These days, shouldn't we instead be printing an "I Didn't See You" section?


The Inlander, despite the world falling apart, ad revenue shrinking and entire swaths of the economy shutting down, has maintained its commitment to the most revered section of our paper: the I Saw You section. Because if we stopped printing I Saw Yous, then who would we be? Barbarians? Animals? The Spokesman-Review?

Still, I couldn't help but feel that it felt a bit weird in the midst of the lockdown: Weren't we being told to see people as little as possible? Was "I Saw You" sending the wrong message?

And so I took a crack at what an "I Didn't See You" section might look like, complete with "Cheers" and "Jeers."


Because I-Saw-You-Writing is not considered an essential business, I wrote this myself, without the benefit of actually seeing or experiencing anything.

If you didn't see something, say something: Email ISawYou@Inlander.com for a chance to see what you didn't witness to appear in the paper.

I DIDN’T SEE YOU

Missed Connections

I didn’t see you.

I didn’t flirt with you about the book you weren’t reading at the coffee shop. I didn’t see you sizing up the second-hand scarves at Goodwill. I didn’t catch you eying me from across the student union building. We never exchanged business cards at the museum event that didn’t happen.


I didn’t admire you admiring your own delts in the mirror at the YMCA, as I wasn’t working out on the elliptical machine, because our trips to the gym never happened.

I didn’t feel a thrilling jolt last Sunday when my hand didn’t touch yours as you didn’t pass me the offering plate at the canceled church service neither of us went to. I didn’t see you shyly scrolling through your phone at the appetizers table at last weekend’s house party, because the table was never set with appetizers that were never cooked for a party that was never thrown.

I didn’t watch you dancing at nYne like nobody was watching. Nobody was watching, but nobody was dancing, either. You weren’t singing along to the music at the Whitey Morgan show last month at the Knitting Factory, and neither was Whitey Morgan.

Everywhere is too crowded, so nobody goes anywhere anymore.

You: A person of unknown attributes and traits. Me: a person of attributes and traits you won’t get to know.


I can’t help but feel that we didn’t make a connection — even a brief one — when we didn’t meet that uneventful night. Maybe it’s fate that drew us apart; maybe it’s destiny that we’ll never know what we didn’t have.

If you feel the same, maybe we can never talk about some of the cool events that aren’t happening and, some upcoming Friday night, if you’re in the mood, we can stay apart and do nothing separately.

Who knows: if we really never get to know each other at all, we could both be “filing singly” this time next year.


I Thought I Might Have Seen You, Maybe

I saw you, I think, (maybe?) at the grocery store, dutifully pushing a cart stacked high with cans of garbanzo beans. I mean, it might have been you? The “you” I saw at Safeway had a vaguely similar build to you, give or take 15 pounds. Maybe?

I could never forget that smile, radiant and wry. Though, to be frank, I couldn’t really tell if that even was your smile in the cereal aisle, considering half your face was covered in n95-graded polypropylene fiber.

Your eyes never lost that rich shade of emerald green — though I couldn’t quite tell what shade your eyes were in this case, considering I was standing more than six feet (two cart lengths!) away and considering my own mask had fogged my glasses up into a bleary haze.

And your hair! — shimmering, golden, luxurious in my memory! — was absolutely nothing like your hair I saw that day. Let’s be frank, your hair at the grocery store was looking pretty dismal, all long and scraggly, like you haven’t had a salon appointment in months.

But if, by some chance, it was you: get a hold of me. I was the one at the grocery store wearing a mask, looking completely unrecognizable.

I Saw You, Against Medical Guidance

I saw you. All the doctors and experts and even the governor himself couldn’t keep me away!

You were as hot as ever. (“You’ve got a fever of 103!” Remember that Foreigner song?! ;) )

For the first time, you didn’t even complain about the taste or smell of my cooking. You honestly seemed a bit choked up to see me. Did I take your breath away?

If you want to see me again, my new temporary address is 101 West 8th Ave.
I really feel we shared something special — even, dare I say it, novel.

CHEERS

Undefeated

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
— Voltaire

CHEERS to Gonzaga Basketball. Let me tell you, I’ve been watching the Zags since 1999, cheering them on in victory and defeat. But let me tell you, I’ve never seen a March Madness performance like that. Undefeated in the 2020 post-season! A perfect record! 

And people said it couldn’t be done!

