It’s hard to concentrate on a slice of pizza when a group of 30 or so naked bike riders goes pedaling by your table. When that happens, you’re faced with an awkward decision: take another bite and pretend that it’s perfectly natural to see a whole bunch of people go perfectly au naturel in the middle of the afternoon on a busy street in the heart of downtown Seattle, or drop all pretenses (and your slice of pizza), grab your camera, and snap a picture.
Three guesses what I did.
Sadly, the best of the lot (meaning those with breasts) had already zoomed on by, so I was only able to catch the “tail end” of the impromptu flesh parade. A memorable experience for our first visit to Capitol Hill, which is Seattle’s answer to the Hawthorne District in Portland. One of those trendy neighborhoods with cool restaurants and shops. We were up north over the weekend for one of our regularly scheduled visits with Tara’s family, and Anne wanted to show us Capitol Hill, so we drove out there Saturday afternoon. Walked around, grabbed a pizza, saw naked people, and experienced the sights and sounds of that area. And while it was cool – I especially liked the variety of interesting restaurants and bars – I have to say, my heart still belongs to Portland’s Hawthorne District. The people-watching was a tie – both areas have an eclectic mix of hipsters, gays, tourists, etc. – but Hawthorne has a better selection of record stores and vintage shops, both of which appeal to me more. And the Bagdad Theater is the perfect place to kick back with a cocktail. To be fair, we don’t have a Jimi Hendrix statue, so points go to Capitol Hill for that one. Then again, Seattle is Jimi’s hometown. Our equivalent would be Elliot Smith, I suppose, though admittedly he’s nowhere near as talented as good ol’ Jimi was. Maybe the area is crying out for a Matt Groening statue?
And also, maybe I’m biased. I love Portland. But unlike most Portlanders, I am also quite fond of Seattle. These past two years, it’s felt like a home away from home of sorts. I could see myself living there if circumstances were just right, so I have no built-in prejudice against the Emerald City. The Portland/Seattle rivalry is no different than that of San Francisco and Oakland, or New York City and Boston.
In any case, we had a nice visit, but I was a little concerned Saturday evening when we heard from K., a friend who was staying at our house while we were out of town. She is relocating from Seattle to Portland (smart move!) (friendly rivalry, remember?) and is looking for an apartment, so she wanted a base of operations and asked if she could stay at our place over the weekend. I had no problem with that once I was convinced her dog wouldn’t eat my cat. Anyway, she had mentioned on Facebook that the layout of our townhouse resembled that of the house in Paranormal Activity. That already had her freaked out, and then a toy in the guest room “talked” to her in the middle of the night. So I responded that I hadn’t even told her about all the weird experiences I’ve had there over the years, which only added to her consternation, I’m sure. Then my uncle Tom, with his usual sarcastic wit, commented, Are you going to tell her about the family that was murdered in your house? They never did catch that guy, did they? You’d think one of the chainsaw dealers in Portland would remember him. Funny guy. And while that incident never actually occurred, several strange things over the years have. Including:
- A tissue box that would fly across the bathroom on its own. This used to happen on a fairly regular basis years ago, but I haven’t experienced this in quite some time.
- Doors opening and/or locking on their own.
- Lights coming on inexplicably.
- A mysterious light in the bedroom.
Best of all, a couple of weeks ago Tara felt like somebody reached out and touched her, even though nobody was around at the time. And the kids, especially Audrey, always talked about hearing footsteps, voices, etc. A lot of this stuff can probably be explained away as an overactive imagination or noises from the neighboring unit, but some of it is just plain weird. I did tell K. nothing “evil” had ever happened, so if there is a ghost hanging out rent-free in the ol’ casa, he’s more of a prankster than anything else.
K. survived unscathed, and Tara and I were back home early Sunday afternoon. Next up: a camping trip this weekend, hopefully with the kids. We have to make up for the rain that washed out our first outing last year, and hope the raccoons don’t get into the booze this time.