Goodbye to 5 1/2 Years of My Life

December 24, 2009 -- a few weeks after I moved in
My former home, taken on December 24, 2009

On December 18, 2009, I moved from my friends’ house to a shared house in Seattle (I mention the move in A Slight Interruption in Service, but I never did an entry on the place itself).  For 5 1/2 years, I lived at the same address.  None of my housemates at the beginning of this time were my housemates at the end, though several stayed well beyond their six-month leases.

Earlier this year, my landlord told me of his intentions to sell the house.  He’d told me of the possibility of selling the house as far back as two years ago, but competing plans made it unclear what would actually happen to the place.  Though he assured all us tenants that our leases would continue under the new owners, I was leery, and began looking for a new place, particularly when he junked a couch swing I’d saved and put in the backyard.  That to me was the death knell of my old way of life.

As you enter the front, 12/24/09
As you enter the front, 12/24/09

Or, I should say, began preparing myself to move, for I didn’t start looking until he found a buyer.  That was early in July, roughly a few weeks after he’d put the house on the market.  One of my former housemates had expressed interest — with his father — of buying the property and continuing to run it as a rental unit, but the asked-for price was too high.

Initially, the owners assured my landlord that contracts would remain the same (all of us were month-to-month, minus one person who was on a three-month lease, signed through September).  Same rent.  Same rooms.  Same arrangement.  On the day I went to look at my first rental property– with a friend and coworker of mine, whom I’d decided to become roommates with — I got a call from my landlord.  Phone reception was bad where I was, so I listened to the message on the way back home.

It was Sunday, July 19th.  The owners had changed their mind.  After a walk-through the week before, they’d come back with a non-negotiable position.  All tenants had to be out by the end of August.

Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09
Back of the house, with shed, 12/24/09

I later found out this was illegal (Seattle law requires 60-days notice if a single-family unit is sold and the new owners no longer wish to rent it out), but by that point, I’d found a new apartment, and since no one in my house seemed to care, I took no further action.  Ownership transferred hands on August 12th, a Wednesday.  I moved out on Saturday, August 15th, with critical help from a few friends and a UHaul van.  I later went back to grab a microwave from one of my former housemates and some cleaning supplies I’d bought but had left for other tenants to use.  I found carpets ripped up, boxes and appliances piled up in the yard, and no more shed in back.

A casualty of the move -- my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners
A casualty of the move — my heavy-ass tube TV, which I left for the new owners

No matter.  I’ve now been in my new place over a month.  Boxes are unpacked, furniture is in place, and nothing broke in the move (one DVD got dislodged from its holder, but it should be okay).  I’m surprised how easy the transition was (the transition to living in a new place, not the move itself), especially since my home in the U-District was the longest I’ve lived at one address since adulthood.  Perhaps it was time for a change.  I’d been growing stagnant and frustrated in the months leading up to the sale of the house.  Now, at my new place, I can start over, yet again.

August 31, 2015, without shed
August 31, 2015, where the shed used to be

Goodbye, Egyptian!

12. Goodbye, Egyptian!
The curtain closes on the Egyptian Theatre

When I moved to Seattle, the first theater I saw a movie in was the Egyptian.  Used to large movie chains like Regal and Showcase Cinemas, I was amazed at the size of the one-screen space.  And it had a balcony, too!  The movie was An Education, which made a star out of Carey Mulligan.  I even wrote about the experience here.  Today, the Egyptian Theatre will show its final film, the appropriately titled Before Midnight — for indeed, the theater will usher its last patrons out shortly before midnight tonight.  I saw the film on Saturday.  On hand was the general manager of the Egyptian for 19 years, here on her last night.

In a way, both films describe what the Egyptian meant to me.  My film education in Seattle started with An Education, and Before Midnight describes my movie-going habits.  Unlike the Neptune Theatre, which ended its run as a Landmark Theatre with The Green Hornet (in 3D – ick!), the Egyptian gets to go out on a great film.

I don’t know what will happen to the theater after tonight.  Seattle Central Community College owns the building, so perhaps they will turn the space into classrooms.  If not, maybe it will continue to be used as a festival venue for the Seattle International Film Festival.  All I know is, from festival films to year-round programming, the Egyptian Theatre will always remain one of my favorite movie theaters.  Here then, in order, is every single picture I ever took of, and in, the Egyptian Theatre:

11. The Line for I Am Love12. After the Movie1723. The Director of the SIFF Festival24. Edward Norton Gets His Golden Space Needle Award252627. The Stage is Set for the Q & A28. The Egyptian Theatre2930. Tom Tangney Interviews Norton31. Tangney, Norton, and an Ear3210. At the Egyptian11. Not messsing around!13. Greenaway introduces his film1415. Post-film Q & A67. Programmer Dan Doody, director Kieran Darcy-Smith, and actress Felicity Price for WISH YOU WERE HERE68

Landmark - Seattle - Mozilla Firefox.bmpSo long, Egyptian!  Thank you for the many enjoyable hours I spent in your seats, and for the less enjoyable ones, as well.

