Saturday, October 8, 2016

Destination: Factoria

Destination: FactoriaAgent Smith: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.The MatrixA curious thing happened to me the other day while shopping in Bellevue.I had just eaten some sushi after shopping for a superior lemon peeler at Crate and Barrel and was walking down Bellevue Way.My phone buzzed and I grabbed it from my pocket. I received a text:I know no one answers their phone these days, but you must answer when I call you. My name is Goldberg.I thought “That was odd.”Then I received another:I am not one of those people that likes to talk on the phone. I avoid it at all costs, I swear. I know how much it sucks when someone calls you and you think “Couldn’t you just text?”. But this is super duper multi-dimension stuff...involving Microsoft.I was intrigued. I had planned on buying some superior storage containers at the Container Store, but this sounded like slightly more fun. So, when he called, I picked up.That’s when my life changed.I opened my eyes and found myself at a bar. The bar was huge and expansive. The Husky game was on and what appeared to be tortilla chips and salsa were in front of me.“Where am I?” I asked.A beautiful Mexican woman turned to me and asked “Where do you think you are?”“Bellevue. Duh.”“No. You are in Ricardo's.”“What’s Ricardo's?”“It’s in Factoria. You are in…” She paused and poured me a glass of Maker’s. “...Factoria.”“What’s Factoria?” I began to panic.“Factoria is reality. The Bellevue is not.”“Holy shit! OK. So, what you’re saying is that all this time I thought Bellevue was reality, Factoria was actually where I was the whole time?”“Yes. The Bellevue is part of...The Windows.”“So...uh...Bellevue was an illusion?”“Yes. But we need to portion all this out over a period of events.”“Duuuuuude.”The woman stepped away and a tall Jewish man approached me. “Hi. I’m Goldberg.”“The dude from my phone?”“Yes. And I run a top notch Jewish deli in Factoria. We have bread and meats for sale. Also a menu that has everything but pizza.”“What about omelets?”“We have those.”“Uh...chili dogs?”“Yep.”“So...what you’re telling me is Factoria is not that bad?”“No. I’m telling you The Bellevue really, really, really sucks the big time.”“Jesus. Tell me more.”“My restaurant is in the mall. There’s a full service bar. Our sandwiches are fucking huge. Like when you see a man in a cartoon trying to fit a giant sandwich in his mouth - that’s how huge our sandwiches are. We also have pickles. Lots of free pickles. Pickles are bitchin’.“Yes, they are.”“You look out of place in Factoria. Let’s go get you some clothes.”“Where?”Old Navy is at the south end of the mall, by Ricardo’s. If you don’t know Old Navy from the commercials and being poor, it’s a place where you get cool looking clothes that are affordable. I, personally, love the place. Tons of cheap shit that looks cool.“Wow, this Old Navy has tons of deals.” I said to Goldberg.“Yes, it does. Are you hungry?”“I sure am.”“Wanna move the story along by going to Red Robin?”“You bet I do!”Believe it or not, the first Red Robin, ever, was in the U District.I grew up on the food: it was like the kid version of going to a fancy restaurant. Like, McDonalds was cool, but Red Robin was the shit.I still eat there occasionally. Their burgers have gone down hill, and that whole iPad thing on the table now is annoying - but the fries are still bitching. But don’t buy the ones they sell in the grocery store. They suck donkey balls.So, Goldberg and I ate and he explained to me that The Bellevue was created by something called Windows. He explained that Windows created a perfect world where you could move icons around and tap on things and make them do things. And minesweeper.Eventually Windows became self-aware and enslaved humans like they were from Tibet. It was ugly. But the humans fought back andAt this point in time in your life, if you haven’t seen Matrix, just stop reading.Anyway, so Windows created The Bellevue to make everyone in Factoria think they lived in a nice city. But, they lived in a giant flea market.Speaking of:Nordstrom Rack is an outlet for Nordstrom. I don’t know what qualifies for merchandise to be sold at Nordstrom Rack and not at the regular Nordstrom, but I have a strong feeling it rhymes with Red Rugs.But I kid. Every woman I know goes ape when they see a Nordstrom Rack. Like even more than when they see a Nordstrom. I’ve shopped at Nordstrom Rack or “The Rack” as they used to call it. There’s cool stuff. But last time I went in they had all these portable point of sale stations and I stood in line for an hour only to find out the lady wasn’t ringing up people, she was folding clothes.Oh, this one time I drove out to Factoria with a bud to go to Goldberg’s to get a superior sandwich and we drove by a dead person. Someone got hit by a car at a gas station and was lying under a blanket and there were a bunch of EMTs nearby, but nowhere near the body. That pretty much led me to believe the person died. It was shocking. I remember me and the buddy going “Let’s just go back to work.” Then “Let’s just stop and get coffee.” Then, “Let’s get coffee at Goldberg’s.”We entered Goldberg's and the waiter asked what we wanted.“Coffee...and a Reuben, fries, coleslaw, a coke….”Goldberg led me across Factoria and he explained that at one time The Bellevue was created with Windows 95. Everyone was way too happy and content and they began to die of boredom. The Bellevue, as we know it now, was created by Windows 2000 so it was so flawed and fucked up that places like The Parlor existed to kinda piss you off, but just enough so you felt life was a challenge.We walked to the QFC in Factoria. Goldberg needed some batteries. I think he’s big into bondage or something. There’s this weird leather vibe in Factoria.Back in the day, there was QFC, Safeway, and Albertsons in my area and that was a superior to inferior list. I don’t remember any other grocery stores. Fred Meyer was nowhere near me at that time. In fact, I remember thinking Fred Meyer would go under, as I only knew of one location in SeaTac or something. But eventually we got Fred Meyer.