(Note: I wrote this essay after watching the recently debuted Netflix movie version of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on the play by African-American dramatist August Wilson. I am a huge Wilson fan, and wanted to tell the story of how I discovered him and why I believe he’s one of America’s literary treasures.)
One of my favorite college courses at Stanford was Modern Drama, where we read the canon of the best plays from the last 150 years. We started with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and worked our way through O’Neill (Long Day’s Journey Into Night), Miller (Death of…
I actually had to look up the phrase on Google Translate.
“Can I play?” “Puedo jugar?”
It was a scene right out of a movie — the kid standing on the sidelines, watching a pickup game and wishing someone would invite him to join. Only in this case, the kid is a 49-year-old gringo, watching Costa Ricans decades his junior enjoy a casual Sunday-afternoon game of futból.
In truth, I wasn’t totally sure my joining in was a wise idea. I hadn’t actually played soccer in years — my last foray was in a Seattle rec league six or seven…
So, it’s Starbucks. Again. Call me David. (See, there was a character in Moby-Dick named Starbuck, which served as the inspiration for… oh, never mind.)
According to Google Maps, it’s 4,414 miles from where I sit in this Costa Rica Starbucks to the Mothership (Starbucks global headquarters) in Seattle. Somehow, I suppose it’s perfectly appropriate that I come more than 4,000 miles from my Seattle home to find that my favorite local hangout here in Costa Rica’s capital of San José is… Starbucks.
I, however, find a dark irony in this. You see, I’m not a Starbucks guy. When I’m…
Costa Ricans love their football. No, not the NFL (although you can find those games on TV down here). The game that is actually played with the feet — fútbol, in Spanish. Only in the USA is the world’s most popular sport referred to as “soccer”… but in deference to my main audience, I’ll use that term in this essay.
Flip on the TV, and just about every sports channel in Costa Rica is showing soccer. Every Uber driver has a team — just ask them. In San José, it seems like the vast majority are fanaticos de Saprissa, the…
The Man in the Street
Alarm blares. Hit snooze. Turn over in bed, burrow deeper under the covers. No, not yet. Just a few more minutes….
Alarm blares. Repeat.
Alarm blares. OK, OK. Give up. Turn off alarm, throw back covers, climb out of bed. Stumble to shower. It’s Monday morning. It sucks.
Finish shower. Get dressed. Lament having to do these boring, painful things every morning, five days a week. Resent the grind. Grumble, grumble.
Peek out the window at the morning weather. Observe a Man sprawled on the sidewalk across the busy street. Blink.
Look again. Man on…
I’ve been observing, volunteering and writing about homelessness in Seattle for the past 28 months. My writing, and subsequent activism on the issue, was sparked by regular encounters with people sleeping on the streets of the University District.
I’ve worked in the neighborhood since the fall of 2012, and because I parked on the street about a half-mile from work, I walked through the neighborhood every weekday. Seeing all the people sleeping in doorways finally got to me, and I started speaking out.
Seattle, We Have a Problem
A year ago, I moved out of the Greenwood neighborhood where I’d…
I’m a Seattle resident of four decades. I write about homelessness and other pressing (and not-so-pressing) issues that beset the human condition.