Monday, July 09, 2012

Blue skies over Bellevue

Bridge against the blue
Today I went to the mall. That wasn't very notable. I bought a laptop (also not very notable) and stopped for a cupcake on the way back to the hotel (which was most pleasant, but enormous). Then I took a taxi to Fremont to reach my friends who were waiting for me at the bar.

I got to the bar. I was half an hour late. There was no sign of them. My phone doesn't work on this side of the Pacific so I figured I'd wait: perhaps they were delayed. I had a pint of Pyramid Smokey Smoked Lager. It didn't taste very smokey. No sign of my friends. I use the bar's phone to call my friend. I got a message saying I had an invalid number. I had another beer. Still no sign of them. I began to panic.

Some people, when they panic, shake, or sweat, or swear compulsively. I'm reconciled to those things I have no power to change, so I ordered a felafel sandwich and deliberated on whether to have a third pint or not. It was only 2 o'clock, after all. Still no sign of my friends.

It was only after I finished the sandwich and stood up to use the phone again that I turned to face my friends, who'd been in the beer garden all along, and yet somehow invisible when I went and looked. I was perplexed but very happy to see them, and then we went off to Milsteads, Seattle's second best coffee shop, where I had a pint of lemonade that tasted exactly like apple pie, and then we got sshed by a man because he was trying to listen to a man playing the blues on a ukelele. This is normal for Fremont, I think.

After that, we wandered some more. I had to buy some chocolate for my wife so we stopped at the local supermarket to pick up a few bars. Everyone else in the line for the tills was buying reasonable, responsible, nutritious food. I was buying six ounces of chocolate. The man at the till looked at me and said "how do you want to pay for your chocolate" and, possibly in a state of jet-lag-induced paranoia, I felt he stressed the last word to imply that I was a total wanker and he'd like to step outside and pummel me into submission. So I paid cash. He seemed quite amiable enough before and after the word "chocolate" and even gave me a bag to put it into when I was left nonplussed and without a bag, so perhaps it was all in my head. On the other hand, usually shop assistants put what you've bought into a bag, rather than only offering you a bag afterwards, so perhaps this was some weird passive-aggressive way of asking me for a fight.

I'd like to construct a tour de force to match the heights of Somebody Likes Yoghurt (Somebody Likes Chocolate Yoghurt?) but I don't believe my talent is quite up to my ambition on that one. I took the coward's way out of this potential confrontation: I had some quesadillas at a nearby Mexican restaurant, then took a taxi back to the hotel. With my tail between my legs.


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