“Oh, my God!” Golberg shouted.“What?” I asked.“The fucking Factoria theater is still there? Are you shitting me?”That’s right. That cinema has been there forever and it’s still fucking there. I thought everything went IMAXey?Goldberg also explained to me that there are things called Billy McHales. They were part of an earlier release of Windows. Like 3.0 or something.Billy McHale's used to be where Ricardo’s is. It was like Red Robin, but I think the one in Factoria and the one in Renton were “happening” joints for 20somethings back in 99. A buddy worked at one and she told me this one time she was told to clean out the Ranch dressing bucket. She said she dumped it over into a sink and one layer went down and she looked into the bucket and there were like five more layers separated by mold. True story.Goldberg stopped walking. “Hold on.”“What?”“It’s Walmart.”“What’s Walmart?”“It’s a place where you use coupons.”“What are coupons?” My total devotion to buying clothing at inflated prices in The Bellevue had not prepared me for this.“They are paper promises of discounts.”“But I don’t know how to get them.”“Because you’ve never used them.”It surprised me that there was a Walmart in Factoria. Not because a place like Factoria couldn’t use one, but because I had never noticed it before today. I guess Factoria is way worse than I imagined. I mean, even Value Village is better than Walmart.After Goldberg purchased more batteries and showed me how to use a “coupon”, we ran into this weird werewolf/vampire dude. “What is that?”Goldberg squirted some chili on it and it fled. “That is another product of the 3.0 Bellevue. It comes from...The Keg.The Keg used to be in Bellevue. I think it’s a Canadian company. There was one in Renton and Kent and Federal Way...are there any Kegs left? They were kinda cool. They had good espresso at one point. The chicken strips were good. The steak was good. I think I took my first Homecoming date there. KENTRIDGE RULZ #1!After destroying the Keg monster, we went to go play pulltabs at Sideline. Sideline is a decent sports bar. I really have nothing else to say about it. I think the food was OK. It’s the only sports bar until you get to Newcastle or Issaquah…“It is time you met the Oracle.” Goldberg said to me.“OK. Whatever. Where?”“Applebee’s.”I really have nothing to say about Applebee’s. It’s probably like Red Robin. I don’t think I’ve eaten there. But I heard that they cook everything in bags. Like all the base portions of the dishes are just boiled in a bag. I think I heard Chili’s was like that. There was a Chili’s in Issaquah, but it closed. I liked the burger. I think they buttered the bun. No one butters buns anymore. And it’s just a shame, really.The Oracle was eating some mozz sticks when I approached her.“So, how do I stop Windows 2000 from enslaving everyone and putting them in The Bellevue?”“You can’t. You can’t leave Factoria. And your friends can’t enter Factoria.”“But why?”“It’s fucking Factoria! You can’t get a clear shot in from I90 either way. You either have to go through that Coal Creek mess or that fucking dumb way around that takes you passed that last Outback Steak House left or the Pizza Hut. Getting out is even trickier with that backed up exit and that weird east route where you turn onto I90 only to find out it’s carpool only. I’m angry just talking about it. Face it. The Bellevue is here to stay.”“Fuck.” I said.“Look, go to the Old Country Buffet and find the Key Master.”“OK. What’s the Old Country Buffet?”“You don’t want to know.”Turns out the Old Country Buffet in Factoria is closed. Remember in the last article when I threw a fit that Hurricane was closed? Well, this is the opposite.“It’s closed.”“Yes.” The Oracle said. “It was a trick. You took the time to go look and that proves that you are really, really bored. OK. Here’s how you stop The Bellevue: Do you see all that traffic up there on 405?”“How could I not? I mean, it’s almost as if the I90/405 junction never moves. Like it’s always there. Like it’s the stupidest piece of bullshit traffic crap ever. Like you’d save lives if you put a giant overpass from Bellevue to Renton. Because everyone contemplates suicide on that junction. But, yes, I see it.”“That, too, is an illusion.”“Then what is it?”“It is a reflection.”“A reflection of what?”“All those dumb ass Christmas lights all over T-Mobile.”I turned and there it was: a giant carnival of lights coming from T-Mobile. Like way more lights than any building should ever have. Like so many lights you wonder if that’s why you get bad reception on your T-Mobile phone. Like maybe they’ve been spending all their money on lights and not, like, phone towers.“Goldberg, is that...The Bellevue?”“Yes. That is.”It was Romio’s pizza. It meant us no harm. I remember there was a few in Seattle. I’ve always like it. Buttery crust. Good place.“Romio’s is The Bellevue?”“No, I’m just hungry. I don’t know how we stop The Bellevue or the Windows 2000. Perhaps in another article about Redmond?”“Perhaps.”“I Love Pho.” Goldberg said.“I Love Pho, too.” I replied.Stay tuned to find out just what Windows 2000 wants. What is The Bellevue? Why aren’t there more panhandlers in Factoria? Will I probably never finish this and just write about Mercer Island? via /r/SeattleWA

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