Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Destination: Mercer Island

Destination: Mercer IslandInsufficient facts always invite danger.- SpockIt’s the year 2045. A new transit train is approved linking Algona and Mercer Island...with no stops in between. The Mercer Islanders fight tooth and nail to prevent their beautiful island being overrun by Algonians. From the depths of his mansion, Paul Allen creates a time machine to travel back in time and prevent the events that lead to the train becoming a reality (actually he had a time machine just kinda laying around). He must find the legendary Goldberg who holds the keys to the biggest protest movement Mercer Island has ever seen (and that is saying something - look at all the election signage around there): Goldberg’s registered voters list.Paul begins his search in the Roanoke, where he finds BItburger beer, nostalgia for the roaring teens, and a warm environment where everyone knows his name.I’d say the crown jewel of Mercer Island is The Roanoke Inn. The odd thing about Mercer Island, for me, is that it seems like everything is hidden. Roanoke is one of these things. It’s off the beaten path a little. You’re driving and you think you’re just in a neighborhood and you almost turn around because you figure you’re lost. But you’re not lost. Roanoke is right in front of you. It looks like someone’s house. Like someone, at sometime, just said “Fuck it. Everyone’s over here all the time anyway. Let’s start charging.” The food is hit or miss, the beer selection is great and the outdoor seating is like being at some English garden party. Mercer Island is a rich area, but if you go to Roanoke, you see none of the pretension you would figure. It’s a very warm bar with good folks...that could buy and sell you.Moving along, Paul thinks about Goldberg and his deli and his love for - BAGELS!There’s an Einstein’s Bagels on Mercer Island. It’s been awhile since bagels have been all the rage. I remember in the mid 90s they were a big thing. You’d get bagels and bagel sandwiches and bagels and lox and then people just stopped being big on bagels. Maybe because they are bad for you. Or maybe because bagels remind you of that hole in your life. That empty chasm that you can’t ever fill, so you blame it on bagels. And that’s really sad.With no sign of Goldberg in Einstein’s, Paul travels farther back in time to the 1930s just for the fuck of it.What can be surprising about Mercer Island is the number of homes that have been owned since the early twentieth century. What you get is people that are not rich - just comfortable enough to pay the taxes. This surprised me, when I went to a friend’s apartment (top floor of a house) and found out the woman who lived there barely scraped by. On Mercer Island. The house had a view of the water and across the lake.Bored with the 1930s and the lack of Jimmy, Paul traveled back to 2016.This is the second rich city edition of Destinations. Three, if you count Issaquah. In fact, every sentence in Destinations should end with “If you count Issaquah.” But, thing I’ve noticed, and I haven’t really spent huge amounts of time in the Mercer Island community, is that it’s not snobbish. I mean, there’s probably a bunch of snobs, but on the surface, I don’t see them. It’s more like a backwater neighborhood with money. Like on the other islands around the Puget Sound. This surprised me when I went to the Roanoke, the grocery stores, etc.Paul’s memory could not be trusted, so he ventured to his own house and interviewed himself about the whereabouts of Goldberg.Paul Allen is the most well-known rich guy on Mercer Island. He has an interesting history of being cofounder of Nintendo and....oh, wait, No. It’s not Nintendo. It’s Coleco and Texas Instruments! He founded them in his kitchen, while his pet project Microsoft he kept out in the garage with chronic stoner Bill Gates. Paul also runs or owns, or inherited from Captain Kirk and View to a Kill, Vulcan. Little did Paul know, Gates was creating a time machine. And, in fact, the Gates that Allen knew was actually a different version of Gates. You see, when you travel in time, there’s this loop and - just watch Primer. It’ll wreck your entire work day the next day as you try to figure out what happened. Anyway, Allen is also known for buying up large parcels of Seattle and pissing people off. I remember when I Iived in Seattle there was tons of FUCK PAUL ALLEN graffiti. He also created EMP, the chemical processing plant at the Seattle Center. What? It’s not? Looks like it. Anyway, he later sold Seattle to Amazon or Yahoo. I don’t remember.Paul gave little to no information on Goldberg’s whereabouts as he was creating The Bellevue from the future with his slide rule and a box of tacks. Paul ventured out to his hydroplane and cruised Seafair looking for Goldberg.Seafair is the annual boating festival for rich people and women’s tits. From all over the area, people flock to events around the city celebrating getting drunk near bodies of water. There are the infamous Seafair Pirates who make attempted rape and theft legal for three days. In fact, I once was awakened by a number of them in a parking lot near Key Arena. I had an apartment there, and I was way hung over. I started hearing