Sunday, February 13, 2011


Years from now, I'll be sitting in my split level ranch and one of my dear children, who will be holed up in the den, watching television reruns in a shockingly unsupervised manner, will call out, "Mom, did you ever watch the show 'Portlandia?' when you were young?" 

And I'll twirl a swizzle stick in my for 4-loco martini ('mommy's afternoon helper', my invention,) and reply, "Watch it? Honey, mommy lived it."

It will take some serious effort on my part to explain to my children of the future how, when I was a quarter century old and living easy in Seattle, it was impossible to just stay cool. Keeping it real was simply not an option. One had to be hip. It just happened. Trust me, I tried to resist it. Big time. 

Last Friday, Melina "Born to Folk" Coogan, dragged her barely-consenting friends to a night of hardy sea chantey singing.

I swore up and down that this priceless event would be held on a sail boat; that we'd sit under thick blankets and drink from a flask.

That's not really how it went down. The Center for Wooden Boats is rebuilding their ramp which limited access to the boats. Or something. Poor excuse (hello? I can swim?) Instead, the chanteys were sung the basement of a Lutheran Church. AND LET ME TELL YOU, if there's ever a time and place to feel immune to the pervasive hipness of Seattle, it's in the basement of a Lutheran church, singing about pirates with the good folks of the maritime heritage center.

Of course, it goes without saying that I was happy as a clam. I could have stayed there forever. And, in my family's long standing history of exhibiting inappropriate behaviors in churches, (Solidarity, mom, Aunt Priscella and cousin Ali, and to all the people present that day at the UU church in Woodstock, we're still sorry) I drank three beers in the absolutely dry venue and got a talking to.

The singing subsided at 10:00pm, an acceptable time to call it a night if you ask me.  But then you step outside and get a breath of fresh air, and you shake off the dingy basement and the Lutheran, and the rain is just so emo, and you are downtown after all, so you decide to just stop in at a late night coffee shop.

And then you sit there, and after you get that second soy latte in you, who knows what you're going to do! Suddenly, you're on the freeway, and you're blasting The Decemberists, and you pick up some more friends along the way, and there's no stopping you now. Next thing you know, you're in capitol hill, you're riding a fixed gear and getting your hair cut like a boy.

There's no stopping it.  If you lived in Seattle in the 2000's, it just happened. There was no stopping it.

(11:00pm, Cupcake happy hour, 6 cupcakes for the price of three. We don't actually want 6 cupcakes, we didn't even want one. But then again, we didn't buy them for eating. We bought them to bring around in a box. We treated them humanely. We cultured them and showed them art. We engaged in debate with them, existentialism, the nothingness of being; human or pastry, what does it matter.)

Seattle, if you were a waterfall, I'd run you backwards and forwards and then I'd swim at the hole in the bottom. And that means I love you.

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