Names withheld for privacy

Seattle is a city of neighborhoods. Within any one area you run into the same folks again and again, but you can always escape to a different area if you want to be alone for the day. I feel like it’s a great mix.

I’ve been running into a lot of people from Pioneer Square lately. I used to work down there, and I really enjoyed it. I met all sorts of people in that neighborhood, and I learned a lot of new things. I just saw a fellow I knew from those days. He’s got long dreadlocks which hang over the brightly-colored shirts he wears. He carries a collapsible shoeshine bench. His boots gleam in the sun. This guy told me the secret to his trade—pantyhose. He claims that nylons make the best buffing cloths. I had no idea, but I pass along his professional tip. Better yet, if you live in Seattle, seek him out on the sidewalks. He does great work, and is a sweet person.

I met the shoeshine man on the same corner as my very favorite panhandler. This man does a little tap dance while he sings a tune of his own composure: “fifteen cents will help me buy a sandwich.” I’ve contributed to his sandwich fund a few times. There are plenty of missions to feed the homeless, but I wanted to tip him for his performance. He’s got flair, and he’s polite.

The disruptive performers can be memorable, too. One local walks into businesses and starts belting opera. I am not a connoisseur, but he sounds good to me. He attempts to pass a hat while being evicted from the wherever he is. I wonder what his story is, and I hope someday he finds a place to perform where he is appreciated.

When I worked in Pioneer Square I met welders, fashion designers, and tattoo artists. Many people here have some ink on their body, and the artists tell me that they will not tattoo someone who is intoxicated. They also tell me that people make stupid decisions sober, and there’s only so much they can do to dissuade their clients. I’ve seen some lovely tattoos that were made to cover up old ones. Such is Seattle.

I’m rambling a bit, but that’s how the neighborhoods are—chaotic and full of random wonder. I hope I’m adding something fun to the mix.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

165. What information do you take away from conversations in your neighborhood? Do you enjoy these conversations? Why or why not?

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