Thursday, September 27, 2012

sleepless in seattle.

i don't own any goddamned polar fleece. as a matter of fact, there isn't a single item of clothing in my closet that serves any other purpose than draping as elegantly as possible over my rubenesque frame. i don't buy apparel that has dry-wick fabric or smart-weave technology. my clothes are just goddamned clothes, they don't "think" about keeping my core temperature cool while i'm running uphill wearing lead-weighted ergonomic toe shoes. despite hailing from the kind of town that had solar-powered houses before celebrities made that shit cool, high performance outerwear is not a real thing i own. granted, i have some REI shit and some marmot shit and some eddie bauer shit, but that's just so i can pass in these mean suburban streets. bitches in evanston probably won't shank you for your jordans, but they will give you a dirty side-eye if you ain't got them new north face chilkat II pac joints with the 200 gram primaloft eco insulation and the nubuck/suede uppers, son.

so melissa flew me and caitlin out to the pacific northwest as a non-refundable birthday gift for herself, and the minute we landed at sea-tac i was stunned by how few black people there were at the airport. o'hare is like a fucking episode of good times in comparison. on the ferry out to bainbridge island where melissa lives i kept yelling "give us us free!" and asking caitlin to call me toby, which she would not. what a party pooper.

being the only black person on an island is a trip. first of all, i thought it was a legal requirement for places like safeway to stock at least one dusty jar of TCB or murray's pomade in case a plane crashes and harold perrineau and his weird son need to keep their afros looking right, but sadly THAT IS NOT SO. what am i supposed to do with herbal essences, bitch? doesn't pantene have that new sista girl line in the brown bottle? would it have killed you to keep a bottle of emergency oil sheen in the back?! good thing i don't trust the man, because i packed seven things in my patagonia (I NEED TO FIT IN, HOOKER) messenger bag, and five of them were african-american hair products. i can't be out here working that telltale "i was adopted by a white family that has no idea how to style my hair" look. i need some definition, bro.
second, at the starbucks on the island the barista looked startled as i ordered an iced green tea rather than the collard green chitterling mochaccino she'd been expecting. same with the owner of the gift shop who marveled in awe as i chose to look at all of the lobster-printed dish towels rather than steal them. at the german bakery i was offered a sample of blackstrap molasses cookies (nice, but possibly racist) and the girl at the ice cream store insisted that i try a spoonful of the watermelon sorbet (hella racist, but OMG DELICIOUS). mostly i just got barked at by a lot of dogs while their owners made the white guilt apology face and pointed out the obama stickers on the backs of their subarus. it was totally beautiful there, and i didn't have to go to work or answer my goddamned phone, which put a song in my dried-up, useless heart. also, when i was standing outside etta on sunday morning in my plane-jamas this adorable girl named nora walked up to me and asked if i was samantha irby, and after running through a mental checklist to figure out whether or not i somehow owed that ho money, she squealed "i love your blog!" and that is everything. i'm totally about that life. so obviously i should move there?

PROS
1 nature is beautiful. bainbridge island is located within the cool puget sound basin and is characterized by an irregular coastline of approximately 53 miles (85 km), with numerous bays and inlets and a significant diversity of other coastal land forms, including spits, bluffs, dunes, lagoons, cuspate forelands, tombolos, tide flats, streams and tidal deltas, islands, and rocky outcrops. there are over 200 species of marine fish in the sound, including many species of salmon (YUM-O), steelhead, herring, and groundfish like pacific cod (TASTY), spiny dogfish, and many species of rockfish. the puget sound has hundreds of species of sea birds, shorebirds and waterfowl, including the tufted puffin (cuties!), bufflehead, western sandpiper, bald eagle (holy shit, SAW ONE), pigeon guillemot, common loon, harlequin duck, rhinoceros auklet, cormorants, scoters, and grebes. marine mammals of the sound include orcas, sea lions (adorable!), sea otters, gray whales, humpback whales, and harbor seals. also, sweet little coyotes and teeny tiny pond frogs that wake you up at dawn with all their melodious chirping.

2 seafood is healthy and delicious. self-described "foodies" make me want to chew off my own tongue and stab my eardrums with a pencil. i do like eating food, though, and i ate more crab and salmon and cod on this trip than i've had in the last six goddamned months. the midwest isn't known for its abundance of marine wildlife, and unless you consider dirty tampons and inedible smelt something you'd want to put in your mouth, all of our seafood (even the fanciest kind) just isn't the same when it's been shipped across the fucking country. and i drank a lot more water there than i usually do, which easily just serves as proof of my gross inability to function as an adult and should probably be withheld from this post.

