After our leisurely, perfectly comfortable first date in quirky Fremont, we exchanged a series of messages. Everything was fine, playful even. He told me to get some ski gear as he planned to head to Whistler for winter fun and I tried to arrange a time to see him back in Seattle. The prior weekend wouldn’t work but he said this would be a good one. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I booked a hotel and let him know I was coming.
Never heard from him again.
How does that saying go? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me eighty-seven times, give up. Yes, this kind of thing keeps happening. I keep getting a sense that a guy is interested and then—BAM!—he pulls a Lucy move and yanks away the football.
I am gay Charlie Brown. And it’s like every date is on Halloween. Treat? Hardly. “I got a rock.”
Feelin’ stupid and feelin’ sorry for myself. Hell, it’s not even that. Self-pity passed. Feelin’ frustrated. Feelin’ bewildered. Wish I’d just stop feelin’ altogether.
So what happened this time? Heck if I know.
As happens so often in my life, this is a moment when I think of Pee-wee Herman. (Yes, you know I’m messed up when Pee-wee is my mentor.) There is a scene in that cinematic classic, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”, when our beloved protagonist happily rides his bike and epically wipes out. Naturally, this is witnessed and it is potential fodder for Pee-wee to be relentlessly ridiculed. However, he gets up, wipes off his pants and boldly says, “I meant to do that.”
And so I was faced with recovering from a similar, costlier fumble. (My two-night hotel reservation was non-refundable. Naturally.) I had two things in my favor. First, I love Seattle. Second, I have become habituated to traveling solo.
I more than made the most of it. As soon as I got to Seattle, I made a pit stop in Wallingford. I figured I deserved an ice cream treat and the honey lavender flavor at Molly Moon’s is my It-taste du fall. It was cold and dark by the time I checked in at the Marqueen, an historic hotel in Queen Anne—a new neighborhood to explore (which, yes, just so happened to be Evan’s neighborhood). But cold and dark are just fine when there is no rain in the Seattle forecast. I dumped my luggage in my room and set out on a two-hour walk. As seems to be so easy in this city, I stumbled on public art piece after public art piece. It became an invigorating self-guided walking tour. Great fun.
Come morning, I jogged a couple of times around Green Lake. It used to be that I ran out of obligation, no “happy” in these feet, filling the time by counting cars. Shockingly, morning jogs on weekends are becoming something I actually look forward to. (If I’d arrived half an hour earlier, I could have jogged with Seattle Frontrunners, but I genuinely wanted to do my own thing. Like I said, habituated.)
After the run, I finally got to see the Pop Art exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, a destination I couldn’t slot in during my last two stays in the city. As I gazed at the museum’s lone painting by one of my favorite painters, Arshile Gorky, I actually jumped in excitement. Yes, full transformation to happy feet! I love art. Love love love it! Seeing works by Gorky, Pollock, Monet, Matisse, Pissarro, Lichtenstein and Warhol infused me with the culture that I so miss in my rural environs.
After that, I went for a writing session at the Seattle Public Library although I was admittedly distracted and awed by the funky architecture within. I remember lining up excitedly to go in when it first opened. The library remains just as vibrant. While I walked a couple of miles back to the hotel, I shopped for clothes and stopped in a used bookstore to pick up a copy of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City which I have been longing to reread. I’ll treasure the read all the more, remembering where and when I discovered this copy.
I dined at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Café Flora, on Saturday night. As I walked in, the place was packed and there was an hour wait. Times like this, eating alone can be an unexpected pleasure without any of the self-consciousness. I passed all the parties of two and eight and sat right down at the bar, almost immediately sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio while perusing a menu in which every item was a dining possibility.
Before heading back today, I jogged along the waters at Centennial Park and then did the tourist thing, riding up to the top of the Space Needle for the first time in twenty-two years. I snapped away at all sorts of other public artworks before making my final stop, the unexpected highlight of the entire trip, at Chihuly Garden and Glass at the foot of the Needle at Seattle Center. I have never taken notice of glass art. Ho hum. Not my thing. But Dale Chihuly’s work is of such scale and splendor that I found myself gasping in complete awe each time I stepped into another exhibit area. I took hundreds of photos from every possible angle. Yes, I lay on the floor, looking straight up at some of the pieces that were suspended from above. Normally I wouldn’t have dared but I’d overcome the spectacle of traveling alone; why not conquer another domain? I am thrilled with the shots I got.
I left Seattle without any sense of despair. Evan schmevan. My weekend was exactly what I’d hoped it would be: amazing! To quote Pee-wee, “I meant to do that!” (The exclamation is all mine.)