clown horns and shouting. I looked out my window and saw a number of clowns and pirates in the parking lot across the street cavorting. I had totally forgot about Seafair and thought we were being invaded by Canada. Anyway, if you have a friend on Mercer Island, it’s a great place to watch the fair and the hydros. Do they still do the hydros? Hyrdos used to be big in Seattle, but I never hear about them anymore. I know part of growing up around here was finding a bandsaw and making your own hyrdo to tie to the back of your bike and ride around the neighborhood yelling “Look at me, I’m a hydroplane!” before being run over by a Datsun. I once dated a girl that got paid to deliver pizzas out to the boats during Seafair. She heard the plea “Show us your tits” more than she cared to recall. I asked if she ever showed em’ and she said “No.” But she was a liar.Paul gave up his search for Goldberg on the high seas (lots of dope at Seafair) and made way for shore. There on the shore, wouldn’t you know it:BDPD: Mr. Allen, do you know how fast you were going?Paul: Probably super fast - it’s a fucking hyrdoplane.BDPD: Really?Paul: Yes.BDPD: Can we have a ride?Paul: No.BDPD: Please!Paul: No.BDPD: Fine. We’ll go back to the bakery and smoke our meat in Black Diamond - but we’ll get you!At one time, I’m not even gonna look now - probably around 2000 - there was affordable apartments on Mercer Island. I say affordable only because the people I knew at the time were making around 50 grand a year (I know income is relative, but my point is they weren’t rich) and were able to live apartments. I don’t know if that’s the case now.After Paul shook the police from Black Diamond, he decided to search the rest of Seattle, off the island, for Goldberg. But…Mercer Island is right where the traffic starts (if you’re lucky) if you’re going west on I90. It could be a clear day, every sports team has left the city, and Nickleback is playing the Key. Doesn’t matter. Traffic will always surround Mercer. There’s always that ugly feeling of driving passed Island Crest and going “I made it! I made it! I….SHEEEEIT!”Allen returned to his vehicle and swerved around a massive protest.Back when I’d commute to the Eastside from Seattle I’d stop at Mercer Island to get gas or coffee and I remember seeing a lot of protests, even in the morning hours, over international events. Which was odd, because typically you can drive through Mercer Island and see a jogger and a woman walking out of QFC tops.Paul, on the verge of giving up, traveled forward in time to see just how bad the Algonians would ruin Mercer Island. It was pretty bad. A number of AMPMs that sold hotdogs and nunchucks had appeared overnight. Crime skyrocketed. Drugs became commonplace and the people of Mercer Island no longer were allowed to use people from Kent as dock lines for their boats. As the Island fell further into chaos, Paul watched as Paul from the future hit “The Button”. For years, Vulcan had worked on a button that would submerge the island in just such a scenario, killing both the Islanders and the Algonians, but keeping the pristine beauty of Mercer Island, plus the Roanoke.Paul wept and returned to the time machine only to travel as far as he had been to see the island settled by two men who would boat from Seattle to pick berries. I’m not making this part up. Mercer Island would not exist without two men and their love of berries.Paul ate a few berries and traveled into the future in time to see Obama’s Mom attend high school at Mercer Island. “Hello, Obama’s Momma.” Paul said to the confused woman.Back to the time machine, Allen traveled once again to 2016 to personally bitch out the CEO of the Mariners, who also lives on the island, for another failed shot at the Series.Paul was tired and wanted a sandwich. He traveled back in time to Albertsons.There was once an Albertsons on the island. Which is weird, because Albertson’s was kinda the poor people’s QFC. But there it was. Until they merged with Safeway and tried to take out Haggen, but then Haggen sued or something and then all the Albertsons became Haggens, but Haggen sucked so hard they went out of business. Anyway, that Albertsons was the only one I know of that had a kosher deli. That’s like 7-11 having a kosher deli. Mind. Boggled.Back to 2016 and a stop at Zaw. I had Zaw once via Amazon Fresh. It was really good. It’s like a hippie take and bake place. I recommend it.I remember a Mexican restaurant I went to on Mercer Island back in 99 and I don’t know if it’s El Sombrero or not...does anyone know how long Sombrero has been around? Doesn’t matter. That’s where Paul found Goldberg, sitting alone at a table with me trying to explain The Bellevue.“Hey, do you have that voter registration? I need to stem a plan by the Algonians to invade Mercer Island and sell vapes like way in the future. Like when I shouldn’t even be alive.”Without missing a beat. “Certainly. Here you go.”With that, Paul put on the biggest campaign in Washington state to save something.Bigger than the Sonics?You bet your sweet ass!But it didn’t pass because of a tax that was (will be) included.But they pushed it through anyway, like Safeco.The End (if you count Issaquah). via /r/SeattleWA

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