Not that I really need an excuse to go somewhere, but it’s nice when someone offers one. That’s just what I got when a friend decided to have her wedding in Seattle and invite me. Between work and school it’s hard for me to take a trip, but this was one of my oldest and dearest friends, and the pacific-northwest is awesome. So I checked the box marked “Attending,” or whatever the actual  wording was, then worked my ass off so I could enjoy three days of school-free fun. And I did enjoy those three days!

This was not my first trip to Seattle. My dad lived just south of their for four or five years when I was in middle school, not that I was in middle school for four or five years, that was just the best way I could think of to describe the time in my life when I made frequent trips to Washington. Anyway, there was other family out there so most of the time was spent hanging out with them and doing that whole thing. So we only went to Seattle once where we went to the top of the Space Needle (and since I don’t care for heights, once is enough) and rode the monorail (or as Dagger thought I said in Vegas: mono mean one, rail mean rail). So I didn’t need to do those things, but I did want to spend some time in downtown Seattle. I booked an extra day and researched things to do. I was looking forward to this trip even more now.

I wanted that extra day, and as much of it as I could get so I found the earliest flight I could that didn’t make me seem like a mad man, really who needs a 6 am flight for a vacation? I took the 8 am one. But I didn’t want to pay for parking so I took the bus, and the extra hour commute. Maybe I was a mad man after all. Oh well, it was free and I got to listen to more podcasts. And really is there a better way to start a vacation than listening to half the cast of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” talk about taking a dump in Marc Maron’s bathroom? I think not!

At the airport I met up with an old high school friend, Amie, and her husband, Kevin, who were also going to the wedding and were coincidentally on the same flight. However, I still had to sit alone (well, with strangers) on the plane, while they sat behind one of the bride’s aunts. Apparently the great Colorado was going to be well represented at this wedding.

The plane ride was uneventful and when we landed I offered Amie and Kevin a ride since we were going to the same area and I rented a car. That’s when they offered lunch and how could I refuse that? Not like my plans of hanging out in the city were set in stone. Also I was looking forward to the company.

The car rental place was out of the mid sizes like I requested so I got bumped out to an Impala. That’s right, I was ridin’ dirty. Ok, I don’t know what that means, but I enjoyed saying it!

Once I had the car it was time to try my hand at the unfamiliar freeway system, which I assumed wouldn’t be that different than what I take every day, but Seattle decided it would be best of some exits were on the left side of the freeway. Eventually I got used to this and whatever else seemed odd about the highway, on my way to the airport on Sunday.

After a series of wrong turns and some of the steepest hills I have ever encountered, we arrived at Amie and Kevin’s hotel where we parked the car then set out on foot towards Pike’s Market. Walking in downtown Seattle was another new experience. Apparently Seattleites, not to be confused with satellites, don’t jay-walk. Despite the lack of traffic, they wait for the red hand to become a white man. Then and only then do they cross the street. That’s not how we do in Denver, unless you’re my mom. Every time we would cross during the red hand we were glared at as if we were the only white folk stepping into an all black bar. So we attempted to blend in and stopped with everyone else.

Finally, after what was an unnecessarily long walk, we made it to Pike’s Market and all the fresh fish, fresh produce, and fresh flowers you could possibly want. Actually, the amount of flowers seemed excessive, but what I do know about flowers? The answer is very little. But I was on the coast and that meant fresh seafood. I got a crab sandwich and listened to some street musician play a sea-shanty version of “The Fields of Arthnenry” while catching up with Amie. Though we chatted at the reunion two weeks earlier, so there wasn’t a lot to say. But it was a pleasant lunch.

After lunch we parted ways as they were taking an underground tour of Seattle and I had a ticket to the Experience Music Project or EMP, and I was eager to check that out. When I was researching what to do in Seattle I remembered hearing about the EMP and so I asked a few people and they said I should totally check it out. After such glowing reviews I couldn’t wait to see the place for myself.

