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Note: This was written 8/20/13. Not actually today. FYI.

Playing tourist in your own town is fun. And Seattle affords a tourist experience that’s particularly meaty and agreeable. The Pike Place Market, for instance, is a glorious jumble of kitsch and produce and delicious food and human ridiculousness.

Sipping a frozen strawberry Moscow Mule at Rachel’s Ginger Beer is a singular luxury: cold and slushy, sweet-tart with a little bite. Perfect for this clear, sunny day, an exemplar of Seattle summer perfection.

Robert Smith’s wailing through the speakers, the second time I’ve heard the Cure today (the first was at First and Pike, courtesy of a man-woman busking team. They were playing “Lovesong” and doing a fine job). A beautiful young (probably) Jewish woman is seated a couple of stools down, sipping a pink cocktail out of a pint glass. She’s got dark hair resting loose on her shoulders, an exquisite long nose, high wide cheekbones tapering to a shapely oval chin, black eyeliner applied with slight asymmetry.

As intoxicating as are solitude and open spaces and clean country smells, the city is endlessly fascinating and stimulating—not to say exhausting. The pageantry of so many humans in close proximity, all trying to impress one another and sate themselves and make a living, is simultaneously sweetly poignant and totally fucking absurd. Observing it at a slight remove is one of the keenest pleasures I know.

The outside of my glass is magnificently cold, crystalline structures emerging in foggy white, bringing to mind a frosty winter cityscape and calling up a little shiver. Even the outside of my straw is frozen.

Sometimes experiences are better when they’re all your own. Or, you can look at it this way: In the absence of a designated companion, you’re sharing the experience with everyone. Solitary, apart, and yet partaking in everyone’s day, observing and feeling and taking it in as a porous public self and a silent chronicler of experience.

Yeah, I like the city.

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Global snack time

Globalization is, by definition, an extremely complex phenomenon. There are those who decry cultural appropriation, dilution, absorption, the insidious creep of homogeneity.

In its complexity, though, globalization cannot be said to be simply negative. Along with the above-mentioned detrimental effects, it can bring innovation, novelty, felicitous collisions of previously distinct elements.

“Fusion” cuisine is among the most obvious manifestations of global interconnectivity. Sometimes it works (Korean tacos), sometimes it doesn’t (taco pizza, imho).

I’m a huge fan of experimenting with my food, and an agnostic optimist when it comes to globalization. And so, needing a quick snack the other day, and having fresh mozzarella that needed to be eaten, it was only natural that I should combine it with kim chi.

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It was pretty good.

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