Every morning I walk through Pike Place Market. I will never stop loving Pike Place Market, nor will I ever give up calling it Pike’s like a spacey tourist. I arrive on bus 31 at 3rd and Pine at 8:16, which leaves me 14 minutes to walk to 1201 Western Ave, Seattle Met HQ, 6 blocks away. I hustle past the closed shops on Pine and the just-waking homeless, racing down toward Puget Sound so I can go slowly through the barely roused market. I pass by the guy with the “Old Hippies Need Love Too” sign and exchange routine nods and clomp down that last little steep pitch past Sur La Table and Beechers, peeking into both. Some mornings I see the white-jacketed staff of Marche prepping in their big kitchen, quietly looking over long lists, clearly appreciating the rarity of silence in that space. Then I’m on down that little strip of shops on the left of the market; the Chinese steamed bun place, the tiny old couple already there rolling dough; the pastry shop whose windows are filled with croissants and baguettes, leaving only a tiny hole for the vendor’s face; the cinnamon-heavy bakery whose blueberry bran muffins I cannot resist. I continue South, muffin in hand, crossing paths with this dapper old man who is always, always there, nodding to his market friends, hands in the pockets of his khaki overcoat. Sometimes I pop into the market proper, the covered space that becomes packed pandemonium on a summer Sunday. The fish is coming in, their shiny bodies getting re-situated in new ice, their glassy eyes all lined up, their mouths gaping, showing their odd little fish teeth. The dried flower ladies arrive around the same time as me, announced by their rustling as they move box after box of dyed-purple thistles and silver spray-painted wheat in from vans. 8:25, I walk back up to 1st. Past the tacky T-shirt shops, past the Four Seasons, past Frans and their worth-three-dollar dark chocolate almonds, past SAM and the hammering man I remember thinking was Paul Bunyan. Turn right where University ends, trot down the Harbor Steps, look at myself in the vacant storefront windows on the corner, watch everyone else look at themselves in the window, lust after the candlesticks in Liave, pull open the very big front doors, click across the lobby, catch the elevator, wonder whats on the key-holder-only 7th floor, get off at the 4th, say “Good Morning” and try not to yawn, walk past the food critic’s office, feel full of job envy, and there I am, at my very own desk, with my mason jar of pistachios and tacked-up picture of me and my mom and dad.

P.S. I am a tiny bit proud: read my restaurant post on the Seattle Met food blog.

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