It’s on a wall facing the patio of the twice and possibly future Online Coffee on Olive Way, just north of Boylston.
I lived very close to here when I moved to Seattle in 2004, and I ended up at Online Coffee a fair amount as I worked to get my life set up – as I waited for my wireless router to arrive so that I could get actual internet access in my actual apartment.
Coming as I did from a place I regard as sterile and artificial, I felt it deeply when I looked up and saw this, just idly sitting next to people sipping lattes at metal patio tables.
“My god,” I thought. “Look at this vibrant, kind of weird place I find myself, that I found for myself. I’m among other people who do things because they want to – and who think of things like this, and who want to put them somewhere public. To share.”
Here‘s a picture of it from 2003, minus the chip it currently sports.
I imagine a good 70-plus percent of the people who have seen this would be able to say what I’m about to say, but: it became part of my background, appreciated but benignly ignored, and then a few months after we were first introduced, it exploded with new and deeper resonance.
“Damn right,” I’d grumble. “We’re all fools, every one of us.”
A conversation I’ve had with myself for the last couple of years has centered around two things: at what point will I make my departure from Capitol Hill? And what Capitol Hill mainstay would break my heart if it were pulled into the grind and churn of all the development?
I still don’t know the answer to the first. Maybe February. Or maybe later, when I decide to leave the city altogether.
The second has had a few answers. Six Arms, the Stumbling Monk? I like those places, and very much. Good memories there. My current yoga studio’s days seem numbered, but I soldier on, so it’s not that. The Egyptian, or Broadway Grill? Apparently not. This coffee shop, that store, that theater, that house’s perfect garden.
Nah, I think it’s this. One of the first things that told me I’d made the right choice and had a decent chance of finding my people.
I made this blog to explore, but also to see. Today I saw my past.