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Monday, April 18, 2005

Close to Home

I can often go a week or more without venturing more than about ten blocks from my apartment. I write this in a coffee shop three blocks from home. I come here on Saturdays because where I usually go is closed on weekends. The faces here are all familiar. I recognize most of the staff and many of the patrons who inhabit my neighborhood. Most people find Seattle, and my area in particular, a nice place to live and stay here. I have now lived in Seattle longer than I have lived anywhere in my adult life.

It is raining today so I’ll go to my gym after this to ride the stationary bike and read a magazine or two. My gym is two blocks from where I now sit. From there I’ll backtrack a few blocks to the grocery store—I have my choice of three all within a block of each other. Perhaps on the way to get groceries I’ll stop in the used bookstore and look around for nothing in particular. My reading habit seems to be lacking a theme lately. Maybe I’ll look through the travel section near the front door. I’m overdue for a vacation but sometimes a day off seems like a vacation if I pry myself away from my usual haunts.

Sometimes it takes entertaining an out-of-town visitor to get me to venture outside of my immediate downtown neighborhood. If you are only spending a few days in Seattle you could do a lot worse than spend your time walking around where I live. What the area lacks in charm it more than makes up for in utility and convenience. So after showing my latest guest the nickel tour of the city we settled into my normal routine. I can’t say whether or not my friend is as lazy and as stuck in a rut as I, but it wasn’t my idea to go to my favorite pub three or four times during a three day visit. The pub is two blocks from my door so it’s definitely the easiest of easy dining alternatives.

I noticed in today’s newspaper that gasoline prices have topped $3 a gallon out here on the West Coast. With the way I live I really couldn’t care less if gas topped $10 a gallon. Even if I had to pay as much for gasoline as I do for locally-brewed beer, it wouldn’t factor much into my monthly budget. Sometimes my monthly expenditure on gas is zero. I wish that I could say that about locally-brewed beer. I hate to keep harping on this idea of proximity but one of the beers that I drink is brewed about 15 blocks from my apartment. As with many other aspects of my life, I drink locally. There may be a brewery closer to home but I really like this exotic ale from across the Ballard Bridge.

When I do get around to fishing out my passport and stuffing some clothes into my backpack I’ll probably go some place in Europe that doesn’t look too different from where I live now. Once I’m there I’ll try to act like I live there. I’ll frequent a favorite cafĂ© near my hotel. Even when I travel I like to stay close to home.

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