I should have known that things were a bit screwy when I passed the couple rolling enormous joints. There they sat, a male and a female, on a bench, near the entrance to Freeway Park, rolling big, fat joints from a pile of marijuana about 8 inches high.
Have you ever had one of those days when things just seem off? You can’t put your finger on it, but something isn’t right. It feels like there is something in the air, or perhaps the drinking water has been spiked. Everything goes wrong, everyone you encounter seems angry, and the world just seems … bizarre.
On these days, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make sense of things, and at some point, you just have to drop back and punt. You just have to survive. You have to go home, hide, and live to play another day.
For me, Saturday was one of those days.
I’m not exaggerating about the mound of pot. The quantity I am speaking of was not a “personal amount”. The couple had at least a pound, maybe two, they had dumped it out of a grocery store bag, and were rolling fat ones right out in the open.
I watched with equal parts shock and curiosity for about fifteen seconds, and then I shrugged and made my way toward Westlake Park.
A block later, near the Convention Center, I noticed two men walking toward me. As I was about to pass them, I saw that both of the men were staggering, and I also noticed that one of the guys was bleeding profusely from the forehead. Just like the pile of marijuana, this was not a small amount of blood — it was actually flowing out of his head, down his face, and dripping off of his nose.
“Not again”, I said to my wife, who had already pulled out her phone to summon an ambulance, only to be interrupted by … an ambulance. Apparently one had already been summoned.
Now, when I said “not again”, you probably wonder what I mean by that, and I’ll tell you …
In the past few months, I’ve encountered three separate men, on three separate occasions, walking east on Pike Street with blood pouring out of their heads. I know how it sounds, but I am not making this up. You can’t make this stuff up. For some strange reason, in the past two or three months, always on the southern sidewalk of Pike Street, always while I’m walking downhill, always while they are walking uphill, I’ve passed three men with blood streaming from large gashes in their heads.
For reasons which I cannot explain, the 1/4 mile stretch of Pike Street between 7th and Bellevue is the Bermuda Triangle of gaping head wounds, and once again, I bore witness to one of its victims.
Grossed out and disturbed, we soldiered on.
When we finally got to Westlake Park, I encountered a group of people protesting the “War on Women” (more on this later, trust me), which was interrupted by a group of drug dealers hassling a photographer. Of course, this being Seattle, and the cops in question being SPD officers, the police took the side of the drug dealers.
People who opine that society would devolve into anarchy were it not for the police have obviously never been to Downtown Seattle, where I can assure you that both the police and anarchy co-exist on a daily basis.
Now, we were just out to enjoy the day, and it was not my intent to cover any events. My family and I usually stop at See’s Candy in Westlake Park on the weekends for chocolate lollipops, and this day was no different. I just happened to see the women’s rally, and later, the photographer incident, but I wasn’t looking for any drama. To the contrary, I just wanted to clear my head, relax, contribute to my local economy, and have a nice Saturday.
You know what they say about the best laid plans.
After See’s, we decided to head over to the Market, and as we walked west on Pike Street, we passed the usual assortment of homeless people, addicts, dealers, and … well … you’ve no doubt been to 3rd & Pike so I’ll let you finish the list. Shortly after crossing third, I heard a man yell “Hey, gooks! Go back to your own country!”.
Now, I don’t mention it often because I don’t think it’s particularly relevant, but I am the only white person in my family. Everyone else is either Asian, mixed Asian-white, or in the case of Roger, the effeminate weirdo who lives in my attic, a space alien.
You see, about a year ago, I rescued Roger from a Republican jerk named Stan who works for the CIA and … eh it’s not important.
Anyway, after the man blurted out the “gook” thing, I stopped in my tracks, saw that the man was in a wheelchair, then said “really?”, to which the man replied, “yes, they don’t belong in this country!”.
Now, look, I’m far from politically correct. As a matter of fact, living in the Rex household means making fun of any and all political correctness on a daily basis. When I get home at the end of the day, I often greet my family with “Yo’ niggaz, I’m home!” In my opinion, people who allow mere words to offend them are weak-minded. Political-correctness, like religion and patriotism, is a means of social control. Like newspeak, its sole goal is to control what people think, what they say, and to ostracize those who dare exercise intellectual independence.
While I am not offended in the least by words, however, I am sometimes offended by people being assholes, and this guy, was being an asshole.
I decided to keep walking, but wheelchair man wouldn’t let it go. He kept yelling after us, going on about how I was a “gook-lover” and how we should all leave the country, and finally, I just had enough.
I turned around, yelled “I may be a gook-lover, but at least I have legs, and look at me … I can dance!”, and then I started dancing around the sidewalk like that ‘Lord of The Dance’ guy.
