, etc. Meeting him was an invaluable experience. He gave me a lot to think about as far as what each person holds important and how separate people’s journeys can be. God bless you, Matt Haber. I hope that life brings you back to your loved ones and your dreams safe and sound.

Day 3
On the taxi ride to the airport, the driver asks me where I’m from. I tell him that I live in LA but I’m originally from San Francisco. He comments that San Francisco is really wild, because there are men there who turn into women and women there who turn into men. I tell him that there are people like that everywhere. He asks me what I am. I kind of laugh and tell him that I was born a woman and will probably die a woman. Probably. Though in hindsight, I wonder what he would have said if I had told him that I was a man. He asks me if I’m looking to get married and how hard I’m looking, and about how in Seattle, men think about futures when they see women. He gives me a rather interesting lecture about how men in Seattle don’t cheat and are not looking for just sex, but if you seem wild, these men won’t go near you. Except the people who use drugs. They cheat. At the end of the cab ride, he wishes me luck in the pursuit of a husband. I give him an extra large tip for his unabashed candor. The next few hours are hell, as I take a flight from Seattle to Boise to Salt Lake City to LA.

But this was overall, one of the best solo journeys I’ve ever taken.

Next destination? Probably Portland… 🙂