Freak Show

This week my love/hate relationship with Seattle hit a new low.  The city seemed to be rejecting me in every way possible. Work was rough this week, I got into a dispute with my landlord, and to top it all off, I have two friends who are moving away from Seattle this weekend.

When this happens, I usually decide to go out and do something fun. Something that reminds me of what I like about the city. So I stopped wallowing in self pity, put on some pants, and ventured into Capitol Hill to see a concert of some friends.

I walked to the bus stop, stepping in what I’m fairly confident was a pile of vomit, and I cursed the city, wondering if this was a sign that I should go home and turn in for the night. I stayed the course, knowing that I could not claim defeat this easily.

While I waited for the bus to arrive, I watched as a man walked down the street with a pigeon on his shoulder. I have deep rooted hatred of those winged rats, and I stared unapologetically as the man walked toward me. The way I see it, if you have an animal perched on your shoulder, you are asking for people like me to openly stare at you.

As he got closer, I watched him glare at me, and I couldn’t have cared less. I also realized that this wasn’t a pigeon but had an owl like face upon closer examination. As he passed I turned my head to follow, spotting a long tail draping halfway down the man’s back. It looked like some sort of lemur.

This was an odd experience in itself, but in quintessential Seattle style, it went a step further as I realized the lemur was sporting a tie dyed diaper…that was crocheted. Clearly this couldn’t be functional, as crocheting a diaper seems to defeat the purpose. I figured he was trying to make a fashion statement for lemurs, an industry that he clearly thought was under served.

I sat on the bus and decided to google the animal to try and find out what exactly it was. So I used my sleuth skills and googled “small lemur-like animal with owl face” and awaited what I assumed would be a clear response. Not so much.

I stopped looking when I ran across an animal they called the Aye Aye, which I’d never heard of in my life, but looked vaguely like it had been caught in a drain, lost all of its hair but a few individual tufts, and had buggy eyes that seemed as if they would fall out of its head. I was happier when I never knew this nightmarish creature never existed, so I put away my phone, just in time to see a man wearing a green skull cap with a skateboard popping out of his backpack staring at me. And by staring, I mean glaring.

I figured if I was going to die in Seattle, it would be because of the inevitable earthquake/tsunami that is inevitably happening here. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that this creepy psychopath was probably going to murder me pre-quake. I wondered what I had done to offend him, right as two college age kids sat in the seats in front of me and started singing a song together at the top of their lungs.

I felt like I was in the freak show. Lemur Man, Crazy Eyed Psycho, and the Shameless Bus Singers were all partaking in abnormal behavior that was not acceptable by societal standards. But this is Seattle, and those standards are different. I was the outcast here. I was the abnormal freak for sitting on the bus, minding my own business and keeping to myself.

Crazy Eyed Psycho got off of the bus a few stops ahead of me, so I took a breath and relaxed before getting off at my stop and heading into the concert. It was nice to hear some good music and catch up with some friends. I was happy that I ventured out by the end of the night.

The next day, I walked to the bus station, and a man handed me a pamphlet that read, “This could be your last five minutes alive.” I almost yelled, “Are you kidding me right now? Is that Crazy Eyed Psycho on this bus too? What do you know that I don’t?” Instead I decided to keep it to myself and walked past a man who was on his knees praying loudly and swaying back and forth in front of a tree.

Even as I ventured to Starbucks today, I walked past a man who was staring at his reflection in the back seat of a car (one I presumed did not belong to him) and talking to himself while fixing his hair.

The feel good pamphlet of the year.
Just another normal day in Seattle, I thought to myself. Sometimes you walk through neighborhoods where you are the weird one because you don’t have a thousand tattoos and piercings, and you dodge the beggars and the potent smell of pot seeming to seep out of people’s pores. But I’m the girl who steps in vomit and googles Aye Ayes on the bus and relaxes by watching trash tv and eating a pint of ice cream in sweatpants. I guess we all have something that makes us part of the freak show in our own right.


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