“Hey man, look, can you do this?”, I yelled, “No? Well that’s too bad, it sucks to be you, doesn’t it? Hey, enjoy your wheelchair motherfucker, we’re walking to the market! You want to come along … oh that’s right, never mind, you can’t walk to the market … you can’t walk … well … anywhere!”
By this point, half of the passersby, the ones that heard the man taunt us … were laughing. The other half were looking at me with utter contempt. I suppose they thought I was just picking on a crippled guy, and I kind of felt bad for doing it, but humor is still my preferred means of dealing with pain … at least whenever possible.
My dancing and taunting finally rendered Wheelchair Man speechless. He just sat there, staring at me in complete disbelief. He clearly wasn’t expecting my reaction. When he saw me strolling along the sidewalk with my family, he no-doubt sized me up as a typical namby-pamby, passive-aggressive Seattle honky. Little did he know that, although I’m probably the nicest, most polite person in this town 99% of the time, my ability to be an asshole is the stuff of legend. Compared to me, this guy was a rank amateur.
Let this be a lesson to you all, ethnic slurs are the chosen verbal weapon of the neophyte. Only when you snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper, will you have earned the right to insult me, and this guy … well, he couldn’t snatch much of anything. Hell, he couldn’t even walk across the room. Natch.
After leaving Crippy Boy to his own devices, we finally arrived at the market, at which point we did our usual food shopping. Donuts, clam chowder, the usual. Afterward, we decided to walk over to Victor S. Park to relax for a bit, which means that we had to walk down cobblestoned Pike Place.
Now, I’ve never understood why cars are allowed to drive on Pike Place. It truly makes no sense. The sidewalks of Pike Place are narrow, long lines form on them, and buskers routinely stop people in their tracks. For these reasons, when pedestrians need to go from one end of the market to the other, they have to walk in the street itself. Even though people are technically allowed to drive on Pike Place, I don’t know why anyone would do so. It really takes away from the experience, and it’s a huge safety issue. As a matter of fact, a little over a year ago, a 39 year-old driver hit 3 pedestrians at the market.
As we were walking along the cobblestones, I was talking with my wife about the car issue. I wasn’t yelling or screaming, I was merely holding a private conversation.
All of a sudden, some guy with a beard butted in. “Cars are allowed here! Maybe pedestrians shouldn’t be allowed to walk in the street!”
I looked at him, turned back toward my wife, and said “What in the HELL is going on? What is in the air today? Why is everybody being such an overwhelming dick?”
Upon hearing me say this, the bearded man responded by saying “you’re a moron!”
For the next two or three minutes, the man walked beside us, stride-by-stride, going on about how cars should be allowed on Pike Place and pedestrians shouldn’t, and every time I tried to make a counter-arguement, he interrupted me with a lame comeback, usually to the tune of “you’re stupid”, “go to hell”, or something completely juvenile.
Fed up, for the second time today, I just began ridiculing the guy, mostly by heaping lavish praise on his comebacks. When he called me an idiot, I’d feign being impressed with his wit, then ask if he was bitter about Einstein plagiarizing his theory of relatively … things like that.
I’m not sure if he got the sarcasm, but when we got toward the far end of the market, he yelled “bite me!”, and then turned and walked up Stewart Street.
Great. On this day, everyone was spoiling for an argument.
We finally got to Victor S. Park, sat down, and tried to salvage what was left of the afternoon.
As soon as we entered the park, I was approached by a woman soliciting money. According to her, she and her friends needed money to launch some kind of uprising against the powers-that-be. I was tempted to hear her out, after all, I’ve always wondered what an insurrection would cost, but I just wasn’t in the mood now. I politely declined the opportunity to contribute, and of course, the woman made a few angry comments as she walked away.
At this point, I was just about ready to turn around and go home. When things aren’t working, they just aren’t working. To this moment, I still cannot explain the weirdness of this day. The vibe was just wrong, and when I think back on it, I still cannot figure out what, exactly it was. I will say this, though … I will say one thing … despite Seattleites’ claims of loving the sun, when it gets warm and sunny in Downtown Seattle, people get cranky and hostile. This is absolutely true. Sun, heat, and Downtown Seattle is not a great combination.
Ever the trooper, however, I decided to give it one more chance.
We looked around for an empty piece of grass, spotted one, I sat down, and … oh fuck me … I felt the squish.
That oh-so-familiar Seattle Squish that is familiar to anyone and everyone who dares try to visit any public green space in this city. A city full of privileged white people living out their prolonged-adolescence by refusing to procreate while filling the offspring void with canines.
Dog shit. It’s everywhere. It’s the main reason why I usually don’t sit in the grass in any park.
“Can we just call it a day?”, I asked.
I was not alone. After all that had occurred, it was put to a vote, and return home we did.
Thus ended what was perhaps the worst day I have had in some time.
Now if you will excuse me, the gooks and I are packing up.
When a random man on the street tells you to leave the country, I’ve found that it’s best to just do as he says.