First I need to come clean and say I’ve got one more 90s piece I’m sharing tomorrow even though I said I wouldn’t. It’s told by a musician trying to make it in Seattle pre-grunge who left for New York just as the scene broke here. Look for it tomorrow.
Thank you for the enthusiasm this week in a pretty self-indulgent project (but isn’t that the nature of nostalgia?) — it’s made me rethink what I like most about this blog, and that’s grooving off the joy of reading and writing, encouraging others to share their stories and indulge in our past, where we connect.
If you started writing something but were unable to finish it, send it to me when it’s done and I’ll feature more over the coming weeks.
In 1996 I was working at a Starbucks drive-thru on Mercer Island. Our lease was up at the Sponge Factory loft in Philadelphia and my girlfriend suggested we move to Seattle. My best friend Mike lived here and was trying to get me to move for years. My boss just called someone saying he had a guy who wanted to relocate and they said OK, and that was that.
Starbucks was celebrating the 25th anniversary of its inception in 1971 (which is a stretch, but you can get away with that in marketing) and the theme in the stores was around the psychedelia and music of the time. They had a CD compilation with John Lennon, Love and Traffic they were selling, and we all got tie-dyes we could pick from in three different color schemes.
One night I got a call at the store from someone at corporate saying they needed a shuttle driver, someone to drive people from a parking lot to the office in a mini-bus, and was I interested? I declined but asked what else they had, and that triggered me moving out of retail into corporate, and all that led to where I am today.
The guy who took that job I’m now realizing is the writer whose post I’m featuring tomorrow, Brent Stavig.
We’d climb into the shuttle and he’d take us to Pioneer Square over the lunch hour, or to our cars, as the main parking garage had a wait-list and most people parked a half mile away.
Brent always had good music playing and turned me onto one of my favorite artists to this day, Mark Kozelek of Red House Painters. We’d lend each other CDs and went out to a show once, the singer Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse — I saved a free button they gave out that night and still have it in the pocket of my jean jacket.
When I left Starbucks I hadn’t really thought through my plan. I knew we’d be relocating to Europe, but because I wasn’t sure I didn’t tell anyone, and it was strange for someone to leave without obvious plans to be doing something else. Over the course of a week I went around saying goodbye and Brent was one of those people I met with over a coffee to share my story and shake his hand, in hopes we’d meet up again one day.
So, here we are now:
Be sure to check out Brent’s post tomorrow morning, and thanks for reading this past week.