Standing in the rain in Seattle freezing my ass off and wondering why I was drinking road tar with steamed milk, and why I paid six bucks for it, provided me what my alcoholic friends refer to as a moment of clarity:

I'm not in Kansas anymore that's for damn sure. Two sugars, and thank you Dorothy.

Seattle's a strange place -- far enough away from the rest of the US to pick up the slang of other countries: The Australian "No Worries", the British "Fair Enough" and of course "Sure thing, Eh." from across the border in Canada, you betcha dontcha know. I may have to stop drinking this stuff. Sip. Hmm. Not bad ...

I'm pacing the tarmac in the frozen, drizzling, caffeine-jacked, very-damned-early morning to meet with a couple of EFIS customers who were, despite being coffee fiends, pretty damn cool. Steve is a Brit who drives his 930 like he stole it. His voice carries the words of Southern California on the sound of the English west country, which I can't _even_ try to do here. "Pretty Gnarly" just doesn't cover Sean Connery playing a surfer, but you can imagine the effect as the Starbuck's stoked my head into a place that usually takes crystal meth to visit. I don't know how they drink this shit everyday. I'm zangin pretty hard, here.

We got the airplane going, and Chris, the guy who owns the plane, rocketed me out to Boeing field with warnings and admonishments about all the weird things I might find in Seattle. Chris runs a fish factory in Alaska. I don't know if they build fish, pack them, or just do service and repair. But, like, they could, right? It's like, synthetic fish? I was kind of afraid to ask, the coffee making me paranoid, and wondering is Chris might be a cop just talkin' fish to try and blend. Fishfishfish. What is IN this shit?

So:

I've got a day to myself in a strange city and I'm gonna go look for trouble.

Downtown by the old market is where they keep all it all, and man, what a place. Asheville's got more weird per square meter, but man these guy's have got it figured out a whole 'nother way. There can't be a Salvation Army of Goodwill with anything on the rack in this town -- they're all wearing it. I know pre-washed Levi's come in all finishes, but here I can't the tell the homeless from the attorneys. At least the homeless don't have cell phones. Well, OK, most of them don't.

Dig this:

A crowd of 20-somethings talking like 50's beat poets, twitching from all the coffee and weed and ogling some homeless dude's ensemble:

"Killer thread."

"Beat."

"Down'"

Guys, he's a fuckin' bum. Broke. Impecunious. Without home, job or legal tender. It's you idiots that dress like that intentionally. Steve just shakes his head. "I dunno mate. Want to grab some coffee?" Betty Ford could make a fortune out here ... I'm starting to get a headache, and figure the caffeine will clear it out, along with a handful of Advil crunchies. "Hell yeah bro', let's do some more coffee." My Atlanta accent cracks Steve up, which is poetic justice at it's best: makes no sense at all, but at least it rhymes.

The sky was the color of an unwashed Navy fighter, the persistent drizzle threatening to become rain, hanging over our heads like an unpaid gambling debt. Jeez, I sound like William Gibson. I need more coffee. Lots more coffee. Wheeeeeeeee ....