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The truck driver might have been too eager to reduce, reuse and recycle today. I encountered this scene on my morning walk on Queen Anne in Seattle.

Good news: the Porsche suffered only a minor scrape on the right side of the rear fender. Better news: the Wicked Witch of the East was flattened and killed.

I’m all for striking up conversations with strangers at coffee shops. It’s very European.

But what I got ensnared in at Tully’s this afternoon was far from a stimulating conversation. I had gone to the Tully’s on top of Queen Anne to do some reading, writing and procrastinating. I didn’t get anything done, even the procrastinating. 

My first mistake was sitting at the communal table. My second mistake was taking a stretch and looking away from the computer screen. That interlude was an invitation for the older gentleman across from the table to start talking to me.

It started innocently enough. He talked about some op-ed he read in the New York Times. Then he buttered me up with some compliments about how I looked like I enjoyed thinking. And then … he went off. The table had become his pulpit. It was no more a conversation than saying that talking to your dog is a conversation. It was a self-absorbed soliloquy. About the current political climate. About Fascism. Neo-Fascism. About Nazism. About neo-Nazism. He dropped references about Hegel and Nietzsche. The Germanic psyche. Junk bonds entered the lecture at some point. So did Michael Milkin and Ted Turner. The sub-prime mortgage. World War I. World War II.

This guy was a piece of work. Laughed at his own inane jokes. At some point I just tuned out. Obviously, I was just the latest fool to be duped into a “conversation” with the guy. I was on the verge of telling him that I didn’t want to be lectured and that I had to leave. Thankfully, a homeless guy on the street tapped on the window and pointed to my dog, who was chewing her leash. Sadie, you are a genius. I made as quick an exit as I could and bolted out of there.

Sadie had chewed the leash almost all the way through. So we crossed the street to get her another leash. I wasn’t even upset that I had to spend $18 on another one.

You’ve been warned. Next time, I’m going to one of the other 15 coffee shops on Queen Anne. And wearing headphones.

Staircase at Wing Luke

I stopped by the newly opened Wing Luke Asian Museum on Wednesday. It was so new the smell of the recently applied paint caused me to have a headache. No, it was not a tumor. 

The musem still have some issues to iron out. I arrived just in time to witness an Asian lady unbraid some poor volunteer for the museum not having signs for the bathroom. Take a chill pill, lady. This was the same lady who seemed to boast that she had given the museum a $20 check for her and her companion. Admission was $8, so she gave the museum four extra George Washingtons to make her feel special. She had more important things to do though, because she left after 10 minutes.

Not that there was that much to see anyway. The museum most likely opened a few weeks too early. There were only two main galleries open. The Community Portrait Galleries, which sounded interesting in the program, were empty.

There weren’t that many exhibits, especially for the $8 admission price — $9.50 if you wanted the Immersion tour, which I paid for (more on that later).

The George Tsutakawa Art Gallery was nice. That’s all I can really say about it. Nice. If you’ve ever been to the Seattle Public Library, you may recognize his work, the water fountain, “Fountain of Wisdom,” at the 4th avenue entrance. Perhaps it was the headache or the mild sweat that I was experiencing, but I just didn’t connect with the exhibit. One interesting nugget, however. His son, Gerry, sculpted the baseball mitt outside Safeco Field.

The other gallery, “Honoring Our Journey”, was a hodgepodge of pieces. It was like Asian-American studies 101 packed into 1,200 square feet. It lacked cohesion, in my humble and uncultured opinion. Again, it could’ve been the fumes.

So I went on the one-hour Immersion tour, led by Vi Mar, a wonderfully earnest woman. She led us to a section of the museum that was closed to the general public. It was preserved to look like the hotel that housed immigrants from China, Japan and the Philippines (the picture above is of the “old” hotel). Overall, the tour was underwhelming. I didn’t feel like I was immersed in much. I assume the five other people who went on the tour felt the same way.

Yet, I’m happy to see this museum in the heart of Chinatown. I remember going to the old Wing Luke, it was dark, tucked away, cramped. This museum is impressive, especially the entryway and main staircases. But I think the museum’s exhibits will never be its strength. The museum will flourish if it opens up its public spaces — the meetings rooms, the reflection areas, the library, the theater — to the community. And perhaps cut the admission by a couple bucks.

Here’s a link to a few photos of my trip.