I suppose the best way to describe the EMP is as an interactive museum. There were music displays like a museum, but there were sound stations to listen to music related to the exhibit, there was a giant screen playing classic concert footage, and an area with playable instruments connected to touch screens with mini lessons. I saw guitars from every era then learned to play a C scale on the keyboard!

One thing I learned, or realized at the EMP is how the right presentation can make anything interesting. Their main exhibit at the time was dedicated to Nirvana. This is a band I have no real interest in. Like the Beatles I appreciate what they did for music, but ultimately I don’t care about their music. But I was totally into this exhibit. Suddenly I wanted to read everything about Nirvana. I think what helped was it wasn’t just about Nirvana, it mostly was, but there was a lot about other bands at the same time doing more or less the same thing but they just did not get the attention Nirvana got. There was a part about the thriving pacific-northwest music scene, pointing out the important bands in the tri-state area. I enjoyed this solely because there was a map with a label that read “Boise Scene.” Apparently, there was once a respectable music scene in Boise, Idaho. I find that amusing.

The EMP was just such a neat place and I wanted to stay there forever, but alas they closed and I was forced outside where there wasn’t constant music. I didn’t know what to do with myself once it was closed, so I just started walking around Seattle Center Park. Nothing special about this park, it was at the base of the Space Needle and it had a sweet fountain. I sat at the fountain and took it all in and I had one of those moments where I knew I was happy. I often get hung up about the things I don’t have , but this moment I was aware of how great the things I do have are. All things considered, life is pretty fucking sweet!

I was supposed to pick someone up from the airport, but had some time to kill, then I got a text letting me she was going to be late. So I had more time to kill. I made my way back towards the Pike’s Market downtown area where I found a brew pub, so of course I was going to try it. I called Amie and Kevin and they came and met me for some dinner. This place, which I believe was calling itself Pike Pub and Brew, had some decent beers, nothing that really stood out, but they had a delicious fish and chips. It was halibut for those of you keeping score for your fantasy blog league. I was still on a high from the EMP, and now had beer coursing through me. I was even happier and ready to make the airport run.

The airport run was easy-peasy, and now I had a new travel companion, Emily. We were both trying to save some money, and her boyfriend couldn’t make the trip so we split a room. Emily and I went to school together since kindergarten but were never that close. In high school we had several mutual friends but still never really knew each other. I wasn’t sure what to expect in sharing a room with her, but I was excited to make a new friend.

We got to our hotel, I cracked a beer. It was a Henry Weinhard’s. I hadn’t had one of those since Dagger and I shared an apartment five years ago, but it’s a northwest beer so there was a variety of them on the shelf. I was in awe and couldn’t help myself. But with that first sip it hit me that I had been up for a long fucking time. I finished the beer and went to bed. Decided Emily and I could catch up the next day, which we would spend with friend of CJS, Tron, his wife was in the wedding so we got to play with him while she had things to do.

Eventually we both got up and got motivated and decided to try to breakfast buffet in the hotel. Breakfast buffet is an awesome and dangerous thing. Breakfast foods are the best foods and this buffet had everything and I wanted it all, but my stomach would not let me have it all! Somehow even the cold cereal, which I eat daily, looked super awesome! Emily picked up the tab on this since I had rented the car and gave her a ride from the airport. Being the one to rent the car turned out to be a great way to get free meals.

Now enjoying a minor food coma we waited for Tron to show up. This entailed me forcing Emily to watch midget wrestling while we contemplated what to do with our Tron time. Between the midget wrestling and the speed metal station I found in the car the night before, I don’t think Emily was enjoying my company as much as she had hoped.

Once Tron showed up we piled into the car and made our way to Red Hook Brewery. This was actually Emily’s suggestion, I didn’t think she drank, I was surprised and excited. I didn’t think I’d visit any microbreweries on this trip and now I was going to visit my second one. Hooray beer!

