Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 32 (or: Here’s to all things Quirky!)

One of the many wonderful things about living in a quirky, artsy, rustic, raw and wild little seaport town is that quirky things occur without any sort of prompting or contrivance.

Things like Kinetic Sculpture races (for the Grand scale) or seagull art (on a minor scale) or the local greasy spoon standing in as a lending library.

Yes. Sea J’s Café (using the word café very loosely) is a fixture in Port Townsend. A greasy, tiny, bawdy, fixture of true local significance and culture (not to be easily usurped by the new urban yuppies and health food junkies). One room, about 15x15, with a kitchen as large, both splattered from floor to ceiling in coffee and grease and off-color jokes, pictures and bumper stickers, all presided over by the sweetest rough around the edges staff you could ever find.

If you imagine something out of a movie scene, where local fisherman dine cheaply on boxed Danish and self serve mud which stands in for coffee, you’d be just a hair shy, because not only does Sea J’s make the meanest mushroom burger, onion rings and coffee milkshake, but it also hosts an informal book exchange (color me pleasantly shocked!). Today, as I was waiting patiently (read: slobbering slightly and slamming my spork on the table in anticipation) for my grease fix (more about my lapse of no meat-cheese-and sugar-ness in some other post), I took a minute to look around (actually, you could probably take several days to look around and still not see everything) and discovered the most phenomenal book about mothering lingering amidst a stack of paperback romance novels and historical murder mysteries. When I asked about the book, the staff gave a flick of a hand and said: “oh, people just bring ‘em in when they’re done with ‘em and take ‘em when they want ‘em!”

I walked away, hands heavy with a heart-attack-in-a-bag and my new book, imagining a world where we all took our read-through books to the local diner, ate our sustaining slice of pie and left with a different book in hand. What a lovely world that would be. I then imagined sharing my lending library find, only to cause a cascading over-abundance of books being donated to Sea J’s. Where would they put them all? You’d run out of room awfully quick in a 15x15 room.

Ah well, imaginings aside, Quirky, Offbeat Day 32 of One Thousand Days I picked out some choice and not so choice books from my bookshelf and took them down to Sea J’s to replenish the stock I took and to add to this very charming little library.

32 down, 968 to go.

Sea J's Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. You captured the heart of Sea J's in a nutshell and made me ever so much more homesick!

  2. Thank you! If I could send you a heart-attack-in-a-bag, I would! We'll have to get together for a grease fest the next time you're "home"!

  3. Hi Cara,
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