"I apologize. I did not mean to shame the poor. I came across the two men counting a mountain of coins at the counter. (One wore a theatrical robe that made his coin-counting look like something out of a 17th-century Dutch painting—indeed that was the reason why I took the pic; I wanted to capture this strange resemblance.) I saw them as off-the-grid-ish hippie types in theatrical costumes trying to make a point about consumerism by paying with a mountain of coins. This annoyed me, not because I love consumerism, but because I was tired and wanted to buy my groceries and go home. That is why I wrote my cranky little dispatch. I have no bias against people who don’t have enough money to shop at the PCC. I do have a bias against people completely hogging a whole line at the urban grocery store. Also, I have to get over my hatred of the woods."
The Stranger does not condone poor-shaming or classism. In our daily and weekly coverage we are committed to covering income inequality with sensitivity and accuracy. Indeed, our cover story this week, written by Charles Mudede, is about that very subject: the lack of housing affordability in our big cities. We regret the error.
PAYING WITH CHANGE AT PCC
We saw you at a checkout counter of the PCC in Columbia City buying a bottle of Schooner Exact beer, some berries, eggs, yogurt, and sausages with a mountain of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Most of your coins were brown and looked very old. PCC is not cheap. It takes a lot of coins to buy even three or four basic items. But you came prepared. You had a bag filled with the hardest currency. You held it in your hand with pride. You did not look at all poor. You looked perfectly mad. And as you counted, coin by coin, the amount you owed, the counter became all yours. No one could wait. You were going to take forever. You had saved your pennies, but you were wasting time—and not only yours but others'.
HORRIFYING CLOWNS IN DOWNTOWN SEATTLE
Though we have lived in Seattle for long enough to think of ourselves as "local," no one has ever fully explained to us what Seafair actually is. That might be why the leviathan of people phalanxing down Fourth Avenue on Saturday night to watch the Torchlight Parade—excuse us, the Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade—came as such a surprise. A welcome one, actually. After two weeks of political party conventions, the sight of good old normal multigenerational, multiethnic, multigender Seattle hanging out together, talking, drinking, and waving at floats was a sweet reminder that we actually are all part of the same species. Except for that terrifying clown bus sent from the depths of John Wayne Gacy hell to molest our dreams. And the cannons. And the trash. But everything else was fantastic. If you like parades.
CONGRATULATIONS ON DISCOVERING WHAT CURTAINS ARE
As regular readers of We Saw You know, during several nighttime walks around Mercer Island over the last several months, we have seen you broadcasting your bland taste in porn—oily butts and businessman-secretary trysts—from your second-floor window. We never saw you, but we can only guess that you were enjoying yourself and possibly getting off on involving the neighborhood in your viewing habits. Last week, we went on a pizza-fueled walk and saw that YOU FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO USE YOUR CURTAINS! Congratulations! Now, instead of accidentally seeing dicks all-too-easily slip into women's assholes from the street, we merely detect the soft glow of your TV.
BABY SEAL STALKS US
We saw you, a baby seal, stalking us in the water at Hood Canal. We were paddleboarding for the first time ever, terrified of falling into the water. But there you were, chilling and swimming toward us. We wished that you would come over and hang out on our paddleboard and we could be friends. Maybe we'd just sunbathe and talk about the weather and how crystalline green the water has been looking lately, because there's been this crazy amount of algae blooming. But then, when some dude got on his obnoxiously loud and smelly Jet Ski, you disappeared.
PRACTICAL ADVICE FROM A NURSE PRACTITIONER
You were the very kind, turquoise-adorned nurse practitioner who took care of our ear infection and general malaise on a Friday night at the Country Doctor After-Hours Clinic at Swedish. For the ear infection, you prescribed some drops. For the malaise, you answered our pestering questions without seeming annoyed. You liked your job, you said. You'd been doing it a long time. Although, if you were giving advice to a younger version of yourself—really being honest—you'd probably tell her to go all the way, just go to medical school. After all, the doctors get to be in charge.
MIDDLE-AGED MEN OR RIDICULOUS PEACOCKS?
You, two middle-aged men, were preparing for a fight on a sunny Saturday in Victor Steinbrueck Park. As tourists streamed in and out of the park and the market across the street, you shouted at each other. About what, we couldn't hear from across the street. You puffed up your chests and approached each other only to retreat and then do it all over again. You looked like peacocks displaying their feathers, but no one seemed to be paying much sustained attention. Eventually, you gave up, shouting obscenities as you walked away but never once throwing a punch. The tourists went on with their days.
BAREFOOT CONCERT AT WASHINGTON HALL
We saw you—the musician Grouper, aka Liz Harris—sitting cross-legged and barefoot on a darkened stage at Washington Hall. You were playing guitar and singing in the faintest, most aqueous manner imaginable before a couple of hundred rapt patrons. Your meditative murmurs and diaphanous shimmers offered the antithesis of a typical Saturday night of entertainment; this was more of a Zen Buddhist retreat than a concert. Toward the end of your set, you unleashed a brief storm of fuzzed-out power chords and, shortly after, we heard what sounded like a gunshot or a firecracker go off outside. But none of those things could disperse the overall feeling of tranquility and awe with which we in the crowd shuffled out of the venue at the reasonable time of 10:45 pm.