I flew back into Seattle for the holidays with an email from an acting friend burning a hole in my inbox. He sent me a list of wonderful, wacky things we could do if I had time to hang out. I can’t tell you how unusual this is! To have a man ask me to do anything other than go out for food and drink is unique and so refreshing. No, this wasn’t a “date” but I do wish more men were like Robert to have this creativity in their dealings with me. And he even gave me choices! I have lived in the Seattle area for 17 years and yet only a few of the places on his list had I been to previously. Extraordinary!
Robert and I met in a 9 month Meisner acting class a few years ago, so we have been through a lot together but have never hung out without a gang before. What a joy to have him all to myself. We met at the Dahlia Bakery downtown and had fresh-baked donuts with two dipping sauces, peanut butter cookies, and talked non-stop for an hour. He told me how he put his New Year’s goals into four categories that he uses to keep his life balanced…
The first is stoika a term used in our movement classes about being in a “state of readiness.” Robert puts things in this box that will help him stay ready for an adventurous, happy life, like a clean, organized home, healthy food, and peaceful relationships. The second category is what he needs for security, how much money in the bank, career goals, retirement, insurance etc. The third is the other, the way he interacts with society and what he desires to share and give to others. The final category, and probably the most surprising for me, he called exploration. There was real synchronicity here, as I have been mulling this over myself. I have been missing my road trip adventures around the country. Being in Seattle where I am familiar with the area, my eyes are satiated by familiarity, rather than being in a location that is new at every turn. But discovery is very much a state of mind and I can see new things even in a place I have lived for years if I re-tune my expectations and put on my expedition glasses. So to have Robert tell me exploration is essential to his living a happy life I could very heartily agree and it was confirmation that I am on the right track. His self-awareness and 4 goal categories were inspiring.
After satisfying our tongues with talking and sweets we headed out to find “Pop” the homeless man who writes a song each day and will sing it for you. Robert had met him and wanted to share this bit of wacky Seattle with me. So we went looking around several streets and alleys without luck. It was very cold, so hopefully Pop was in a shelter somewhere.
After this we stopped into Freehold Theatre where we have taken acting classes, part of my Seattle home in so many ways. It was great to get hugs and visits from the staff on hand, and listen to the ghosts of my past memories echoing around the halls and pictures on the walls. I cut my acting teeth here with some AMAZING teachers and fellow performers. It was a lovely reminder of the roots that help to hold me grounded to this day.
Next up was birding on the waterfront. Robert is doing A Big Year for Washington State, which is finding all the bird species he can in one year, somewhere around 359. We had beautiful, clear, blue skies, and glittering water views to accompany our search for a Pigeon Guillemot and he ended up finding it plus 3 more species to add to his list. When he finishes his year I will feel that I helped somehow, even though I did nothing but support with claps and enthusiasm.
Next up was walking down Post Alley, Seattle’s backbone, and I saw the gum wall for the first time on our way to the art museum. It was a rather disgusting, bizarre tourist attraction but representative of Seattle’s quirkiness. We spent an hour contemplating modern and traditional works of art at the museum, musing about his talented partner who paints landscapes and figures, and me wondering why my daughter Audrey’s work is not hanging in there, as her work is just as astounding. We came outside to a different world. The sky had changed from complete cloudless blue to dark, dingy rain. Another Seattle quirk that I could do without!
My feet were getting sore by this time so it was a welcome time to hop across the street for lunch, before heading to Pioneer Square and a stop at Magic Mouse Toy Store. I was in love with the puppets and one especially darling blue monster, and we tried out all the wind up toys and catapulted ping-pong balls at each other.
We walked through some art galleries and saw bronze Butterfield horses that cost a mere $150,000, on our way to the International District. He took me on the longest escalator west of the Mississippi and I made him ride it up and down twice.
We went to the Wing Luke Asian Museum to see the origami exhibit but saw the fashion runway exhibit instead and goofed around trying on the designer clothes. He looked just as good in the dresses as I did. Great fun. We walked through Uwajimaya, Seattle’s Asian specialty store before heading to the bus to take us back to my car.
What a perfectly engaging day of exploration in my own town with a man willing to be silly, creative, and sharing of his goals for a full, expressive life. I am so fortunate to have a friend like this. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that everything we did, outside of eating, was free! The art museums were free all day and the galleries were open late so it was a frugally delightful day!