Thursday, June 16, 2011


Tully's Coffee at Union Station in the International District
(This and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

A STAND OF BAMBOO TREES separates this Tully's Coffee shop from its competitor, Starbucks, which is located diagonally to the northwest in the busy Union Square of the Emerald City's International District.

While competition is said to be healthy in a democratic society, it's more than just a Bamboo Curtain that sets Tully's apart--not necessarily vertically, but definitely horizontally--from Starbucks.

For starters, I like the presence of more furniture (and, in some areas of the room, more comfortable furniture) at Tully's.  As you enter the shop, there's a variety of seating arrangements that meet the eye. To the left, if you're fortunate enough to arrive there early or when the area is vacant, you'll find an ideal writer's or student's table.  This is where I plopped down for a few hours today to write the previous post and do some prep work for the one you are reading right now.

(I am laughing inside because I am actually finishing this piece while seated at the handicapped table at the aforementioned Starbucks shop.  Hey, it's a free world, right?)

Anyway, I was served by two very personable young men, Tobin and David.  

David is sporting a handsome Van Dyke these days, and I complimented him on doing such a good job growing and grooming it.  David immediately called out my drink by rote, and that impressed me to no end since it's been months since I last saw him in the shop.

Tobin, whom I have featured in a rather complimentary Yelp post I wrote about a year ago for this same coffee shop, has a very sincere and winning way about him.  Often, I see him sporting a dapper derby hat.  He is probably older than his youthful appearance belies.  

Between the writing and photographing, I got a refill of their drip coffee and ordered a savory tomato and basil roll, heated to draw out its wonderful flavor.

Another feature of Tully's Coffee is the presence of a large, attractive table adjacent to where I was seated.  I've observed many a friendly, familial, and/or serious business meeting occur at this table.

The sign on the table kindly asks patrons to reserve the table for large groups.  For the most part, customers politely honor this request.

The atmosphere is laid back in direct contrast to the competitor shop.  While this is not necessarily viewed as a business plus at the corporate level, it is--from the customer's perspective--a tranquil alternative that encourages the flowing of creative juices, the catalyst for pheromone chemistry, the suitable arena for finals cramming, and the fostering of business and political liaisons.

Who frequents the shop?  Well, Hawaiian Odysseus, for one.  Many a blog post has been written in this Tully's, several of which were born in a mind severely fatigued from having just emerged from a one-hour bus ride immediately following a graveyard shift at the bagel sweat shop.  Oh, did I just write sweat?  How purposely Freudian of me!

There is a corporate Amazon presence close by, and many of its employees enjoy a nice caffeinated brew here.  Police officers, security guards, transit authorities, and--no doubt--plainclothes cops and detectives stroll in at times.  On the other end of the spectrum, there is an occasional homeless person who just scored on some coffee money handout.  In between are the yuppies, attorneys, public transportation (Amtrak, Sounder, Link Light /Rail, and Metro and Sound Transit bus) commuters, janitors, and backpackers (a loosely defined group of which I am a proud cardholder).

I digress at this point with a SECRET moment...


There, I manifested my secret by daring to boldly proclaim it in a public forum.  The seeds are taking root in a very fertile universe.

Thank you, Tully's Coffee at Union Square in the International District, for being a groomsman (or maid of needs to be especially politically correct in trendy and super liberal Seattle) in my wedding to SUCCESS.

Ah, my narcissism rears its swell head when fueled by the java jolts of not just one, but TWO coffee competitors.

It's time I draw this to its illogical conclusion.

Tomorrow, I will ride an Amtrak train for the very first time in my 6-decade life from Seattle to Portland.  

The occasion?

For the first time in 33 years, I will be reunited with my father.  So, as much as I know you enjoyed this current post, do me a favor, won't you? and help me pay tribute to dear old Dad by revisiting the last entry.

For your convenience, here is the link:

You'll hear from me again when I'm crabbing with my loved ones on the Oregon coast.


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