The Best Places to Chill in Seattle and Spend (Almost) Nothing

chill seattle
Bro be chillin’.

Seattle is expensive. Everyone knows this. But if you chill at these places you can spend next to nothing and essentially be a vagrant without all the negative connotations that brings.

Madison Market

Shit is expensive here. But sometimes they have samples, and you can just buy a La Croix ($0.69) and chill in the nice indoor seating area.

Whole Foods (Roosevelt)

Shit is expensive here. But they have brewed yerba mate for under $2.00 and you can also post up in the cafe and buy nothing. Just don’t go at lunch time, when the place is rife with parents and their small children screaming/spilling food/doing other things small children do.

Elliott Bay Books

My only gripe with this place is it’s so chill, it’s so relaxing, that the only thing I want to do when I’m there is fall asleep. Today I was reading The Story of my Teeth by Valeria Luiselli. When I grabbed the book off the shelf one of the employees looked at me like, “You piece of shit I know you’re not going to buy that book you literally come in here everyday and have never bought a book,” but then just smiled. Upstairs I tried to read it but just got so…tired. And I’m not going to pay for anything in the cafe. Little Oddfellows is expensive.

Trader Joe’s

OK, you can’t really chill here. But they have samples/free coffee all day. Which means I chill here a lot, albeit in short stints.

Odegaard Library, UW Campus

My login still works at the computers, so sometimes I come here to work. It’s also a nice place to watch UW students “study,” i.e. peruse Facebook. The next generation is lost, man.

So there you have it. Like, there you have it. Like, chill, bro. Like, chill. There you have it. There. You. There you have it. Have it. Have it. Have it.

Tinder pt. 3: The Playboy

It’s been a fun process going from Tinder failure to Tinder playboy. With the help of my Tinder consultant Jenny I now have several matches, some of whom I’m even talking to.

Opening lines are my forte. Take this gem:

OK. it’s not hilarious, but at least it’s somewhat unusual. I call this technique the “I can’t tell if he’s kidding or not” and like it because it immediately weeds out unsuitable mates. If she thinks it’s funny we can proceed, and if she doesn’t we can stop talking.

I’m still not sure whether it’s best to open with a question or a statement. On the one hand questions elicit answers. On the other hand most people, when they’re comfortable around each other, speak in statements. What I have found is if they don’t answer the question you can just answer it yourself.

For example:

This conversation is useful because it tells me several things about this girl. 1) She’s American (“huh”). 2) Her sense of humor is similar to mine. 3) She’s at least a tiny bit interested.

I’ve found it’s very common for girls to never ask questions on Tinder. They’re so used to being bombarded by insistent men they don’t need to ask questions. This girl’s question tells me she hasn’t been completely jaded by this bombardment.

What happens if she doesn’t respond at all? Then you keep the conversation going until it ceases to be funny (for you).

For example (to a girl who said, “Everything I say and do is 100% weather contingent”):

This is not technically a conversation, since a conversation takes two. But I find it amusing. And with online dating, if you’re amused, that’s good enough. The second it becomes a headache or a source of despair is the second it’s not worth it; this is the one incontrovertible fact I’ve found about online dating. You’re doing this for yourself, and mustn’t forget that. After, as Lao Tzu said, “Seek others’ approval, and you become their prisoner.”


The Pleasures of Mate


Yerba mate (MA-tay) is in the holly family. It’s cultivated in northern Argentina and its leaves are dried and shredded into goldfish food-like flakes. In Argentina the “palos,” or stems, are left in. In Uruguay the stems are taken out. Uruguayans say Argentinian mate is “all sticks.” Argentinians say, “Uruguay is not a real country.”

To prepare mate first heat water. I almost wrote “boil,” but boiling is one of the cardinal sins of mate preparation. You’re less likely to offend an Argentinian by snorting the yerba than by boiling the water. They claim it changes the water’s “composition,” that it burns the yerba. What it does do is make steep faster, and thus less suitable for sharing, which is the primary objective of mate. Mate can be drunk alone, and if you drink enough mate you’ll inevitably drink it alone, just as in life you’ll eventually be all alone. Those around you will perish, and you’ll be sitting on a park bench somewhere, sipping mate.

While the water is heating prepare your gourd, or simply “mate.” Fill it two thirds full, tilt it and insert the straw at the low end so it digs in and touches the bottom.  Some people prime the yerba with lukewarm water, claiming this makes it less likely to burn. I learned mate preparation from an Argentinian woman named Mercedes who yelled at me when it was too hot or too cold, and grumbled when it hadn’t been primed. I still remember the first time I prepared it well, passed it to her, and she said, after taking a sip, “Está bien.”

Once the yerba is primed add hot water, making sure not to get all the yerba wet at once. Pour a small quantity into the cavity created by the straw. Drink it yourself, drink it until it’s gone, then refill it and pass it to the left. Do not leave part of it un-drunk. And do not touch the straw. Hold the mate by the gourd, never the straw.  Argentinians are adamant about this. I think they think holding the straw makes you look weak.

The one who prepares the mate is called the cebador/a and is in charge of all subsequent mate pours for that session. Being the cebador is a good feeling. It’s like commanding a large fleet of ships, except in this case it’s only one ship and it’s really a small wooden vessel meant for serving tea. However, with the position of cebador comes great responsibility. Argentinians will judge you on the quality of your preparation. If an Argentinian is evaluating you as a potential mate, your ability to “cebar” will make or break his/her decision. Is she going to spend the rest of her life with someone who can’t prepare mate? Have unskilled-at-mate-preparing babies? Spend afternoons in the park drinking lukewarm water and weeping?

Lately I’ve been drinking pre-prepared mate from grocery stores like PCC and Whole Foods. It’s becoming more common. Real mate is better, but to find the real mate drinkers you need to head south. Upon crossing into Argentina you’ll start to see them. In Chile you have to go a bit further south, at least south of Santiago.

The ritual of mate is not just the social aspect, the taste, or the satisfaction you get from doing something well. It’s all of these things. It’s synergy. So go to your local grocery store and buy a bag. Or better yet, buy a gourd (they sell good, polyurethane ones on Amazon), some yerba (Guayaki isn’t terrible, but Rosamonte or Cruz de Malta are better), and make some new friends.

Just remember not to boil the water. Or touch the straw).