Greater Seattle Decay Tour, Part 2

On the way down to Seattle’s old industrial heart, Skid showed me a picture from his phone: some kid at an empty building where graffiti is tolerated. A gallery where each piece only lasts a few days. Good or bad work is laid over good or bad work and then is covered by the next good or bad work.
Graffiti-izing Tubs
“It’s that old hot-tub place at 50th and Roosevelt, ” he said. “I want to look around inside, but haven’t made it in yet—well, not since it closed. I had a date or two there back in the day— ”
“That is already way more than I want to know. Also, you don’t pronounce Roosevelt like ‘food’. It’s Roosevelt like a rose.”
“I say it like I say it. Anyway, I’m thinking that graffiti is a type of the new forms that decay produces. ”
“Decay? Cultural decay, I suppose.”
“Exactly! ”
What can you do with a guy like that? Wasn’t it clear that I thought he was stretching his concept of decay pretty thin? “So what wouldn’t qualify as decay?“ I asked.
“If you’going to put it like that question, everything decays, after a while.”
Skid parked in front of a metal-fabrication shop that was opened just in time for World War II, but is no more…and from the look of it hasn’t been for quite some time.
Amick sign
Behind the screech of the door were still-fading hints of lives lived. Everywhere we wandered in the building, ghosts. Skid wouldn’t accept it.
But what do these pictures suggest to you?
Amick stairs

Amick internal window

Amick office furniture
I said again, “Ghosts. Can’t you see their work lives on this shop floor, and in the stairs and the chairs and the window upstairs that looks down on this floor?”
Skid kicked at bits of clinker.
‘This isn’t an episode of Ghosthunters. What else do you see?”
“A museum exhibit. The past is in this place. Look, that burnt coal that you’re kicking. What is that but the past?”

Part 2 of, well, I guess it’s 3

2 thoughts on “Greater Seattle Decay Tour, Part 2

  1. As I read through this — very helpful Q&A, Vita — I get that it’s not about age, not about showing age for the sake of itself. I am getting that it seems to need some type of usefulness, some mission statement, even if it is only, “I am beautiful,” like the building front in the tour. So in that case, something like Hanford doesn’t really qualify as a decay preserve, though one might think of it that way in the most literal sense of the term, because it is a preserve, not for its usefulness or its beauty or its potential to inspire new life, but for exactly the opposite reason: for its uselessness and deadliness. Might one begin to create a set of criteria based on what we have learned from Vita’s efforts at clarification?

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