Anomalies and juxtapositions

by Radio Somewhere

Recently, some of my weekdays have begun in Belltown, which involves a forty-minute bus ride from my home in West Seattle. After getting off the bus, I have some time to kill – which happens at a coffee shop, naturally.

Now I’m not the most adventurous Seattlite when it comes to coffee shops and I have to confess to patronizing the evil corporate mega giant far too often. But, I was introduced to a place called Bedlam, at 2nd and Bell, and am totally digging it. The coffee is great; the prices are friendly; the baristas are dedicated; and the mis-matched furniture is extremely eclectic. Also, the radio is tuned to KEXP, which is probably the only music station I can enjoy.

There’s WiFi, but I don’t bother to connect – because this strikes me as a coffee shop to read in. Now, I’m not a cool person. In fact, I sometimes insist that I am the Anti-Cool. I’ve made it well into middle age without a tattoo of any kind; my ear-piercings closed up years ago; I wear sensible walking shoes; my hair is its natural color; I don’t smoke or do drugs (other than wine) and, I own a Nook e-reader (the Simple Touch.)

I have quite a library on my Nook – and an account of the contents will wait for its own blog post! I had not used the Nook in a few months and it was fun to decide which of my “Collected Works” to dive into. I decided on Eudora Welty.

For someone with a PhD, I am not that well read – but I have been working on that in recent years. My introduction to Eudora Welty, around four years ago, was an episode of PRI Selected Shorts which featured two stories: The Key, and Lillie Daw And The Three Ladies. Her writing makes me nostalgic for the South – despite the fact I have never really lived there (unless you do count Kentucky and Florida) – and despite the fact that I am not that fond of the idea of the South in general. But she touches on a richness to that world that draws you in – and makes you wonder if you might have missed out on something.

As I read Ladies In Spring and Kin, Welty’s Mississippi somehow merged seamlessly with my Seattle – in such an unlikely setting. I think she would have enjoyed writing in Bedlam, looking out on a Belltown morning. There’s a richness there too – a very different richness – or, perhaps, not so different after all:)

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