Armed with directions we wrote down from Google we were on our way, until we tried to change highways and the one we needed was closed. At home that’s no problem, theoretically you know a back up route. In an unfamiliar town you get to go on an adventure. Tron pulled out the iPhone and we found a way that involved many wrong turns. But eventually we got there and hopefully we could figure out how to get out of there later.

We attempted to take the actual tour but that didn’t start until one and Tron had to pick up the bridal party at two, so we were forced to only do a tasting. Shucks! Red Hook has a really tasty ESB and a pretty swell Oktoberfest. This is definitely a beer I would drink again. And I did later that night at the wedding. Tron picked up the check here, seriously renting the car was a great investment. And despite the beer consumption and kooky route there, we found our way back in time for Tron to get the bridal party. I would say that was a successful outing. Which of course wouldn’t be complete unless I followed it up with a nap, so I did that. I think Emily went for a walk or something, or maybe she napped too. I don’t know what was going on.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t end poorly where I sleep through the wedding. I got up and got ready in plenty of time. Enough time even that I was able to enjoy another Weinhard’s as I tried to get the CSU score from the espn bottom line. Yeah like espn gives a single shit about CSU. So essentially I drank a beer and watch two college teams that I don’t give a fuck about. At least I had beer.

I’m not going to say a lot about the wedding because aside from a few details that make them unique and special, they’re all about the same. But I have to talk about the venue. It was awesome. It was a forest and there were a bunch of tree houses. It felt like Return of the Jedi, in fact Tron, the other nerdy guy, and myself made several references to this and waited for an Ewok to show up. It was beautiful.

At one point I had a Hart to heart with my friend’s husband, and found out we were better friends than I thought. That was nice. Between him and Emily I made new friends with some old friends. I call that a win.

I danced my ass off at this wedding and then I realized that I only dance at every other wedding. Dagger’s wedding I didn’t really dance, though this was mostly due to Men’s Warehouse giving me pants that were too big and would fall if I danced. A few weeks later at another wedding I was all over the dance floor. The one after that, not so much on the dance floor. Tron’s wedding, I shook my groove thing. Wasn’t out there at Keithage’s early this year. Then this one I was out there. None of this was a conscious effort, it just happened. The next wedding is January, so we’ll see what happens then.

I awoke the next day with a scratchy throat which I blamed on the half a cigarette I smoked but would later come to realize was the start of a cold. I spent the morning hating myself for drinking and smoking. Took Emily to the airport. I was really happy I got to hang out with her and know her more. She’s a-ok. Then I traversed the Seattle freeway system again and had lunch with the newlyweds and a few others at their lovely home. It was a good way to close out my time in Seattle. I’m glad they had their wedding out there and invited me.

I wish I could say that’s where it ended and I got home with nothing else to share, but I can’t. The flight home had a couple interesting moments, nothing with the plane itself, that was a smooth flight. I was seated next to a girl I didn’t know but remembered seeing at the wedding. Colorado really was well represented at this wedding. She used to work with the bride and she was very nice and totally cute. That was the pleasant part of the flight. The sucky part came when I tried to leave the lavatory. Upon opening the door as I tried to exit I was greeted by a young man who had vomit down the front of him and nicely on the floor between him and me. I was able to step to the side and let him into the bathroom, but the flight attendant was making her way back up with the drink cart and uh-oh, no where to go with the cart. That meant I was trapped up there. Enclosed between vomit and a door that only leads to 60,000 feet above the ground. How did I get so lucky?

This was the second time this year that someone near me in an airport or on a plane has vomited within my vicinity. That’s twice out of the two trips I’ve taken this year. Four airplanes, three airports, and two cases of vomiting. Oi vey.

Still what a wonderful trip and if for some reason I felt the need to leave this amazing state I call home, I would probably head that direction and stake a claim in Washington.

See ya in the dreary rain…

lee.s.hart@crujonessociety.com

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