March 2005

So last week I was making a spinach salad and I reached inside the bag and found this:

At first I thought it was some sort of freshener, like a way to preserve the spinach in the bag. Instead I realized that I have been nibbling on firecracker residue. Now, this is organic spinach from Trader Joe’s, which is usually pretty darn reputable. A closer look at the package, and I realized this spinach is from the USA and Mexico. So there’s no telling who was shooting firecrackers off in the spinach fields, (although my biased mind immediately blamed our southside brothers from the border) :

Wow, so last night I trucked over to Trader Joe’s and of course they were SHOCKED. I filled out a little form, probably waving my right to sue them, and continued my merry shopping. (They agreed to hand over another bag o’ spinach). Now, I don’t know what’s going on, but I CAN NOT get out of T.J.’s without spending at least 80 bucks. What is it with that place? OK, so maybe the $7 mandarin chicken paired with the $8 smoked salmon is what did it this time, (but not eaten together, ew!). And yeah, we had to get new laundry detergent…and cat food. But high dollar items at Trader Joe’s never succeed $8. I know, I know, it adds up. Boy, does it add up.

Strapped on sassy clothes, (including my trademark GSUS orange hoodie), missed the #8, ran to catch the #2, and was bowled over by a random act of kindness. After leaping onto the bus, I realized I had totally forgotten to bring any quarters. While I was searching every single pocket on me, a nice gentleman gave me a quarter. I thanked him profusely and he said, “Well, it looked like you were running out of pockets to check.” Now, how nice is that? This was a much better experience than yesterday’s Case of the Mistaken Identity. I was walking down my street when this random man about 20 feet away standing on the corner locked eyes with me. I mean he was staring intensely at me, unfriendly, not looking away. OK, so I’m a little out of my game when it comes to street smarts these days. So I stared back at him for about 8 seconds before breaking it off and stepping up my pace. In my mind I was like, “If I don’t stare back than he doesn’t really exist and I can always run into oncoming traffic if he chases me down.” I was almost to the bus stop when he shouted, “Oh, I thought you were someone else, I’m sorry….” Well, that’s a relief, but man, I’d hate to be that ‘someone.’ Than he asked me if I smoked cigarettes I said no and made like I was in a huge hurry to get to the bus stop. Anyway, it was nice that today humanity redeemed itself. (HOBBES STOP LICKIN MY ARM, honestly, she’s sitting on my lap, and I know this is just thinly veiled attempt at cajoling me into giving her wet cat food).
Anyway, my mission was to make use of my one retail reference, a trendy clothing store in Capitol Hill. The sister of Kansas City Kitty owner, Christie, is the shoe buyer for this store. I learned that she, in fact, works at the corporate level. So after showing off my jewelry, kicking down a resume, and throwing out my limited fashion speak, I got her company email address. (A few minutes ago, I hastily took pictures of my jewelry and fired an email off in hopes of corporate fashion opps…or at least another venue for my wares).
I learned today that my house falls within the lowest reception possible at Cingular wireless. This explains why my phone will disconnect two times in one hour while talking in my living room. So no new phone or new plan will change the fact that we live in a black hole. Sigh. You know, I thought all this new technology would be easy…and when I run into hitches with it, I always feel pissed. It’s like our fancy new wireless internet, the thing constantly fails, and when it does I get huffy. (“It’s suppose to work, we’re paying for it, what’s the deal?!”) So now we have this bunk phone, and I’m looking into just throwing in the towel, paying Cingular off and getting an old-fashion land line.
I took in the splendor of Madrona Beach. Wow! I went to the dance studio that is housed in an old boat house. I was very intimidated…I tried really hard not to be but I ended up getting an impromptu interview with the educational director. I’m now on their sub list and I’ll be observing a kiddie class on Friday. I also may take a master class, but I have suddenly become very self-conscious regarding my dance ability. I know it’s a constant learning process, the whole dance training thing. Of course it is, but this place was so awesome I just knew everyone is probably the dance shit here. And who am I? Sometimes I think I should have just stuck with acting, at least there I don’t have to attempt the splits. Whatever, I could be in over my head or I maybe I could actually find a modern dance career this late in life.
There’s this picture on their website: I don’t think I can actually physically do what she’s doing. And yet, I’ve been having multiple dreams where my leg is also perched over my head. Perhaps it’s my inner desire to keep trying, get into classes, audition, lose weight, prescribe to all the aspects it takes to be a dancer. Or perhaps, the boat has sailed, and if I was suppose to have that sort of life it would have happened by now.
I’m sure all these days of unemployment has given me ample time to think about this. I treated myself to a mini-cupcake at Cafe Verita, and a small iced americano, (so much for the weight loss, I love food). The sun is currently shining, the cupcake was so good, I love being back in Seattle.

