30.05.2014 - 31.05.2014 15 °C
I have an idea about ghosts.
Not about the restless spirits of dead people, though maybe my idea is just a natural extension of traditional ghosts. I believe that one need not be dead to leave a ghost behind, in fact I think we are doing it all the time. We may not even know we're doing it. We do things, visit places, experience things that affect us for our entire lives. Sometimes we recall these things, places, or people as fond (or not so much) memories, but it feels to me sometimes that there is more to it. Maybe sometime we visit a place that means a lot to us somehow - the rose garden where one was engaged, one's first apartment building, the house in a small town where one grew up. Sometimes it may be a smell or taste - some aroma that reminds us of the smell of the blanket the hospital wrapped one's child in after he or she was born, or a wine with a distinctive flavour that takes us back to the first time we had it. We are aware of the memories, but I think that if one were to really concentrate, one can find their ghost, the part of us we left behind in that memory that will forever haunt that place and time as a result of the sheer emotional energy we generate in these moments. Sometimes memories are created with such energy that we shed a part of ourselves and leave it to be rediscovered later, should we be lucky enough - and cognizant enough - to look for it. Passing by that first apartment, one might be able to feel themselves from years past staring down from the balcony, forever looking towards a future they will never know. Smelling that newborn blanket and feeling yourself holding your newborn, trapped in that frame of time and repeating it over and over again forever. I think this is why it has become increasingly difficult to wander around Seattle alone now - I have shared so much of this city with other people, in particular my wife, that I cannot go anywhere now without being haunted by ghosts of the two of us. Of course these ghosts mean us no harm, and they don't mean to inflict the loneliness they create, it isn't their fault. So instead of spite, I simply embrace them and acknowledge them - knowing that their very existence is evidence of the fact that I have until now lived - and continue to live - a wonderful privileged life that lets me visit my ghosts once in a while.
So I'm starting to wonder - is that one of the reasons I'm going back to Australia? To find some of my ghosts? And to leave some more behind to be found in the future?
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I have discovered a flaw in my blogging plan. A flaw born of the fact that so much of the first part of my trip is identical to the last trip. Simply put, I used up all my good (...?...) material last time. Being a creature of habit, I simply have not found much new to talk about. I fought a typical legendary Seattle traffic apocalypse to eventually drag my ass into downtown around dinner, spent the evening sipping and eating, and started my first full day of vacation nursing a mild hangover - not that I drank a lot the previous night but any time you invite the ever-regal Absinthe to join your Iame party that already has cheap red wine taking up all the room on the shitty guest couches, you are courting a debt to be paid to Karma the next morning....
Anyway, as you can see I am a creature of habit, and hence have very few original blog ideas so far that I haven't already milked. This may account for the crazy diatribe about ghosts above, and I'm sure some of you immediately assumed I had simply imbibed in Washington's recent freedom from the prohibition of Cannabis but I assure you that is not the case, I'm simply a weird person.
The hotel was a pleasant surprise. I had been booked into some place called Hotel 5 whose online gallery did it no justice, the rooms looking like someone found out how to weaponize tackiness and blast the hotel decor to the other side of Planet Hip-And-Quirky. Blech. I wasn't looking forward to it but it was cheapest thing I could find at the time close to the city centre that wasn't a hostel or a shipping container. However at the very last minute I took a chance and played the Hotwire game, hoping to gods that I neither believe in nor know about that I didn't end up at the Silver Cloud Stadium which is a cruel joke Hotwire likes to play sometimes and I'm pretty sure is about 147 miles away from Pike Place Market, give or take. Luck was on my side and I ended up spending my first night at the W Seattle.
So how about a hotel review to pass the time between now and Sydney?
The good: the lobby. It's serene and awesome and a bit unsettling with the dark candle-lit setup because everyone is saying "Welcome" in a way that had me mildly concerned that I had actually died on the freeway and found my way to the entrance to Elysium.
Also good: the room, nice neutral brown and greys and cremes which is the complete opposite of the trip to Funky Town I had only narrowly avoided. The view was nice, not spectacular but I wasn't looking over a parkade or drug sting or anything.
However this came with some costs. First: venetian blinds. Venetian blinds.
No blackout shade. Really? Who puts venetian blinds in a hotel room? What is this, rehab? This slight peculiarity lead to my other complaint: me being awoken from a sleep that was already about as wholesome as the infomercial channel between 1am and 4am, by what I was pretty sure was Batman crawling up the building outside my window. It was just some window washers, the realization of which both infuriated me (ok yeah it was 10am but some of us are trying to adjust our internal clocks!) and deeply disappointed me because it wasn't Batman. Lastly, the toilet-paper holder has a sloped lid on it so you can't put your iPhone down when, well, doesn't matter, forget I said anything.
Anyway, this is quickly becoming reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode - in that this whole entry is really about nothing at all, but without any of the clever wit, or humour, or whatever the hell else Seinfeld had that appealed to people. So I'm going to stop while I'm already behind and hope that I have more interesting things happen to write about by the time I get to Sydney. Preferably nice things, but I suppose beggars aren't choosers. So if you don't mind, I think I'll go look for my ghost at the International Terminal at LAX.