In Post Alley, below the famous Pike Place Market, thousands of globules of used chewing gum dot a brick wall across from the box office to the Market Theater. Some pieces shine brightly–pink and blue and minty green–newly deposited and still gleaming with spit. Other pieces have dulled in the sun, hardened in the shade. The heat and human hands have stretched and pulled some of the gum downward. It hangs from a window sill, a grimy reminder of gravity.
I got close, disturbingly close, to the wall before realizing how close I really was to chewed, used, spat-out gum. Suddenly I felt surrounded. The alley is narrow. The gum climbs the face of an entire wall, fully covering the brick. It seems to drip toward you. Sunlight peeking through the building set a span of gummed-wall ablaze. It smelled, but not badly.
My father moved through the alley with mild disgust. I kept looking at the wall. I’d go a few steps and then turn back. Every second I saw something new.
In one spot a double bubble wrapper is experiencing an existential crisis–where the gum is on the outside. A hundred dollars worth of pennies are probably stuck to that wall, glued in place by Spearmint and Big Red. There are Dentyne love notes. Bubble yum curses.
It was disgusting, but beautiful.