My Seattle starts here, on the corner of 20th and Jackson, more than twenty years after first arriving in this town. I’m not sure what to call my connection to Seattle during all those years. I was here, but somehow I hadn’t actually arrived. Then, about two summers ago, at this corner, in this building, possibly in the company of some of these people captured in this Google Streetview image, I felt my relation to Seattle, and the world beyond it, shift into a new mode.
The shift was mysterious, sensuous and hopeful. It felt like reaching solid ground after drifting for decades in a mythological sea of human geography and imperial history. Maybe it was like the childhood game of Red Rover, a call to cross over to the other side. Except, as soon as I write those words, I start chafing at that metaphor.
Was it really a ‘side’ I felt calling? It felt more like a different emotional and social logic that offered a new view of the global game. It was the feeling in my bones that the next 500 years could really be better, more humane, more dignified, than the last. I saw that ‘the people’ have the tools to escape being hustled by fictions of terror and scarcity. To mash-up some antiquated phrases from my parents’ generation, I realized that the everyday people of the whole earth are ready to take over. They have the skills and the means right now to do a better job than the planet’s current management.
Really? All that from a night on the town, and without ingesting any party drugs? Well, yes. That’s how it happened. Just from hanging out, listening to some music with people from my neighborhood. In the coming weeks, I’ll be returning to share notes, trying to unpack the elements of what happened at Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine that night, and what it means to what is happening, inside and beyond myself since then.