Midnight in Seattle

The following account is a true story, with parts embellished for dramatic effect.

Either the bus was late, or I was late for the bus.  If the former, it would be arriving soon.  If the latter, I had roughly an hour to kill until the next one arrived, around 1:15 in the morning.

At about 12:30, I realized that it was probably the latter.  Not wanting to wait around for the next bus, I walked from 115th Street to the Northgate Transit Center, which took about 20 minutes.  Approaching it, my bladder was already beginning to fill with the beer I had drunk earlier that night, in celebration of a friend’s farewell party.  I hadn’t had much, but once the seal is broken…

On the way there, I saw some police cars with their lights on, and had to navigate through a construction site.  Near where I saw the cop cars, the bushes on my right rustled, and I hoped some dude wasn’t hiding out there, waiting to pounce on me.

The transit center was silent when I approached it.  Since there’s always people there, I considered it a bad sign that I saw no one.  Worse, I saw no buses.  When I looked at the schedule posted there, I saw that the last bus heading towards my house had left at 12:35, which was about the same time I had set out for this stop.  It was now a little before 1 am.  Would I be able to make it back in time to catch the other bus?

Since I had traveled south and west to get to the transit center, I decided to travel east in order to shave off some minutes in reaching 115th again.  Unfortunately, the roads in Seattle don’t work like that, and walking down 1st Ave NE, I saw every bush as a potential porta-potty, for my bladder was reaching its limit.  Street lights and the possibility of hidden cameras near the stores I passed dissuaded me from relieving myself on them, though.

Otherwise, it was a nice night outside, and I ended up recognizing my surroundings after crossing a bridge over I-5.  I was at North Seattle Community College.  Unfortunately, I also knew that the bus that ran from here to my home had started its final run over 30 minutes earlier at Northgate Transit Center.  This is where I had flashbacks to a night in Japan where, upon missing the last train going south, I walked three stations down to the Chuo Line in order to hop a train one stop east to Musashi-Koganei.  I don’t remember how long that walk took.  I think it took an hour or less.  Regardless, I didn’t have to pee a river that night, and my pleasant buzz hid the fact that a 10-minute train ride would take much longer on foot.  This time, I was sober, but again, I decided I was going to walk home.  I also knew a bar on the way where I could stop to pee, if it were still open.  In the meantime, I kept my eyes peeled for shrubbery hidden by the dark of night.

Unfortunately, the road was too well-lit for late night tinkling.  And then I thought, “Would I want some dude peeing on my bushes at 1:30 in the morning?”  Imagine putting lots of time and energy into your yard, only to have some dude piss on it.  Plus, some people were still up, probably watching Craig Ferguson.  He’s a funny man.

Turning left up a hill, I saw three drunken college girls across the street, two of whom were having a fight (I say “saw,” but I heard them long before I saw them).  Not in a catfight sense, which would have been awesome, but more in a “stop following me, bitch,” sort of way.  It was amusing.  I’m sure they would forget their argument in the morning.

The bar I had hoped was open was still open, but I worried that if I went inside, I’d have to buy a drink.  I could always threaten to pee on their floor if they didn’t let me use their restroom sans purchase, but then they might call the cops, and that wouldn’t be good.  I also thought I was close enough to another bathroom without consequences — at a supermarket — that I could hold it until then.  So, I walked past salvation, and my bladder became heavier still.  At one point, I passed a Bank of America, and while they deserve to be pissed on, I refrained.

Finally, the supermarket appeared in front of me, and to my right, a gas station.  That one had no sign on it that said they had bathrooms, however, and I couldn’t see any when I looked at the store.  Plus, the supermarket — where I had worked for two unhappy weeks — was just across the street.  I went to the supermarket.

A sign said that the customer bathroom was located upstairs.  I went to the foot of the stairs.  “Bathrooms closed between 11 pm and 5 am.”  Damn you, supermarket.  You haven’t forgiven me for leaving you so suddenly.

After that rejection, I only hoped that I could make it the rest of the way home.  At least I knew how much longer I’d have to hold my bag of liquid poison.  Air bubbles pushing on my bladder, however, forced me to slow down until they dissipated, which stretched out the length of time it would take to reach my door.

So that is how it was for the rest of my journey. I’d be walking normally.  An air bubble would press dangerously on my sack of golden goodness.  I would slow down and wait until it found its way out of my body.  Then, I would commence walking again.  Within a block or two of my house, my bladder came dangerously close to opening the floodgates on several occasions, so I had to give it a pep talk, telling it to be strong every time an air bubble threatened to break its resolve.

Finally, I made it to my house.  I didn’t even bother taking off my backpack before straddling the porcelain god and pouring forth my offering in an unending stream of urine.  Well, okay, it did end, and when it did, I discovered that I was either still woozy from the effects of alcohol, or that I was exhausted. Probably the latter.  Including the journey to the transit center, I had walked for roughly 90 minutes straight.  I’ve held my bladder for longer, but I’ve never held it while walking for that long.  I hope to never do so again.  But the fact that I’ve done it twice now proves one thing:

I need to be at my stops earlier.