Banner image: A screaming low-res Godzilla.

The Seattle Way

I’m working at a coffeeshop today for the first time since the pandemic closed everything down. It’s a gorgeous day, sunny, bright, and not too hot. The city has been tooting along for a while now, partially open, plenty of places to buy coffee but no place to sit and enjoy it. Sitting here, it seems to me that this is the closest to normal Belltown has felt in a long while. Traffic rushes by steadily, locals are here with their laptops, and our tourists are down at the hacky Pike Place Starbucks instead of crowding the better places. The baristas sound excited to see their regulars. There’s energy here! Coffeeshop energy! It’s like working in the center of a hive, and I love it.

The speakers are playing: Joy to the world! To all the boys and girls! Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me.

The windows are open to the tree-lined street. The burr grinder next to the espresso machine is growling like a cranky civet cat. And there’s a guy to my left on a literal conference call, trying to out-shout the music. His lack of manners should annoy me, but it feels downright nostalgic. Pre-pandemic, there was always that one guy in the coffee shop. These days, anything non-pandemicky feels like a return to happiness.

Someone just turned the music up higher! LOL. Bring back that Seattle passive aggression. I’m here for it.

I remember this feeling. This Seattle feeling. We the people of the coffeeshop community want to take turns smiling thinly at conference call man and giving him looks that say, Can you fucking NOT? Unfortunately, conference call man won’t look up from his screen. So instead we will silently and collectively hate him until the end of time. It would never occur to us to say anything out loud, and if he says “Am I bothering you guys?” we’ll quickly shake our heads and insist it’s fine.

But our eyes will say: It is SO not fine.

This is the Seattle way.

Finished reading: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto 📚

The Seattle Central Library is open! 📚Three floors of it, anyway.

The library entrance with green bushes and trees framing the shot.

A tall yellow escalator stretches toward a square of glass roof.

Rows of library stacks with one patron choosing a book. He's wearing a black cloth mask.

A crosswalk sign covered in graffiti stickers. One is of Frasier Crane and he's saying: I'm listening...

25 Days of Quitting Twitter

A journal, presented in its original form.

June 1, 2021

I quit Twitter four days ago. The sun is out, and we drank cappuccinos at a cafe. My latte was unexpectedly beautiful, with swirly floral patterns in the foam. I almost took a photo before I remembered there was no need. Twitter liked my coffee photos but likes are something I no longer collect.

I admired the coffee and drank it.

Across the table, my husband looked nauseated. I asked him what was wrong. Twitter had just shown him a video of a man slitting his own throat.

June 8, 2021

My mind feels clear today. The buzzy, twitchy, anxious feeling I’ve been living with is gone. My fingers keep trying to open Twitter without my conscious consent. I blocked the URLs so I keep seeing the same page: SITE NOT FOUND. SITE NOT FOUND. SITE NOT FOUND. Have I been conditioned like one of Pavlov’s famous dogs?

Woof woof, motherfucker.

Woof woof.

June 10, 2021

I used to believe I could manage Twitter to make it less distressing. But I couldn’t. On my last day – the day I found the strength to leave – I typed three characters into the search bar and a familiar name popped up. An actor I like. With total innocence, I wondered, Oh? Is he returning to Doctor Who?

I clicked.

No, he wasn’t returning to Doctor Who. The actor had been whipping his penis out on set and his name was trending. Yuck! Why did Twitter dangle that information in front of my face? I wasn’t asking for it. I wasn’t looking for it! But they’d weaponized the search bar. When I denied them my disgust, my outrage, my frustration, they found new ways to pull me in.

It’s tempting to dismiss these small moments of yuck. But the yuck is built in. Twitter is akin to a tasty meal where every so often the restaurant owner shoves a spoonful of excrement into your open mouth.

AHA! GOT YOU! Ahem… I mean… You know you can mute certain terms, right? It’s not our fault if you’re distressed.

Fool me a thousand times, shame on me?

I’m done eating Twitter’s shit.

June 13, 2021

What’s different now? More than I expected.