Credit the unprecedented sacrifices made by Gonzaga's players and athletes. Sure, the East Coast-biased media may have effectively ignored this year’s tourney performance like usual. Sure, the “fair-weather” fans didn’t tune in. Sure, the refs refused to call any fouls on any of the Bulldogs’ opponents (It's like they weren't even watching the game!)

Sure, Gonzaga didn’t score very many points this time. But you know what? While offense wins games, defense wins championships.

By the end, all the doubters and critics had been silenced — you don’t hear any of them criticizing the Zags now, do you? When the other team leaves the basket wide open, any good team takes advantage of it.

Nothing but net!

Unmovable Objects

CHEERS to the slackers, the layabouts, to the idlers and the loafers. Cheer to those who played hooky, who cut class and skipped out on work, those who ditched church to sleep in.

Cheers to those who never showed up to events, no matter how often you confirmed your plans on Facebook.

Cheers to the Last Responders, on backlines of this battle.  Cheers to those who boldly go nowhere. Cheers to you objects at rest who remained at rest, to those whose inertia has remained inert. 

Cheers to the Watchers on the Sofa, to those vigilantly kept their wary eyes trained upon Netflix and video games for months, even years, at a time.
Cheers to those who tell death — and also anyone ever asking them if they want to do anything — “not today.”

Cheers to those who know that it's not who you are underneath, it's what you don’t do that defines you. Cheers to those who did not ask what your country could not do for you, but instead asked what you could not do for your country.  

This is your moment. This is your time now. Because as the movers moved across the land, as the shakers shook every hand, as the wanderlust-stricken wanderers returned with more than just the travel bug, you — in your noble apathy — steadfastly stayed home, where you'd always been and always will be. 

As the social butterflies changed the course of history with every flap of their extroverted wings, you were stalwart enough to stand athwart history and yell "stop." And you did this before you were even asked to, saving lives without even knowing it. You just did what you did best: Nothing at all. 

JEERS

Dis-Service

JEERS to a certain so-called “fine-dining” restaurant in Downtown Spokane area. Terrible service!

Nobody responded to our reservation request, and we had to practically force the door open to even get in. The lighting was so dark we could barely see each other. We waited for an entire hour and nobody came by to refill our water, ask us how we liked the food, or even take our order. We wondered why we were the only customers at the restaurant, and now we know why.

While the menu posted on the door outside had hundreds of words blathering on with phrases like "thank you, Spokane, for decades of loyal patronage," "we're sorry that due to COVID-19" "heartbreaking choice" and "permanent" we couldn't find the entrees or prices listed anywhere. We asked to see a manager to complain, but were answered only by a yawning silence, the hiss of the callous wind, and the grieving echoes of what once was and what will never be again.

We were promised a wonderful multi-course culinary experience that we'd never forget. Instead, after hours of waiting, we left hungry and a bit angry. We might as well have just gotten takeout instead. Frankly, this is one restaurant I will not be patronizing again.

You Make Me Sick

JEERS to you — let’s call you “Corie" — and all your toxic relationships.

Congrats, you’ve gone viral. Everyone’s talking about you — it must be a big boost to your ego. You probably get some sort of twisted thrill out of getting anthropomorphized — but frankly, I’m tired of everything being about you.

Guess what, some people may put on a happy face when they're around you, but behind their masks, they say what they really think. Just because you say you’re “19” doesn’t give you the right to act this entitled, like everyone should stop what they’re doing and attend to your countless issues. Frankly, I’ve never seen anyone treat retail workers, who are just trying to do their jobs, so rudely.

Congrats, you have curves, but some of us are really tired of trying to bending to them.

Do you realize that people literally would rather cancel parties than invite you? That people don’t even want to leave their houses because they totally cringe thinking about running into you? You ever wonder why everyone waits two weeks before getting back to you? You ever think to yourself, "Huh, I wonder why all the guys I spend time with never want to introduce me to their parents?" You should.

Just because you're tiny doesn't mean you're cute. I wouldn’t touch you with a five-and-a-half foot pole.

Just because you spent some time abroad, it doesn’t mean you’re interesting. Plagiarizing Edgar Allan Poe is not a personality. I know you think that you’re all hardcore with your “four horsemen” crap, but you put the pest in pestilence.

You basically have no life. You’re tasteless. You make me sick.

Also, stop trying to turn Spokane into Seattle.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...