When Taylor and I got into the car on Thursday morning, he debated when to tell me where we were going. We decided that as soon as I guessed properly, he would tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
“Okay,” I said as we pulled onto the highway. “Should I guess now?”
“Nnno,” Taylor said. “In…uh. In a little bit.”
It didn’t take long. As we neared Portland, we had to choose one of three lanes. Left lane, Seattle. Middle lane, city center. Right lane, Eastern Oregon. Taylor glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and clicked on the turn signal.
“CAN I GUESS NOW?” I asked.
“ARE WE GOING TO SEATTLE TO VISIT TESS?”
“Yes. Is that okay? Do you think you’ll like that?”
I giggled at him and forgot to answer, because the answer was painfully obvious. Taylor rephrased the question and I told him yes, of course that was okay, of course I would like that, and we settled in for the drive.
Understand that Tess is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. I lived with her for two years in college. She is one of those people who are completely and almost disgustingly capable, all living alone in the middle of a burbling metropolis. You should see her advanced Google-Fu, and the way makes connections in the theater underbelly of Seattle. Girl knows how to work a scarf, too.
We pulled into Seattle at about four thirty, after a short stint at a creepy Denny’s and an unpleasant navigational crisis as we tried to find Tess’ apartment. After that there was hugging and chatting and we met Tess’ rats, who are sweet and adorable and pee everywhere, although this is apparently something that male rats do.
After that was Happy Hour.
You guys, if you want to find the best restaurants in a city, find someone who works for their theaters. As we strolled through Seattle Center, Tess casually pointed left and right. “This is where we have dinner meetings. That’s where we have coffee meetings. That’s where we have lunch meetings. We do our pre-show snacking here, our post-show snacking there, and during intermission, we like to sneak out and get a little som’in som’in right around the corner.” It was like a wonderland of hip and diverse food. Not to mention the hip and diverse people! Everywhere I looked there were girls wearing strappy heels or stylish boots, their hair constructed carefully into lazy braids or buns and their faces displaying the requisite amount of fashionable boredom. Backpacking drifters mingled happily with middle-aged divorcees. Chatting lesbians bumped up in line against pious cat-ladies with crosses around their necks. Listening to the rumble on the sidewalks, you could pick out ten different languages at once, even if I could only identify five of them.
I was admittedly a little city-struck by the time we got to the restaurant Tess had in mind, a sushi bar called Obasan where Taylor and Tess sampled plum sake (as did I! it tasted like a popsicle!) and we chowed down on Happy Hour priced nigiri, only one dollar each. We stuffed ourselves thoroughly, had another little walk down around the Space Needle, and then collapsed into Tess’ studio apartment to watch Netflix and talk over the latest Seattle theater gossip.
In the morning was…surprise! ANOTHER HAPPY HOUR. They have those in the mornings too! I know! I didn’t know anybody did that either!
This was at a breakfast place down in Seattle Center again, with a vaguely Mexican theme. We were going to spend that entire day walking, and so we were ready to stock up on eggs, potatoes, and coffee. Stock we did. I could only finish about a quarter of the massive avacado-tomato-lime scramble I ordered, and by the end I was ready for a nap. The idea of walking anywhere was unconscionable. Walking? Who walks? Can’t we just see the city from the restaurant? Isn’t there some kind of Tourist Channel where we could see the sights? After struggling out of the booth, we made our way to the monorail and downtown. I was already tired, but far too excited to complain.
First was Pike Place Market. Hordes upon hordes of people, milling around, tasting, laughing, shouting, buying, selling, all packed next to each other in a long corridor bordered by fresh fish and blooming bouquets of sunflowers. Tess knew all the best shops to take us to. We visited a hole-in-the-wall with vintage posters and advertisements (and complete copies of Playboy from the sixties!) and a comic store, where Tess offhandedly mentioned that they are remaking Back To The Future and they want Justin Bieber to be Marty McFly.
I couldn’t speak for a full five minutes, and when I did, all I could say was, “Now I know how my father feels about everything.”
I was revived by free samples of Oh My God Peaches and delicious flavored olive oils and we made our way out of the market and down around the shops.
You guys, I don’t even know the name of this shop, but I know that I practically peed my pants when I saw the window.
We had to go inside and get one. There weren’t any other choices. To pass by that beautiful window of candied apples without trying at least a bite seemed like some sort of cardinal sin. If we walked past the door, God would part the skies, look down upon us, and say, “What are you, stupid?”
I selected a Butterfinger Apple, with caramel, chocolate, and something called Tiger Butter which I kind of hope actually is just butter made from tiger milk because that makes me feel like a bad ass. Between the three of us, we could barely finish it.
By that point we were exhausted, so it was time to head to Ivar’s to feed the seagulls.
I don’t have much to say about that except that one pooped on me, right on the shoulder, with a definitive “SCRAWWWWW!” that told me that he wasn’t remotely sorry.
We heaved ourselves up the big hill (Seattle is basically one giant hill in every direction, I think), back onto the monorail, and back towards Tess’ apartment where it was time for…
ANOTHER HAPPY HOUR.
This one was far more traditional, in that it involved actual drinking. And you guys, if there is one thing I am bad at, it is drinking. The only time I threw up from alcohol consumption I had only had four Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s, or maybe it was five. I don’t remember, because I spent the majority of the night with my head in the toilet, telling everyone that they were just the nicest and wondering where my dorm room was.
So we get to the restaurant, a little Cajun affair called Toulouse’s, and we each order a drink. Mint Julep for Taylor, some kind of lemony tea for Tess, and something called a ‘Hurricane’ for me.
You might hear the word ‘Hurricane’, and think that it is a poor choice for a petite girl that rarely drinks. You would be correct, and far wiser than I.
Taylor had suggested it, so I happily agreed, and ended up slurping it down rather quickly. At first, there was a weird spice to it, kind of like eating a candle or something, but then I got very used to it. I was literally drunk in ten minutes, and proceeded to discuss the merits of being single with Tess, occasionally turning to loll on Taylor’s shoulder and tell him that I loved him.
“Yeah, that’s why they call it ‘The Hurricane’,” Taylor said.
“Because it knocks you on your ass.”
“Oh,” I gurgled. “I thought it was just because…just because it has lots of stuff mixed in it.”
Pleasantly drunk, we wandered back up to Tess’ place and watched a movie with Tim Allen in it that I frankly couldn’t concentrate very well on, being that I was suddenly tired beyond words.
That night I slept better than I have in months, and I barely woke up when Tess patted my head the next morning to tell me she had to leave early for work, but she was glad to see me and that she hoped she would see me again soon. The rats, fluttering around in their cage, squeaked at me as I rolled over and went back to sleep.
On Monday, part two! Highlights include the loft of the century and vague seasickness. Tune in!