The Time I Met Mystery Fireworks Jesus

Yeah yeah yeah, how was everyone’s Fourth, happy birthday America, blah blah blah YOU GUYS. You guys.

I MET MYSTERY FIREWORKS JESUS!

A bit of background for those reading on their phones who wish not to follow a hyperlink:

Last year, with the Porter-Eyre household vacationing in California and their Eastlake (ahem, Gas Works Park-adjacent) abode not open for Fourth of July festivities, Graham and I invited some friends over to our new place in Ballard. We figured we’d barbecue, drink, play some ping pong on the tables at the community center, and watch some drunk hillbilly blow their fingers off down on the athletic fields.

And we mostly did that. We had pork steaks (hollaaaaaa, St. Louisans), I made two desserts like some kind of maniac, we got handily drunk, we played ping pong until it was too dark to see, and we did see one drunk hillbilly nearly blow off not their finger, but their ear. And then laugh about it. As, I suppose, drunk hillbillies will do.

Around the time we started talking about heading back to the house, someone else’s fireworks display began on the opposite side of the athletic field. It quickly became clear that this was no ordinary display purchased by a frustrated dad at a roadside fireworks stand. It didn’t belong to a drunk hillbilly. It also wasn’t sanctioned by a business or community organization, and only a handful of people were around to watch.

But it. Was. Glorious. And the man behind it soon became known as both the President of Ballard and, most fittingly, Mystery Fireworks Jesus. I went looking for information and ended up on the MyBallard forum and posted a much lengthier thank you on this blog.

This year, we declined an invitation to Eastlake due to concerns about spending 2 hours in traffic and me having been sick all week (tip: when you haven’t had a fever in years, it’s not the greatest idea to get one during the hottest week of the year because you will become convinced that your brain is cooking and you are going crazy). Instead, we stayed home with a slightly less ambitious menu and Craig, who was spending his very first 4th of July as a Seattleite. We’d talked a big game about Mystery Fireworks Jesus and I was a little worried that he might not show up this year.

But he did. And way more neighborhood people were there to watch. And Craig’s face lit up because duh, that’s what happens when you witness someone doing something out of kindness and joy.

THANKS AGAIN, MYSTERY FIREWORKS JESUS!

I’ve been trying to add a comment to the MyBallard forum for the past 20 minutes (mostly in response to someone named VeganBiker WHO IS, NOT SURPRISINGLY WITH THAT NAME, KIND OF AN ASSHOLE). Until I can to that forum, I’ll keep posting here in the hopes that the man responsible for all of the bang and none of the traffic gets his share of the credit.

Last year, someone posted a comment to my blog about Mystery Fireworks Jesus to say that the man himself had seen my post, loved the nickname, and was now the owner of a t-shirt printed with the moniker. I’ve been looking for this guy all over Ballard since then and have never seen him, so after last night’s display, Graham, Craig and I walked over to that end of the athletic fields in the hopes of meeting him.

Which was not as easy as I thought it would be. Understandably, when fireworks are illegal, anyone asking for the perpetrator is highly suspicious (although I did briefly fancy myself as a Scully type of character, so that was cool). The first few people we asked professed ignorance and because I am who I am (ahem, mostly insecure, awkward, and shy), I was ready to turn around and go home. That’s where the cake was, after all. But Graham approached a group of dudes who appeared to be the most likely suspects, and although they initially claimed they had no idea what he was talking about, I eventually heard one of them say “Wait a minute, is your old lady named Erin?”

Heh. Old lady. Terrific.

ANYWAY, I then walked over and met Mystery Fireworks Jesus – who was wearing the t-shirt! – and his friends, and not only did they seem pleased to meet me (a nice change of pace when people know my name in advance, to be honest), I was so thrilled to be able to thank him in person and learn his name. Hell no I’m not telling you what it is.

Hey, Mystery Fireworks Jesus! Don’t listen to the VeganBikers of the world! You keep doing you, buddy, and I’ll buy you a beer the next time I see you.

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Rat Rat City Bitch

The first nightmare I can remember having took place on Sesame Street. I was standing in front of Susan and Gordon’s brownstone and somehow fell into that planter thing just next to the stairs (opposite side of the garbage cans and Oscar, obviously). The planter was just the right size for me to lie down in, which I did, and at that point I was swarmed by rats.

I woke up screaming.

