I like to consider myself a pretty honest person, so I'm just gonna lay it all out there: Seattle is a dangerous place. The birthplace of Starbucks, yes. The setting for Sleepless and Singles, I know. But beyond all those kitschy attractions and 9 months of rain, there is a kilt-wearing, too-friendly city that is not to be messed with.
It's almost 100% my fault, I admit it. When I heard Gutenberg! was coming to Seattle, I jumped at the chance to visit, not just for my love of the show but for my love of Ted Bundy and serial murder. Seattle, the home of the Green River Killer, Kurt Cobain's suicide, and Ted Bundy's first murders, was the epicenter for crime, and I wanted to be smack in the middle of it.
Because I'm sick.
And on day 1, I was pretty okay with that sickness. Our concierge friend, Fred checked us in hours ahead of schedule, our room overlooked a breath-taking highway and we were minutes away from the fish-smelling Pike. In 1993, Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner took to the streets surrounding our hotel and 16 years later, we all followed suit
with our bad-ass selves. Hello Seattle, we had ARRIVED!
Then there was the danger. In the olden days of 2007, I could never have imagined that Gutenberg! would ever endanger my life, but a bad production of this show is really not safe. First, there is the risk of visual impairment. When a show that relies on labeled hats to move along plot decides to label those hats with size 8 font, watch out. Squinting for 2 hours trying to read can cause headaches, popped blood vessels and put a whole body in duress. As could the whiplash I got from following actors zigzag around a theater facing a 2-person audience on the side of the stage - the ushers. The stress of watching an amazing script being butchered line by line also did not help my blood pressure.
But we made it through alive that night, grateful for our Gutenberg!
experience and ready to take on new challenges -- like Seattle after dark. As East Coasters accustomed to a "city that never sleeps," we were very unfamiliar with the lifestyle of other cities -- but that all changed very quickly. While young Bostonians are hitting the clubs and New Yorkers are just starting dinner, Seattle is turning the lights out and going to bed. And its bed time is 10pm. A small warning to any tourists visiting this city: if you happen to find yourselves on the streets after bed time, run. Fast. Run for your lives. Run to your hotel rooms. And for goodness sake, stay away from the homeless. While it's almost impossible in New York City not to pass a homeless person on the street, New York City homeless, for the most part, stick to their corners and leave you alone. Seattle homeless, on the other hand... ... chase you down the street asking for money.... pace back and forth and scare you at bus stops... scream at you from across an empty sidewalk... and try to converse with you on public transportation.
It's impossible to escape it, however. When 10pm hits, there is nowhere to go. No 24-hour drug stores. No supermarket. No bar. It is bed time and that is the end of it. Entertainment shall consist of solely indoor activities and only television shows that remind you of the terror outside. That includes an hour-long special on Seattle's Most Wanted and watching Texas investigator Dwayne take three days to solve a murder on A&E's The First 48.
Then once the sun rises, we can all go outside again, and on day 2, that means time for the serial killer tour.
Yes, the serial killer tour.
Led by female tour guide, Jake (or "Jakealina" as we affectionately called her), this tour consists of a 2 1/2 hour ride through Seattle's finest neighborhoods and deadliest areas. As explained to us by Jake, Seattle has a lot of serial killers because Seattle has a lot of places to hide the bodies. And in our 2 1/2 hours, we saw many of those places.
Jimmy Hendrix is dead in Seattle.
Bruce Lee is dead in Seattle.
Kurt Cobain is dead in Seattle.
This familly is dead in Seattle.
Some hippy dude is dead in Seattle
(and found in this drinking water)
Along the way, we also got our Ted Bundy fix. As we drove through the University district, we got to see his former apartment, hold a crowbar in our hands, and listen to a fellow passenger throw out more Bundy facts than a criminal attorney.
"We're all Bundy lovers here!" she screamed as we drove through the alley where he trolled for victims.
Yes we are, crazy lady who's essentially me in 20 years. Yes we are.
After our almost 3-hour tour, Jake dropped us back at our hotel and I made everyone hop on a bus, go back to the neighborhood we came from and back to another Bundy alley. As we traveled the half-hour distance, I sensed a bit of disgruntlement from my fellow passengers, but I didn't care. When you travel 3,000 miles from NY to Bundy town -- you visit the alley.
On June 10, 1974, Ted Bundy led Georgeann Hawkins away from this alley and clubbed her over the head with a crowbar. On April 17, 2009, four other girls stood in this alley of danger.
A moment of silence for all of them...
Serial killer overload then ensued and on day 3, we encountered many other kinds of danger as we took in Seattle's tourist attractions:
We were robbed blind at the Experience Music Project
Endured death-defying heights at the Space Needle.
Touched kid infestation at the arcade.
And got frost bite watching a water fountain.
Survival was key though, because later that night, we were seeing Carrie Fisher in Wishful Drinking at the Repertory Theater. While Gutenberg! may have bombed the night before, Carrie Fisher KILLED in this show -- and we laughed. And cried. And were informed. And enjoyed ourselves. Then it ended and we were almost killed in a stampede of people rushing towards the exit. It was, after all, almost 10. As we had learned all too well about bedtime, we avoided the terrifying bus for the less adventurous monorail, found the only open convenience store in town (under an overpass) and overloaded on ice cream and lottery tickets before rushing to our room to watch the midnight broadcast of Grey Gardens on HBO. That never aired. Instead, we were forced to watch ancient warriors stab each other with swords with weird music in the background and no dialogue.
When in Seattle...
Thankfully, our last day was more low-key and we strolled through the neighborhoods, took in a fish or two, and had some obligatory Starbucks coffee. Then, at the end of the evening, as we made our way to the airport on the big Seattle highway, we looked straight ahead and laid our eyes on the bright and beautiful Mt. Rainier. Where Ted Bundy dumped all of his bodies. Thanks for the memories, Seattle!!!