Just a few blocks east of our home we discovered the secret 34th ave strip. It’s filled with quaint little shops, including the illustrious St. Clouds, (our ‘Saint Clowns’ as the boys nicknamed it), a brewery (yes!), and the totally witty, completely fabulous, Cupcake Royale! They serve gourmet cupcakes for 2 bucks a pop. Ok, so cupcakes are pretty straight forward fare, but there is something truly exciting about tons of colorful cupcakes behind glass. Justin and Kimberly very kindly bought me a chocolate cupcake with mint frosting. It was delicious.
The hubbub sorrounding the cupcakes was interesting, tons of yuppies and their children swarmed the counter. The kids were really excited and the adults were equally festive. I was also impressed at the reasonable price of the coffee.
Hurrah for cupcakes!

Who decided shag rugs were back in style? Does anyone realize how
crusty shag can become over time?

Mounds of beautiful sheets and blankets assaulted us in Urban Outfitters.

Leave it Josh to suddenly get bent over a bucket of pillows…Kimberly
and Ryan assumed dominant positions and I quickly snapped a pic before
our Urban Outfiters madness was over.

A huge growing fatigue has settled itself atop my shoulders. It’s really interesting how being unemployed can be part laziness and part exhaustion. Maybe I should restate that: Looking for a job can make one weary.
It’s also amazing how many people I have seen that I remember but don’t know very well. I suppose when you went to one of the local colleges, were exposed to oodles of other students, and than dabbled in the theater you’re bound to run into vaguely familiar faces. For example:
1 Ariana, a girl I worked at Starbuck in Dillon, CO almost FIVE years ago. I saw her walking on Capitol Hill. She didn’t recognize me, and I let it go.
2 Travis, a video editor from a production company I used to work at. It was the only place I’ve ever been fired from, and even though we got along, how do you approach someone with that history?
3 A few random dancers from various departments, classes, and shows. No one I can remember specifically. But there is a familiarity with each of their faces.
4 A girl I did a monologue project with six years ago was sitting inside a Rudy’s Barbershop. I didn’t remember her name; I just remember that her monologue was about her being a straight woman supporting the gay rights movement.
Perhaps it’s the idea that I want to, in fact, reinvent a new life here. That my old life doesn’t really exist, because…I don’t know. Things are so different now. Colorado mellowed me, took the edge off, removed my street smarts and cred, (assuming I ever really had them). With age, I’ve settled into old comforts. Taking the bus is not a comfort, not after the spoiled luxury of driving a car around. But when I was 19, I took it in stride, taking the bus was IT, and I was fine with that. Occasionally, I’d find a way out of the city, on a ferry somewhere traveling to Bainbridge and I would feel an immense lift. A break from the city was always really nice and welcome.
Josh always claimed that Fort Collins was making us old. And looking at my response to moving back to Seattle, I’m inclined to agree. Here I am, Saint Patrick’s Day, still sick and opting out. Preferring to stay home for the better of my health? What?! Am I crazy? Since when did I care so much about a good night’s sleep?!
And it’s not like I’m pining for the days of mountain views and vast open wasteland. (In fact, I constantly felt like the Colorado scenery was being wasted on me). Somehow there has to be a mix of comfort and convenience within this city scene. A crazy drunk is just a crazy drunk. My old roommate Dena was telling me about this lady who rides the bus and meows the whole time. People will get on the bus and hear the meowing and look around for a cat. When they see it’s just a crazy lady making cat noises, they get kinda embarrassed.