3 flowers are so fucking cheap. sunday we went to pike place market, and that might just be my new most favorite place on earth. in my dream life i am totally the kind of person who buys fresh flowers once a week (or, better yet, has them bought for me by someone who is IN LOVE WITH MY FACE) and has a need for things like radishes and asian pears, and if i lived in seattle that dream would become a goddamned reality. what am i going to drag overpriced bouquets home on the bus in the middle of a blizzard? NO I AM NOT. but if i could get a brilliant bunch of five-dollar dahlias and sunflowers during a lazy after-brunch stroll through the market my life would be 1000x better. not kidding.

4 i could really get my hippie on. everybody knows i'm the most shoe taking-off bitch on the planet, and wandering around downtown seattle surrounded by all of those frisbees and grandpa cardigans really tapped into the part of me that hates having to wear deodorant and brush my stupid teeth so much.

5 i can un-seat al sharpton as the voice of all black people. or serena williams?  kanye west? that black science dude with the funny name? who the fuck is our representative now?! oprah retired and her network is wack, so is it steve harvey? that black lady on the view?! HELP ME OUT, brothas and sistas. in addition to my new position as "primary suspect for all current and future crimes ever committed on this island," i also would become undisputed Chief Spokesperson for all Black People Everywhere. i could rewrite our entire narrative! at lunch the first day, after the waiter took my water glass to lift my prints and swab for DNA, i turned my nose up at his suggestion of "our famous fried chicken" (oh, for real?) in favor of some clam chowder and half a salad. i totally blew that dude's mind.

CONS
1 nature is terrifying. bainbridge island is located within the cool puget sound basin and is characterized by an irregular coastline of approximately 53 miles (85 km), with numerous bays and inlets and a significant diversity of other coastal land forms, including spits, bluffs, dunes, lagoons, cuspate forelands, tombolos, tide flats, streams and tidal deltas, islands, and rocky outcrops. there are over 200 species of marine fish in the sound, including many species of salmon (oily!), steelhead, herring, and groundfish like pacific cod (greasy!), spiny dogfish (ouch!), and many species of rockfish. the puget sound has hundreds of species of sea birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl, including the tufted puffin, bufflehead, western sandpiper, bald eagle (holy shit, ENDANGERED LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER), pigeon guillemot, common loon, harlequin duck, rhinoceros auklet, cormorants, scoters, and grebes. marine mammals of the sound include orcas (murderous!), sea lions, sea otters, gray whales (killer!), humpback whales, and harbor seals. also, sneaky-looking coyotes and loud-ass pond frogs that wake you up at dawn with all their cacaphonous noise.

2 that fish smell. IT'S EVERYWHERE. and everything is so damp and wet and arthritic. these creaky joints were all "what do you mean, 'walk uphill?' the fuck you talking bout "leisurely stroll?!' we are in pain, idiot." plus misty cold just makes me feel like i have the flu all the goddamned time.

3 where the fuck would i get my hair cut?!

4 i'm not really into white people with dreadlocks and shit. in high school, because i grew up in a progressive community in which we were encouraged to embrace our gayness and our blackness and nurture our inner children, an alarming number of my weed-smoking, marley-listening caucasian classmates chose to sport their version of dreadlocks. OH MAN, i was so glad when they all outgrew that shit and started dressing like walking ll bean catalogs again. seattle hasn't yet gotten that memo. matted blonde heads everywhere, making me so very sad.

5 twilight fan fiction. it's the only goddamned thing i wanted to write! most of my jokes are fueled by the seething undercurrent of loathing that i call "getting through life," but out there in the middle of lush green wilderness all of the people and shit i TOTALLY FUCKING HATE all seemed to disappear into the gauzy fog that enveloped the towering treetops. my shit list grows exponentially by the second, yet gazing out from my cozy bed in the middle of the woods i was like "maybe i should consider poetry." bwahahahahahahaha. could you imagine if this dumb blog was full of twinkling manboys and smoldering wolfmen?! you dudes would drop me in a heartbeat. and i would expect nothing less, because AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

rest assured, chicago: i'm still here. but i came home to a notice that our new management company is cutting the shackles off all of our ironclad leases so they can turn the shit condo or whatever, so maybe not for long. you know black people don't know how to act once they give us us goddamned free. i might take my forty acres and my mule and go live on a mountain somewhere. with my shoes off. AND MY CURLS DEFINED.