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One Night in Seattle

April 5, 2017

It was my turn to visit Mr. Canada. It’s a five hour drive to Vancouver, so I was going to go up early Friday and leave Monday. Then I got an interview request for Monday, so I’d have to drive back Sunday. That’s a lot of driving for what would essentially be one full day with Mr. Canada. So, I decided to drive up to Seattle Thursday to break it up. I found a hostel a block up from the Pike Street Market. You know the famous one where they throw the fish? It was only $31 for a bunk bed.

At first, I wasn’t going to tell Mr. Canada what I was doing. I don’t know why. I thought he might worry about me the way he did when I was on the road trip? I thought he might give me an opinion about why it wasn’t a good idea or try to convince not to do it? I didn’t tell him until I had booked the room. I mentally prepared myself to defend my decision and politely tell him that it’s what I wanted to do. When I told him he replied, “That’s a great idea, baby.”

I read it and thought, Huh. Interesting. Why was I expecting him to react differently? I realized, my fear wasn’t about him. I was still thinking like the woman married to Mr. K. I was expecting the kind of reaction he would have had. I’m still not used to being respected as a grown woman, I guess. I mean, let’s face it, I do a lot of stupid shit that would justify concern from anyone. But it’s nice to be treated otherwise. I’m learning that I can be myself and be respected at the same time. I mean, not that I have a choice in being myself. It’s all I got.

Sometimes I’m reminded of what they told me in that divorce recovery group I attended years ago. For every four years you were married, you should give yourself one to recover or some such bullshit. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know I’m still adjusting to not being in the sphere of influence of Mr. K. And anytime Mr. Canada does or says anything that feels like he might be judging or controlling or trying to influence my behavior, I jolt and react and bring out the old frog in the pot analogy. Now when he tells me something he teases me saying, “I’m not trying to frog-in-a-pot you,” with that weird Canadian accent.

I took my time that Thursday morning, hanging out with the kid, washing clothes and packing and didn’t leave until 1-ish. I arrived in Seattle after dark, fighting the downtown one way streets, trying to find the right parking garage assigned by the hostel.

I made it to the bustling hostel, took a shower and went out for a drink. I settled on a sushi place and had an amazing octopus carpaccio dish. It had some kind of frozen, shaved, orange stuff in the middle. The combination of flavors and textures was delightful. I was reminded of what Amy had said once, that the food at Pamplona was losing its edge. Tasting this dish, I thought she might be right. When Pamplona served octopus it was sliced on a plate with a dipping sauce. That’s it. This dish put them to shame.

When I got back to the hostel, I was the only one in the room of four beds. I wondered if, like at the one in the Gila mountains, if I was again the only person there. I talked to Mr. Canada on the phone for a while then went to sleep listening to my rain sounds on headphones.

Eventually, two quiet Asian girls came in followed by a loud girl who took her little lamp and swung it every which way making a spot light through out the otherwise dark room. Maybe she was high. In the morning, the Asian girls got up and moved around like quiet mice. I caught a glimpse of one putting lotion on her face. The loud girl got up and left the room saying into her phone, “Well thanks for telling me.”

I got up and showered, not saying much to the Asian girls who didn’t make eye contact. I checked out and put my stuff in my car and went to explore the area.

I liked Seattle. It was more like a real city. My daughter Lori chose the Portland area over Seattle because she said she didn’t like it. Walking around, I couldn’t understand why. It was full of cool, international shops. The market was fun, if not touristy and overpriced. That’s to be expected. There were flowers and chinese pastries and delights of all kinds.

I decided to walk out to the ferris wheel to see how much it would cost to ride it. I remember seeing it from the airport years ago when I was on the way back from Indonesia. I walked up to the counter. It was only $14 but there was a long line. I didn’t feel like waiting.

Mr. Canada and I had once considered using Seattle as a meeting place since it’s almost exactly midway between Portland and Vancouver. Seeing the city and finding the cheap hostel, I was beginning to think it might be a good idea. We would have fun there. Maybe I would ride the ferris wheel with him one day.

I headed back to my car, climbing steps from the waterfront back up to 1st street. I found a cute little coffee shop and stepped in for a shot of caffeine and a bagel.

It was really hot inside the shop, so I took my coat and sweater off, fighting with the sweater like the ridiculous klutz that I am. My tank top was not hiding the bright pink, floral print bra underneath, so I quickly pulled up the front and tugged down the back.

Across the room, I saw two older men reading newspapers at a long table. By the way the staff talked to them, I guessed they were regulars. They were both tall and distinguished. Well dressed and confident. One was black and the other was a balding Indian man (I think). I amused myself by watching them as they letched after every woman who passed on the street or entered the café. They looked my way a couple of times as I tried to keep my tiny bra in check. I just laughed at them. What a couple of dirty old men, I thought.

I checked myself, wondering at the fine line between the harmless amusement their behavior inspired in me and the fear and disgust it might have just as equally caused if a few details of the instance had been different.

Oh well.

I made it back to the car and asked Siri to help me to the I-5 north. Mr. Canada had given very specific instructions to a less busy border crossing. I got some gas and a snack, made sure I knew where my passport was and headed out, finishing off the audiobook I had begun on my road trip.

Next stop: The Canadian Border

 

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