Monday, November 22, 2010
So I got back from my short trip from Seattle and can deem it a success. It was a fact finding mission to determine if I really want to move back.
I've been whining about going back since the woman I moved back to Jersey for left my sorry ass in the apartment we shared back in 2007. At the time I was in no position to move back. I had no money and was obligated to pay off the rest of the apartment lease by myself. Getting money from the woman who also signed the lease would be getting blood from a turnip.
So I stayed out of desperation and need. I finally was earning money when I got my current job but it wasn't enough, or fast enough for me to be able to move back in 2008. Gas prices were absurdly high and spent a lot of money on my car for repairs. This also prevented me from moving even within the state of New Jersey. So I was trapped for another year.
Meanwhile I was away from Seattle for nearly four years and was thinking that merely moving closer to work would be a better situation. So in the summer of 2009 I moved to Union county, Closer to work, Closer to NYC. Things WERE a little better. Plus I made a trip to the west coast to determine whether or not I wanted to move back. The trip went well, But it was inconclusive in determining whether to move back. A lot of it had to do with the fact I had my most fun in San Francisco.
2010 started, I was starting to develop new friendships in Jersey City and had some routines that make me think that maybe I'll stay. But then summer came, the weather was Jersey lousy, and some things I hoped would happen...didn't. Also one of my best friends moved to Seattle. hmmmmmmmm.
I spent a lot of money once again on my car so I had to delay my planned trip to Seattle two months. That meant November, Which is the start of the gray season in Seattle. And sure enough, The weather came as advertised. That was part of the plan though. I figured if I can feel Seattle's draw at its worst time of year, I should go back. I think the plan worked.
It didn't really start that way. I mean, It was great to have one of my best friends pick me up from the airport and we had some coffee at my favorite coffee place, Cafe Ladro. I was dropped at my hotel and I was wondering what I'd do to fill in my time before I went out that night. I decided to see a movie.
You see, Seattle is one to best places to see a movie. They have a great selection of movie houses which plays all kinds of movies, In particular places that play foreign films, independent films and classic films. The dominant chain in Seattle is the Landmarks/Seven Gables chain. They took over old theaters, Masonite halls, Private clubs, and auto dealerships to form the finest set of theaters in the country. And the popcorn is to die for!
But I digress. I walked from my hotel to the Egyptian to see the movie "Fair Game". A great movie that encapulates the Valerie Plane/Joe Wilson CIA outing by the Bush administration. It puts in a nutshell the events that led to this act of treason. Now I don't need to reason to hate the Bush administration but the movie reaffirms my feelings. The movie won't be a hit, It's not the 70s where we actually went after the those who try to grab too much power.
Anyway, I called my old high school friend Jon K after the movie to see if he was in the city. Left a message, walked to the hotel and bided my time before going to Ozzie's. Walking to Ozzie's through somewhat shady neighborhood didn't inspire me to move back to Seattle.
But when I got to Ozzie's and was hanging out with my friends Paul and Star at one of my favorite places to do one of my favorite activities. All of a sudden I thought, Why not?
The next day I woke up and did some aimless wandering and ended up at the sculpture park that was finished after I moved back to Jersey. The place was pretty good but needs a lot more pieces of work to justify the removal of the trolley barn (And the ending of the excellent Waterfront trolley line).
Then I walked up to Pike Place Market and tried to find the Cafe Ladro my friend Pro told me about on Union St. Couldn't find it but instead I went to the Cafe Ladro I did know on Pine street and 8th avenue. My friend Jon K called to let me know he was coming into town and while I was waiting my other friend Pro called to let me know he was already in the city. I met up with him and was joined by Jon K and we ate at the newly opened Hard Rock Cafe, Located at what once was a strip club.
After that, I met with Jon K's lady and went on my merry way. So it's Friday night and I headed to Ozzie's again. This time I met up with another friend Rahul and that went well until it came time to be kicked out. Time was, I could hang out with Star and take my time saying goodbye, Those times are over. Meanwhile my friend Rahul still has that clout and I lost track of him forgetting that. I hung out a little bit but thought he left me high and dry. I was wrong. He was talking to his old friend paying his bill. So I went to bed, Alone again, naturally.
So I woke up Saturday still not convinced I want to move back to Seattle. The hotel I was staying at was too expensive for the quality of the place. I checked out because my friend offered his place to stay at. Since I'm cheap and I was curious what Pro's life was like in Bellevue. I wandered around the eastern part of Capitol Hill and had coffee at the Cafe Victrola. A great place that lost a little of its luster. Mainly by the massive amount of people taking advantage of Wi-Fi. It was a trend when I left Seattle but now it's at the saturation point. Still the coffee was excellent.
I wandered south to the gay triangle of Seattle, Or should I say "former" because much of what I remembered from the early 2000s is gone. Sure to be replaced by big apartment structures I'll either love or hate.
I met up with Pro yet again and took him to another cool Seattle coffee place, Cafe Bauhaus. This is what I miss about Seattle and really find depressing about Jersey. Granted the diners in Jersey have good coffee but even a Starbucks is hard to come by near where I live. In Seattle if you see a Starbucks, You just need to do a 360 and see a better alternative coffee shop.
So now I become the guide and my friend Pro becomes the tourist when I show him some of my favorite places of the Capitol Hill area. One of the things I pointed out was a hole in the ground where many places I went to used to be. The Jack in the Box, Twice Sold Tales and others are gone and at least Twice Sold Tales moved to a new location. But Seattle has a bad track record of long established places moving and staying long. The construction site had excellent artwork pasted on its wall which again reminds me how depressing towns like Union, NJ can be in regards to construction projects and empty storefronts.
We wandered up to Volunteer Park. Mainly it was to see Bruce Lee's grave and the Conservatory. It can be exhausting dragging a suitcase up that hill but in that overcast, foggy almost rainy afternoon, I had an epiphany. I got to go back. Seattle is beautiful, Has a lot going for it and basically encourages me to move around. The only time I was stagnant in my years in Seattle was when I lived in the suburb of Federal Way with my girlfriend. It wasn't her, It was the town. I wish I was able to convince her to move to the city but I had not leverage in our relationship.
We walked down from Volunteer Park to my favorite McCormick and Schmicks on the west side of Lake Union. It was dark but the view was still amazing. The burger was excellent. We walked back to the bus tunnel to take the bus back to Bellevue. It continued to rain a little but it didn't bother me one bit. Pro's and his wife's place is in the downtown area of Bellevue. It's a spectacular high rise that was built in the years since I left Seattle. The whole downtown has developed greatly since then, Many of the high rises remind me of the intense development that occurred in recent years in Jersey City. The only real difference is you see tall trees rising in the background as apposed to Manhattan. The fog made the view from the 16th floor dramatic. It's the type of place I always dreamed of living in when I was growing up.
We were tired and were unable to establish contact with my friend Jon but still toured a high rise mall where we had some drinks. We stayed up late just goofing around on the internet, Kind of reminding me of the Sloane House nights of laughing our heads off while trying not to wake up our security guard Gabbie.
On Sunday it was mellow day. A good breakfast in Kirkland started the day. A trip to Seattle, particularly Ballard was in the cards. Pro's wife needed to do some job related shopping leaving me and Pro to wander around Ballard. I showed him the Ballard locks and the Fish Ladder. I showed him some landmarks both personal and public. He showed me a market fair that man, I wish were in greater numbers in Jersey. Then we went back to Bellevue, ordered Thai food and chilled again.
What We didn't see in the fish ladder....
Pro dropped me off the next day and since I came back to Jersey I haven't found much to change my mind about moving back to Seattle. I thought maybe there were but I dunno.