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Tripping with the Double Rainbow Guy: Filming and Sightseeing in Seattle, Washington

Surprise, Surprise

On our way to Seattle!

On our way to the First Class Lounge.  I can taste that blue cheese.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my current boyfriend, Bear, receives random and fun gifts from the universe on the regular.  And I don’t know why.  But that’s how it is.  So, I was not surprised when a well-known advertising agency contacted him to star in the safety video for an airline that can not be named but rhymes with Belta (and incidentally is my least favorite airline in the world).  It seemed so random and yet so typical.  It’s been five years since his Double Rainbow video blew up and yet these opportunities still come in.

I watch from our broken second-hand couch, as Bear negotiates a contract with the fancy ad agency.  Sentences are deleted and others are added and Bear makes a special diva request that his wife (meaning me, but no, we are not married) accompany him for the shoot in Seattle.  The agency agrees and soon tickets are delivered.  We’ve never flown together and it seems ironic that Bear, who hates traveling, is taking me on our first trip together.  But I like it.

The Journey Begins

Our journey begins by driving through the woods and over the hills to Fresno, a world-famous destination for…um………..?  I learned on the way that Bear is a nervous traveler, quite anxious until he is finally on the plane.  I am the opposite.  A  journey, even with multiple layovers in far-flung places acts as some sort of soothing, sedative balm for my anxieties.  Traveling is perhaps the only time, when I am not anxious.  Explain that Freud.

From Fresno we fly on the afore-not-mentioned airline (that rhymes with Celta) over snowy peaks to Salt Lake City.  We have First Class tickets in hand for the rest of the journey to Seattle – a boon by anyone’s standards.  Having flown quite a bit in business class using award miles (because I could never pay for such a thing!) I assume that during our two-hour layover we can hang-out in the lounge of the airline (that rhymes with Felta).  So upon landing, we head to the lounge.  I am excited to make a cappuccino, put my feet up while reading the New York Times, drink some free booze and enjoy all the privileges of wealth that a First Class ticket brings.

As we enter the lounge (of the airline that rhymes with Helta), two agents dressed in suits sit behind an elevated desk.  I approach the male and hand over the tickets, my mouth already salivating for fine blue cheese and grapes.  While the gentleman (working for the airline that rhymes with Gifelta) punches his keyboard, Bear, wearing a T-shirt and camouflage sweatpants (oddly, I could see them) explains to the woman agent with the enthusiasm of a child:

“I’m going to Seattle to film your next in-flight safety video!”

The awkward smile and the slight narrowing of her eyes makes it clear that she thinks Bear is insane.  Which is not an uncommon response to Bear, and maybe not even inaccurate.  Sure, I get it – he doesn’t exactly look like the type of guy that would represent a major airline (that rhymes with Jelta) but for gawd sakes, fake it lady!  Isn’t being fake your whole job!?  Play along!  You might just be surprised!

In a moment the agent is handing back our tickets.  “I’m afraid you don’t qualify to join us in the lounge, unless you have one of these credit cards (branded by the airline that rhymes with Stupelta).

First Class meal

First Class meal on an airline that rhymes with Pelta).

“But we’re flying First Class”, I say, dumbfounded and defeated.  Reader, did I tell you I could taste that fine blue cheese cheese already?

“Mmmmmmmsorry” he says with lips constricted as tight as the pocketbook of an airline (that rhymes with Cheapelta).

Outside the lounge we have to laugh.  The riff-raff called “us” heads to the food court.  No blue cheese today.  No worries.  As we walk to our gate, a man shouts out “Hey Wolfman!”  Bear plays along.  He is commonly mistaken for Wolfman Jack by the over 50 club.

We board the plane and settle into our First Class seats.  My how the tables have turned!  Now, we watch as the riff-raff files past us.  It turns out that Bear’s ecstatic enthusiasm is not limited to Double Rainbows but extends to flying also.  As we lift off, Bear is glued to the window hollering “Wow!  Look at the clouds!  Look at the earth!  That’s cooooooool man!  Woah!  He now has the attention of the whole first class cabin.   I shrink into my seat and he continues:  “Woah!  So beautiful!  It’s increeeeedible how fast were flying!”

Over time with Bear, I’ve gotten accustomed to this feeling of total mortification.  I have not died yet.  The staff (of the airline that rhymes with Lelta) is looking at him in the same way they did in the lounge.  I focus on counting how many peanuts are in the bag I have been given.  This won’t take long.  15.5 peanuts.  He continues: “Loooooook at that! Woooooah!”  Moving onto the Mini Pretzels…

I’m not 100% mortified.  About 20% of me loves and envies his total lack of self-consciousness.  And he reminds me that in fact the clouds are amazing and we are going really fast and it is wonder-ful.  

After arrival in Seattle, we are transported to a colossal airport hotel where we dine on the finest that Subway has to offer and rest before the big day.

Lights, Camera, Almost no Action

At the shoot in a hanger.

At the shoot in a hanger.

We are transported to an airplane hanger (for an airline that rhymes with Melta) where hundreds of people sit at folding tables and representatives of the fancy-schmancy ad agency run around like there is a fire at a clown show.  I marvel at the size of the hanger.  Never have I been so close to a plane that won’t be taking me somewhere.

The day is all about waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  There are forms to complete and stuffy conference rooms to sit in.  A catering table serves the dried kale chips,  wasabi peas, and gluten-free crackers that one would expect celebrities to eat.  I plunge in.

People, usually women,  approach Bear all day asking “Are you the Double Rainbow Guy?”  When they hear “yes”, they become extremely happy.  How fun it would be to have this affect on people!  And then they ask sheepishly if they can take a picture which Bear never refuses.  Bear is introducing me as his wife and I am feeling like the Sharon Osbourne of the Ozzy of rainbows.

