When first in the U.S. we mistakenly scoured the local news channels and local papers for world news. We saw items on food safety inspectors finding armadillo meat and live frogs for sale in a market, a “Bodies” exhibition in Seattle with “real human bodies” the real news being that someone stole a kidney from the biology demo. “Sewer project interrupts residents’ lives” was a headliner and a page of national and international news had a lead item of “Long overdue book is back at library.”
Seattle is unconventional and cosmopolitan, Tacoma is more blue collar and Olympia is, to be kind, liberal, but really just a little bit “out there” so forgetting our quest for world news, we turned to the wealth of alternative free newspapers in the area – the names of which will give you an idea – “The Stranger”, “Sitting Duck”, “Conscious Choice”, “The Voice of Reality” and “Wisdom of the Heavens, Earth, Mind, Body & Soul” amongst many others. Jimmy and I have come to the conclusion that we are just a teensy weensy bit naïve after reading them.
I had picked up a copy of the “The Stranger” (where a typical advertisement is the Laughing Buddha tattoo parlour where you can “give the gift of transformation . . . get a gift certificate. Hurting Seattle since 1996.”) but didn’t read it in time to enjoy all sorts of treats on New Year’s Eve. The Little Red Studio’s New Year’s Eve Gala offered “beauty, art and the erotic for couples and singles of all persuasions.” The Supersonic Soul Pimps were playing at High Dive. We could have gone to Cowgirls, Inc. for a “fun ass time” with “rowdy sexy entertainment” and a mechanical bull. The rest were too tacky.
The categories were the usual women seeking men, men seeking women, men seeking men, women seeking women and then there was a column for Swingers. Most interestingly the last category was called “??!!”, no words, just “??!!”, which was my excuse for glancing at the page in the first place. After reading them all out loud to Jimmy and alternating between laughter and bewilderment, I’m afraid to say that I felt completely unable to commit any of them to print. It was all too much. I had to go bake a cake, arrange some flowers and try to resume my innocence.