  • I sleep more deeply.
  • I can comfortably watch TV or read a book without looking at my phone.
  • I feel neutral most of the time. This is way better than it sounds.
  • I’ve resumed old hobbies I thought I didn’t have the energy for.
  • My mind is clear. The only thoughts in my head are the ones I consented to!
  • I no longer feel a constant creeping dread about the world. (I am still aware of the world’s problems.)
  • My attention isn’t like light scattered from a disco ball. Now it’s a flashlight. And I control my flashlight!

Still, it’s strange to be so affected by something most people see as no big deal. Did Twitter act as an addictive stimulant in my brain? Probably. There was no warning on the package. No after school special.

Just memes and clever people holding forth.

June 22, 2021

My fingers still occasionally type TW+ENTER when my mind is empty. And I wonder: How long will it take for those neural pathways to change? No matter. My URL blocks will continue to hold, and the unwanted reflex is fading away.

In five days I’ll celebrate my month of quitting with a fancy coffee drink. At no point will I see horrific images. And if a famous person is swinging their dick around like a helicopter blade, mercifully, I will not know.

Lately, I like to watch the little birds zooming around while I drink my coffee. They swoop down looking for breadcrumbs. Later, half-hidden in the leafy trees, they tweet.

I’m intrigued by Robin Sloan’s proposal to Just Link!

About six months ago, I changed the way my email newsletters work. Instead of including the entire body of the (often substantial) dispatch in the email, I now send out a link to a lightweight web presentation.

Liked: The Formula For An Episode Of Murder, She Wrote

I adore Murder She Wrote and don’t find it too formulaic, but this gave me a chuckle.

I went up to Capitol Hill for a haircut and saw a sign that said: It’s a beautiful day in our gayborhood. Indeed it was. Happy Pride Month! 🌈

The Quiet Place Part II was scary and smart. I especially loved how the second movie enhanced the first movie. I haven’t seen a sequel pull that off since Aliens. 🎥

Important information from the Audubon Society: What’s the Difference Between a ‘Borb’ and a ‘Floof’?

But just as every bird is not a birb, every birb is not a borb. 🐦

It’s raining… But is it raining ENOUGH? 🌧

There’s been a lot of hubub in the financial news about inflation. And yup, we did the math; our post-pandemic roadtrip cost nearly twice per day what our pre-pandemic road trip did. Food costs increased the most, but hotels were high too.

Another post-pandemic first: Going to the movies! In the Heights was excellent. I’d planned to see A Quiet Place II but I figured our first movie out should be something cheerful. Besides, P loves musicals.

I enjoy them, but they always feel so loooooooong. 🙃

At the Market

Yesterday’s sunset.

Dramatic silver clouds shaped like an anvil over blue water. An oil train speeds by in the corner of the frame.

Colorful tubemen flail and dance in a store window in front of a silver backdropA second view: Colorful tubemen flail and dance in a store window in front of a silver backdrop

Liked: Issue 177 : Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy

Pioneer Square, Seattle.

An assortment of city buildings, old and new, glass and brick. One tall brick building has a fire escape zig-zagging up the side.

Nightclub enthusiasts are weighing in on public health matters. 😂

A crosswalk button in Seattle has a sticker on it that says: vaccinate so we can fornicate

Watching: Castlevania Season 4 🎥

Pike Place Market and Seattle Center were overflowing with tourists today. Tons of shops were open! They even had a guy with a megaphone directing foot traffic for the Space Needle.

Welcome back, travelers! Spend money, drink our coffee, eat our food, and enjoy our city. 👍🏼

Local Graffiti 😂

A banner with the space needle is scrawled with the phrase "Frasier Rules"

New Post: Back to Life

Tonight’s movie: Army of the Dead 🎥

I like Tig Notaro, Dave Bautista, zombies, heists, and Las Vegas. So I’ve been looking forward to this!

I’m having one of those “every technology I touch stops working” days. 😩

If a nuclear reactor starts to melt down, just rub me against the building until it stops.