Feb 26, 2006

Following my society debut in Arklatex, I attended the launch party of Seattle Metropolitan. What pomp, what circumstance, what epic queues for a mere drink!

The Emerald City went in LA-drag for this gala: cleavage and spike heels sprouted like rainforest fungus. "People flew in for this event," a friend whispered. Teens bumped and ground in striped stockings. I nibbled a lettuce leaf, all this vegetarian could snag off the sushi buffet.

Was this a magazine plot for fashionable thiness? Or catering catastrophe? "Let's sneak out for pizza," suggested my artist friend Maria. But lines snarled around the Moore Theater: leave and we would never return.

No amount of bespoke umbrellas – matching the inaugural cover – could cloud the fact this bash outgrew its britches. No intimate publishing soiree, it more resembled a capacity-crowd at a ballgame ... just with less cheerful inebriation. Did I mention the 45-minute wait for beverages?

Double-fisting drinks, the die-hards finally took to the dance floor. Some Microsoft coders writhed nearby. "The city's a bit chill," one of the Detroit emigrants admitted. "But we'll heat it up!"

Indeed. One mop-haired tecchie in aviator glasses reached under his sport jacket and tore his white t-shirt in half like the Incredible Hulk.


A photographer friend invited us clubbing, except her car was hopelessly boxed. A cop watch impassively. "I can ticket, but I can't tow," he said.

"How many people would it take to lift that thing?" I asked.

"About eight, usually," he nodded.

I appealed to the crowd milling outside the Baltic Room. "Any chance you could help?"

The women volunteered. The men demurred and sloped off to drink in Pioneer Square. "Typical," the ladies groused.

"The door's unlocked," one of our party shouted. Then, under the approving gaze of Seattle's finest, she climbed into the offending car and rolled it downhill.

Our momentum was lost, however. We dipped into a Fremont club, a few Ballard bars all closing. And so Maria and I finished the evening outside the supermarket, talking to the QFC checker injured last year by a shoplifter.

The escape car doubled back – over his head.

After weeks in the hospital, he went home to his wife and baby. Eventually he even returned to the Ballard branch; the community's goodwill outweighed the bad memories.

I perched on the garbage can, massaging my sore feet (the turquoise high-heeled boots from London don't dance well). My artist friend – once a lawyer – laughed with the clerks in the night mist.

Metropolitan missed the pulse; Seattle's right here, not bathed under spots and strobes.

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