I am finally back home in my cozy studiio in Brooklyn Heights. The tv is buzzing out comments on Roddick’s First (and last) Round game in this year’s French Open. The ac is whirring in the background as the city heats up to herald the unofficial start of summer. The shredder is churning out thin sheets of paper as I feed it last week’s worth of accumulated junk mail. I was supposed to have been greeted by these sounds last night but due to thundestorms at Chicago (where I was supposed to make a connection in O’Hare from Seattle), I missed the second leg of my flight and had to stay the night in the Windy City. I finally made it back by lunchtime today and unfortunately had to miss a very important day at work. But that ended up being less of a concern as I hopped into the cab and felt my mind turn into mush from sheer fatigue. Nevertheless, the yellow cab and the bright sun were very reassuring after so many days of rain in the midst of unfamiliar transit means out in Seattle.

But I hope that doesn’t give the impression that I not like the city. I like Seattle. I like that it’s a cross between Chicago and Montpelier. There’s an urban oasis in the midst of mountain melting into water. There is the Mount Rainier range on one side and the Puget Sound into the Pacific on the other. I like this state of natural uninterruption — being able to witness fluidity in one’s space, the seeming limitlessness of this earth as far as one’s eye can see. There is that pristine beauty of nature coupled with the modern conveniences of man. There are great restaurants, a gay scene, and a substantial art current that includes museums (although the Seattle Art Museum is closed this time due to expansion), galleries and some theater. (Unfortunately, I was looking forward to Fifth Avenue’s Pippin production which turned out wasn’t showing anymore. Instead, they posted a Les Mis tour which I can just wait for out here on Broadway.) There certainly are things to do but not to the point of overstimulation-at-breakneck-speed like NY. People in Seattle stop and take the moment in and breathe the space. The cafe culture is very strong as it should be. Seattle makes really good (Umbria) coffee.

Hans and I went to Macrina in Bellevue yesterday. I remember how we just sat at the bar and had coffee and morning rolls. He read the paper while I enjoyed my coffee. I know I could have done the same thing back here but I’m sure it would not have been the same. Firstly. I would never have sat in the counter to drink my coffee knowing that I am tied to doing the thousand and one things that I want done back in the apartment. Secondly, even if I did, the vibe would have been so much different. Here, the cafe would have been hustling and bustling and everything would have been at a frenetic, frenzied pace. There, the pace was a lot relaxed, they seem to be more attentive to making your coffee stop better than to serving more coffee cups to make more money. They make the cofee as you order it — grind the beans, brew it, pour it into a cup and even effortlessly make an artful milk drip marked on your latte’s foam. It took more than 5 minutes for our coffee to come but it didn’t matter. I was then in Seattle. I was nibbling at my roll and was being mindful of what was around me and not of what was not coming yet.

I also like the ethic of the city. Beyond people drinking good coffee, I like that people are disciplined and orderly. It still surprises me how people don’t cross the street when it’s a STOP sign lit even though there are no cars around. Hans says so much of the city are engineers and computer people (considering Boeing and Microsoft and Google) which adds to such a strict sense of nerd code. These are smart but socially awkward people who live by a sense of bookish order. I find that sensibility very appealing if not downright sexy. But it seems these nerds are health buffs too. We were driving around Green Lake looking for some stuff and I saw soooo many runners out and about. That was a nice sight. I am an avid runner and it does tickle to see co-runners who are just yummy to look at. Needless to say, I find boys from the Northwest really cute.

The gay scene seems to have exploded the past year. I’ve been there several times now and it has been getting bigger every visit. Of course, the old reliable are still there like the Cuff and Neighbours (or the Crescent of you’re into the really divey scene.) Man Ray and R bar are already old news. New poseur spaces such as lounges like Purr (which I liked because it was different, although quite like the seedy lounges in the East Village but so much bigger and neater and served really good Nachos) and clubs like Sugar (which really was nothing more than an XL copy with a dance floor) and Chapel (which is an afterhours space that seems to have brought the Limelight model to Seattle considering that is is an old chapel they redid into a club.) Also, the bathhouses are there still. It was just disappointing that the bars were not packed this weekend. It could have been that there really isn’t enough of a consuming gay market in this city that the scene ends up cannibalizing each other and imploding on its own growth bubble. But, also, it could just be that all the gay boys were out camping and making their own Brokeback Mountain experience.

The city is beautiful and the boys are pretty but what I like most about Seattle is the food. There was that brunch at Crave. There were many others at Cafe Septienne, an old reliable on Capitol Hill (which is the city’s gay ghetto.) Then, there was that really nice dinner at Lampreia, this fine restaurant at Bellevue (which was right by Macrina.) We did the 5-course tasting menu with wine pairings that ended up being a $300 dinner but it sure was worth it. The courses (which we began with a glass of champagne each) included dungeness crab served in a honey wrap; kobe beef (which Hans emphased was different from kobe-style beef) served carpaccio style with quail egg and a wafer; a poached duck egg with foie gras infusion; sea bass with potatoes; and chukar strawberries filled with white mousse and a tapioca pudding concoction. We also had a cheese plate infused with vanilla on a cedar server. Of course, coffee capped the whole meal. It was just divine. Most memorable too was the dinner that Hans made on my last night. He prepared a nice, fresh, pink slab of Copper River Sockeye Salmon (apparently available only for 3 weeks at a season) served with a pasta with gin and lemon sauce and fiddle head greens (a local fern). I love sharing fine meals with good friends. I believe they strike at the heart of what good times mean — an opening of the senses, a savoring of the moments, shared satisfaction, a definite ending.

I just had tv dinner tonight and am looking to make some tea that hopefully will put me to sleep. (I only have a few hours to go before I get to work so taking some Ambien probably would not be a good idea since it would knock me out till lunchtime.) I do miss my weekend vacation but I am happy to be back in this apartment that serves microwavable meals in this city of stressed-out people living hectic lives. This is familiar and here is where I want to be right now, where I fit in, where I find a home for my restlessness.

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