Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sad Songs/Make It Better/I Thought I'd be writing about 2015 (one)

The Beatles are on Spotify, and Pandora now.

I know this because of Caffe Vita, because of Eastern Cafe, because of passing strains in the mall, passing retail stores where very thin people feel like there's too much of them, even in the food court. 

I'm not complaining about The Beatles. . . especially when Yesterday comes on, which is largely recognized as one of the best, saddest, most heartbreaking but uplifting songs to exist. I get it. I'm just noticing that it feels like 1996 again, when the anthology and the "new" songs and Oasis were all over the radio and I enjoyed it all but felt disconnected from my generation. 12 year olds, 16 year olds getting really into The Who, often less for individual songs than the black and white footage of Mods. Were The Who better than whatever was on the radio at the time? Maybe, probably, doesn't matter.

Being so very suceptible to nostalgia, I guard myself against it. When I saw a whole generation sighing wistfully for something they didn't even experience, I couldn't help but roll my eyes-- I also "missed out" on swing dancing*, victorian chic, craft/scratch cocktail culture**, and many other things. Got a little into the Garage Rock Revival, but even then, the bands that felt like pastiche of older styles without any new voices tended to leave me cold; but then that's the point of revivals-- replicating, not making new.

So it's easy for me to steel myself against nostalgia to the point of cynicism. Ironic, considering that it's a lovely day, the songs are pleasant, (I really do love "Octopuses Garden"-- Ringo haters can bite it) but those sudden flashes of the "Free As A Bird" music video threw off my plans to start a semi-comprehensive and inevitably incomplete look back at 2015.
We'll see just how nostalgic I get about that.

*I realize some of these things were also just discoveries of fun activities, not necessarily nostalgia
**Or delicious drinks. Like the drinks, but you can keep the culture.

Monday, 21 December 2015


Rain always on the edge of snow and my instagram feed fills up with pictures of evergreens mounted with shiny baubles, LEDs strung on walls, by windows, outdoors. Your friend (back) from DC, posting pictures of the airports, families together after three, eight months, one, three, seven years. Adorable slippers and sweaters we're told are ugly. In the spots with food or drink for public consumption, surrounding choruses of "how've you beens?" and "oh my gosh LOOK AT YOU." A lot can change in a year, sometimes nothing does.

I am skipping the holiday party. The religious reasons for the season are one thing, the faith swell, the secular stop-and-breathe-in, some sort of great siblinghood of humanity. But the scheduled reality of the holiday season is a dedicated break for everyone with work seasons recognized by the Government as Regular. Say 7-10am to 4-7pm, five days a week, give or take a project here, three day weekend there. The holiday party is, was, and will always be scheduled on a Friday night, or maybe Saturday afternoon, depending if the hosts have children, how many hugs they want to give in one evening.

This is why, anymore, as a service industry worker, when people ask me about the Holidays, it's roughly the same for me as Friday afternoons when a well-meaning will say "so, looking forward to the weekend?" and I make a decision whether to say "yes, sure" or whether to say "actually, it's my Tuesday. I work tonight, tomorrow. . ." But that analogy assumes a direct, linear work week, when often, shifts are scattered in such a fashion that there's no functional end of week.

This extends far beyond food-and-drink workers; think also of the Nurses, Bus Drivers, Cops, Firemen, Grocery Store Employees, and many  more professions that are so necessary to society as to not be able to shut down for more than a day (I'd say the food/drink is a soft-necessity; there's an amount of emotional labor that bartenders take on during the holidays especially).  . .

It is a bit surreal to have the lights up around town, the constants of holiday greetings sincere and ironic on every feed, the cousins and friends in from out of town that, likely, I won't get to see, the entirety of Puget Sound rushing to relax, connect, get Meaningful during a handful of days, to walk in, and among it, but feel so solidly disconnected; like watching cars on the freeway from Jose Rizal Bridge, wondering if they'll get where they want in time.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Those Lights, Those Pipes.

Top floor of Vita, as the day transitions from natural to artificial light, and the destinations of commuter buses shine. Mukilteo. Lakewood. Ash Way Park and Ride. Detroit minimalism in the headphones, where you see the inorganic turning grass again. Flowers. Never been to Detroit, so it remains unsafe from romantic narratives. After a full press of e-mails, clicks and drags, work that doesn't feel like work, but feels so much heavier than


If I have to see another friend in the hospital I swear I'm going to

just go see them, what else can you do? Again again again. Everett. Federal Way. Mountlake Terrace. Atlanta bounces and bangs through the coffeeshop speakers. They've transitioned from day to night music, from coffee for business to coffee for necessity. Americanos are an all hour drink, eyes sleepy or engorged. Mouths dry from telling stories. In telling stories, in


concern I'm trying not to be a gossip. Trading others' troubles across platforms like handshake bribes at a party. Ways to make it to the invitation. Staying here with the mottled wood and metal pipes and architecture's dance between warmth and starkness. Outsidde keeps dimming. Fully artificial. The sky is so dark and these lights are so bright and the sky is so dark and these lights are so bright and the sky is so bright with: Tacoma Dome. Bothell. North Lynnwood.