A flock of real flight attendants (for an airline that rhymes with Selta) with gleaming white teeth and smiles for miles want Bear’s company,  joining him at the table and peppering him with questions.  Of course he loves the attention of three beautiful women who act like he’s the world’s most interesting man.  I sit on the sidelines feeling very much the “old lady” and stuff my pie hole with kale chips.  I’m not trying to suggest that Bear is famous like a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney, but I have had a realization about the strength of the Yoko Onos and the Linda McCartneys of the world since dating Bear.  Those women were solid.

We pass time talking to another YouTube star, Laina (aka Overly Attached Girlfriend).  At age 23, she has well over a million subscribers on YouTube.  She has an agent, production assistance, gets flown back and forth between Texas and Los Angeles and makes a good living producing one short video a week.  Her videos are comedic in nature and her humor does not disappoint in real life.  I watch as Bear develops a crush on her, his face softening while hanging on her every word, his smile growing wider and his eyes becoming glassy and passive.  Oh how I miss the days when he would look at me this way!  Wait a minute…. No, I don’t.

At the shoot in a hanger.

Waiting for his moment.

A man with a headset and a laminated badge calls Bear to the dressing room for makeup.  The beautiful and flawless Laina had spent nearly half an hour in the chair so I was ready to wait it out in the musty costume/makeup room while Bear got worked over.  Bear enters the room and is invited by a mid-aged woman with a curve-enhanced anatomy to sit.  She circles his chair once.

“Is this how you usually wear your hair?” she asks while stroking his curly locks and staring intently into his face.  “Yeah”, Bear replies.  There is a moment of silence which holds a cupful of tension.  “Wow. You have the most beeeeeaaauuuuautiful eeeeyyyes” she continues, now twirling his hair tightly on her index finger.  Bear smiles and thanks her like a schoolboy.  She stands back to get a better look and then without a single dab of cream, without a single puff of powder, without a single swipe of a comb or tweeze of a hair she declares: “I don’t think there’s anything we can do.  You’re perfect just the way you are.

I swear I heard her purr.

It’s a wonder Bear’s head fit through the door as we left the room.  I wonder if my gagging was audible.

Finally, Bear is called for his scene and we board the aircraft which is unventilated and full of extras making it as hot as a Saharan sauna.  Hipster men with handlebar mustaches direct Bear in his scene which involves rainbows and overhead compartments.  After several takes he is dismissed and we return to the hanger so I can stuff my face with more kale chips.  After several more hours of waiting, he is dismissed and we are driven back to our hotel room.  Job completed.

We’re told the safety video (for an airline that rhymes with Xelta) will be premiering in the Spring.  Can’t wait.

Sightseeing in Seattle

Bear and the Space Needle

Bear and the Space Needle

Bear dreams to go to the Space Needle.  Without a car, and with Bear’s broken-ankle limited mobility, this is an all day affair.

Somehow, it comes up that a very successful ex-boyfriend of mine, also from East Los Angeles, lives in the city and Bear wants to meet him because they are roughly the same age and from the same background.  And so we journey by bus across the city until I am once again face to face with a man I once loved but haven’t seen for a decade.  And Bear.  And let me tell you dear readers, this is not the most comfortable situation.  The ex, Steve, was nice enough to take us for a cocktail (just what the doctor ordered!) in his very nice neighborhood of Alki Beach which offered a panoramic view of Seattle and the mountains.  What could be better than your old boyfriend telling your current boyfriend ridiculous stories about your drunken behavior a decade ago?  Mmmmm….a lot of things.

In any case, it was good to realize how much I’ve changed and grown and humbling to realize the ways in which I haven’t.  Steve brought us to the bus stop and soon we were headed for the iconic Space Needle.  But we would not arrive before having met some locals.

An older woman with long gray hair swept atop her head and secured with a sculpture of bobby pins that could only be explained with drunken hairstyling or mental illness commented on Bear’s T-shirt which featured a picture of a grizzly bear.  Without prompting, she told us that she grew up in the Washington countryside and as a child she had a Grizzly bear family living on her land and they would come in the house and she would cuddle with the baby bears in her bed.  I wanted to slap her in a jealous rage.  Listen lady, some of us only had teddy bears to cuddle with.  Didn’t your parents ever tell you that not everyone was born with a baby grizzly bear in their bed?!  Keep it to yourself Braggy McBragerson.

The Space needle was a rip-off of unbelievable proportions.  At $21 per person, it was as painful as being stabbed by a needle.  Originally, I wasn’t going to go but at the final moment that same tourist guilt that has stolen my money all over the world kicked in:  “I’m here. I might never be here again.  I can’t go to Seattle and not see the Space Needle.”  Guess what my poor traveling friends?

View from the Space Needle

View from the Space Needle.  I just saved you $20.

Yes you can. Especially if you are on a budget.  Like I am.

If you have even the slightest imagination you can kind of figure out what you’ll see up there but I’m going to save you that trouble.  In fact, I am going to give you an accurate description with full-color, clear-day pictures for only one dollar!  That’s a $20 savings folks!  Here you go:

You enter the round building which has brightly colored carpet.  You board an elevator that holds about twenty people.  One side of the elevator is glass so you can get really freaked out (me) or admire the view (everyone else).  The 43-second ride makes your stomach drop.  You emerge inside the building where people like me can be found gripping the walls.  Or you can go outside where at 520 feet, or half the height of the Empire State Building, you have a 360-degree view of mountains and downtown and water and Mt. Rainer which is snowy and looks like… a snowy mountain.  There is a cage over the observation deck so you can’t commit suicide, so don’t even think about it.  Inside, there is a cafe that sells the worst $3 hot chocolate you’ve ever had.

That will be $1. You’re welcome.

Photos of Our Trip to Seattle (click to view):

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