West Seattle, Washington
That’s what the penguins in “Madagascar” said, anyway. Tonight while I waited to drive up the 1st Avenue South ramp to the westbound WS Bridge, a variation, from a panhandler walking briskly down the driver’s side of the backup — “Even a nod and a smile, even a nod and a smile, even a nod and a smile,” he chanted.
I didn’t process what he was saying quickly enough to consider honoring his request. I used to be a sucker for any poverty pitch, till the day I came off the WS Bridge onto the eastbound 1st Avenue S. ramp and saw the big wad of panhandler signs stuffed into a gap between railings. Something too calculated about it, I realized, and stopped being a sucker.
Breakfast today at Zatz, West Seattle’s only bagel shop. Its bulletin board heralds a milestone passed just last month — 10 years in business! One of the Admiral Junction’s success stories. I wonder sometimes why that part of town has been so slow to gentrify; certainly there are other bright spots such as Metropolitan Market, but otherwise, what a mixed bag. Maybe it’s on track to become our banking district, with the new Bank of America joining Wells Fargo & WaMu, but it’s also the franchisey-est Junction, with Jack in the Box, Baskin Robbins, and (West Seattle’s original!) Starbucks all elbow-to-elbow. Which reminds me, have to find out what they’re going to do with the old gas-station property on the franchise side of the street.