Last night Josh came home with a pair of beautiful New Balance shoes to begin his resolution to start playing basketball again. I know, I know, everyone already assumes he’s a professional because he’s 6’5. (In fact, one of my favorite pics from Josh’s childhood is his freshman basketball team photo). After a series of strange v-mail messages with cats meowing in the background on my cell phone, Ryan showed up at our door. He was pissed because all he had were skate shoes to play ball in.
I accompanied them to the park, which is a block away. Ah, the park…always an eclectic of mix of people. Today it was overrun with kids…tough kids. A pack of middle school aged girls, filled with “No way, girlfriend!” and “Let’s see what ya got!” were all over the basketball court. One of them borrowed Ryan’s basketball, and I watched it like a hawk. I don’t know where my distrust came from, maybe because these girls kind of scared me and I knew they could kick my lily-white ass. We played PIG, we shot the ball around, Josh and Ryan played 21. One of the kid-brothers of the girl gang faked a bike injury, and he had us all fooled for a few seconds. It was pretty classic.
Soon, it grew dark. Conveniently, the street light by the court wouldn’t turn on. There were a lot of kids out there by then. The girl pack had began a full on game of basketball using Ryan’s ball. It was pretty awesome watching the alpha girl boss the others around and beat up on them and say things like, “What? She can’t even fight!” After years of teaching mostly wealthy white kids these ladies were a whole new ‘ball game.’
We watched American Idol, something Ryan never thought he would start watching. And than Ryan began jazz dancing in our living room, which was incredibly entertaining. He inspired Josh to join, and my hope for us all one day to start a dance company was resurrected. (It’s gonna happen, Ryan, Canada or not!)
Today there is a terrific storm rolling into Seattle, and I love that we’re finally getting some NW weather. Kimberly and Justin are coming up from Eugene on Friday, and it will be nice to have them here. After days of submitting resumes, I finally got called back by the Beautiful Dance Store located in Freemont. Here’s hoping

Today I sent out numerous resumes and cover letters. I even filled out a U.W. research survey regarding women’s sexual responses just to get entered into a raffle for $200. I have moments of real hope for some of these jobs…and moments of complete and total despair.
When I visited a Cingular Wireless store the customer service rep was this odd little woman. She kept saying stuff like “shyeah” and rolling her eyes and other wierd tics. While she sat on hold with Corporate Cingular she engaged me in idle chitchat. I told her I was looking for work, hopeful that she might have some good leads. (I’m telling everyone that I’m unemployed these days). She says, “Oh I know how that goes, it took me 6 months to find a job.” Really? I inquired when that was, since I’ve heard that two years ago Seattle’s economy was at an all time low. “Well, I moved here in August, I just NOW got a job.” This was the last thing I wanted to hear. I said, “Well, what’s your specialty? I mean what were you applying for exactly?” She rolled her eyes and said dramatically, “I applied for anything and everything.” Well, crap, that really freaked me out. I can’t be out of work for six months. I consoled myself by recognizing the fact that she was really wierd, and maybe that’s why it took her so long to find a job.

Yesterday Seattle kicked my ass. Of course, it wasn’t planned. I had everything all laid out, complete with a home-made bus itinerary with times and bus numbers mapped out to the finest detail. Of course, I set myself up for failure.
My goal was to visit both dancewear stores within the Seattle city limits. The first store was up in my old stomping grounds, the U District. I caught the number 48 along with some rebellious, skipping class, teens from Garfield High School. I arrived on 50th and realized just how bad the old neighborhood looked. Meth addicts littered the streets, I’m not kidding; They were all over the food bank, the church, and the bus stops. Really unattractive, talentless, graffiti dotted the buildings. I can’t believe I lived here for five years! (And what a difference five years has made). I decided, even before I walked into the dance store, that I didn’t want to work in the U District. That chapter of my life is so huge and vast and crazy, going back there every day would just be weird. The store was a mess, ugly and dark. Different colored hangers poked all different ways, there was no shoe section, merchandise from two seasons ago hung meekly next to newer fashions. The store clerk was unhelpful; the owner informed me that all her employees were students…
I tried to look up an old friend at Sureshot cafe, only to find out that she has sold the cafe and moved to New York. I noticed all the store fronts had signs on their doors: “No public restroom,” “No loitering,” “If you carry a backpack large enough to fit a small cat, you can’t come in.” I couldn’t wait to leave; I arrived on time and on schedule to pick up a bus to Freemont. This was when I first experienced a stinky, alcohol-breathing, old dude sitting in my comfort space.
The Freemont store, in contrast, was beautiful. I spoke with the manager for a long time, only to slowly realize that I had to be careful because she had little product knowledge. The store had only recently started carrying pointe shoes, they didn’t carry Capezio (the oldest dancewear brand known to man), and she didn’t teach or dance herself. I felt a slow despair. Here I am, with this very specific retail knowledge, wallowing in this beautiful store. I felt like I belonged in this store…it sucked having to leave and know that there was no position open and despite my offer to do a pointe shoe lab she probably wouldn’t call me. Managers are typically suspicious of other managers in this biz, it’s that small of an industry.
This was when I got lost trying to find a random dance studio. I fell behind, timewise, underestimating how long my dance store schmooze would take. I thought if I walked down this large hill I would be able to catch the number 5 and continue my diligent plan. While walking down said hill I witnessed this classic scene: Drunk/high prostitute in her 50s dressed like Britney Spears staggering down the street while a low rider vehicle slowly trailed her and the dialogue goes like this: “Get in the car. ” “No, I don’t want to get in the car!” “Come on, just get in the car!” “No, I told you I don’t want to go anywhere! I don’t want to go with you!” 15 minutes later I opted against waiting at the bustop on the hill with this woman…call it a strange intuition, but I just couldn’t handle sitting and waiting with this lady. I continued down the hill and got lost. I was in Freemont, I knew I could find a bus somewhere, but my schedule was all thrown. I didn’t know which bus numbers were which, I was out of my game, it’s been five years. The baristas at Peet’s were useless, none of them knew which bus could take me downtown. I finally guessed and ended up on the #28. I sat between a little wiry man who kept his arm around the back of my seat the entire time (so it looked like we were some sort of couple), and yet another drunk/high fellow who alternated playing a guitar and a zither. I’m not making this up. He plucked and sang his way through several dreary songs and after asking everyone around him if they had any marijuana he loudly protested: “Why can’t we all get along anymore? The world would be a much better place if people just got along!” I moved. I debated, briefly, about how that might look but realized I didn’t care. The bus was starting to clear, and there was no reason for me to remain looking like a back up singer with a drunken musician on one side and a faux bf on the other side.
I felt like taking a shower when I finally got off the bus. To get home I needed a number 3 and I managed to find where to pick one up. I was in Belltown, filled with new fancy condos and fresh paint despite co-existing with hobos and drug dealers. I swear, I saw a deal go down at the bus stop. A police car slowly pulled up and remained parked nearby, an ominous warning to us all. I made a mental note to never, ever, take the number 4–the clientele was terrifying. The number 2 came and left and I realized, suddenly, that I could have taken that bus…but it would have meant walking a few blocks and I had developed blisters from my journey. I waited, miserably, while watching a puppy play in the once-hobo-sleeping-grounds now dog park that has sprouted up since I left.
After consulting the schedule, I realized the number 3 came at 2:15 and 4:15. Of course it was 3:15, I have no idea why the bus skipped an hour. I almost cried. I staggered over to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and wandered around the aisle looking at all the stuff I couldn’t afford. I ended up going back to the bus stop and standing in front of it for a good 15 minutes. I should have broken down and bought some sushi at the place right by the stop. It would have made me feel better.
The number 3 finally came. I sat there for a full 10 minutes before I realized I was surrounded by former convicts. The number 3 stops right in front of the county jail, the courthouse, and the juvenile detention center all in succession. The bus driver was unusually chatty; she said: “Next stop is the jail, gentlemen, they have a new menu for you to try.” She was rewarded with many hearty, “ho ho’s.” By this time I was feeling hot and carsick and angrily thinking: “This just isn’t worth it. I hate the bus. I’m never taking it again. Josh better get ready cuz’ I want the car.” It wasn’t specifically the criminals, I was just burnt out. I think the zither-playing crackhead did me in on the number 28 and I just couldn’t get back to feeling right and good about humanity.
Today I scaled back, I just took one bus to Capitol Hill and that was it. Still don’t have a job. This week was Dream Job week, next week is Temp Service Week. Despite all this, it’s good to be back in the city.

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