Now, I’m not afraid of rats – I had three of them as pets in high school – but apparently rats are a common nightmare motif in my family. My grandmother used to dream about rats. My mom dreamed about them chasing her around one neighborhood house so often that when I go home to visit and drive by that house today, some 25 years-ish later, I still think of it as “The Rat House.” I don’t know why out unconscious selves are so freaked out by rats, but there you go.

The other day, I got a ticket on my car. It was for expired plates, and although I’m in a deeply residential neighborhood where nobody ever monitors this kind of thing, I suspect our shitty neighbors called it in and nevertheless, my tags were expired so that ticket was legit and will be paid. The next day, I got another ticket. Less than 24 hours later, an absurdity that I feel amounts to harassment of someone who works at a job all day when the DMV is actually open. This ticket is some bullshit and will be contested.

In an effort to renew my tags and avoid even more tickets, I took my car to the emissions testing station (it failed) and then to the mechanic (in the hopes of getting it to pass). In addition to fixing the oxygen sensors and telling me my muffler had been almost fully corroded by seawater (what?), my mechanic also cleaned a rat’s nest from under the manifold.

Yeah.

There were rats living in my car. At some point in the last 10 months and some change (the last time I regularly drove my car to and from work every day), some rats crawled up in my car and made their home there, which I guess makes some sense but I would’ve thought with all the hawks and stray cats in our neighborhood that this sort of issue would have straightened itself out.

So. In addition to being a voracious reader, a proficient typist, and an all-around punk as fuck lady, I am also a shelterer of rats. Apparently.

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Checked Out

When I first visited Seattle, I was overwhelmed at how nice everyone seemed. Really, I was! I even found the entry where I wrote about how people were so polite and quiet and completely unlike my own city, where getting stared down by a stranger meant they were either going to fuck you or fight you. It was a nice change of pace is what I’m saying.

Since I’ve moved to Seattle, I realize that what I thought was niceness isn’t really. It’s not mean, either, but it is a sort of pathological reserve. At first I found it alarming, and I felt myself yanking on my mental leash whenever I thought about saying something to a stranger. It’d only spook them, see, and talking to strangers is just not what Seattle does. Want to spot a tourist in Seattle? Okay, who’s a) holding an umbrella and b) asking for directions? Seattleites don’t do either one of those things. We would rather squat, miserable and Lovecraftian in the rain, and get on the wrong bus to the wrong neighborhood than ever address another person.

Which is…kind of nice? I have a hard time explaining this to my Midwestern friends, but I’m not kidding – once you realize that the pressure to conduct small talk with someone you don’t really care about is lifted, that is when you feel truly free.

There is one thing that bothers me about Seattleites, though, and I think it’s related to this pathological reserve. It’s reserved to the point of being completely unaware of one’s surroundings or the fact that in most cities this kind of thing can get you hurt, and while I don’t think the base motivation for it is aggression or rudeness, it still comes across as aggressive and rude. And I do not react well to aggressive or rude.

When walking down the sidewalk, especially in groups of two or more, and upon encountering someone else walking in the opposite direction, Seattleites do not move the fuck over. They don’t move over! They don’t even shrink up a little bit, or drop to single-file for just a second! They just keep on walking the way they are – I have literally had people stroll on by while I’m forced to walk in the street because they are completely fucking unaware that it is not socially acceptable to walk three abreast in a city where other people exist.

When I first moved here, I’m step to the side. Then I started stepping to the side but with an exaggerated sort of show of how inconvenient it was (I was clearly practicing my Seattle passive-aggression during this time). For the past year or so, though, I’ve kind of thought “fuck it” and just started shoulder-checking motherfuckers.

The most recent time I shoulder-checked a motherfucker was a couple of weeks ago. I’d tried to go to the 12:30pm matinee of Jurassic World at the neighborhood triplex, but when I got there the line was halfway around the block. So I decided to walk a couple of miles to the weed store to see about their new breath strips (just like Listerine but containing 10mg of THC, yay Washington!), and then back again to buy a ticket for the 3:30pm show, pick up a secondhand book across the street, and kill the next couple of hours reading it in the craft beer bar next door.

(It occurs to me now that Me From Four Years Ago would have hated Present Day Me and called her an insufferable hipster; to which I say, “hey, fair point.”)

ANYWAY, at some point between the theater and the weed store, I encountered a group of three people walking towards me on the sidewalk. It’s a regular-sized sidewalk and I was on the very edge of my side, and of course, because this is Seattle, the person closest to me didn’t bother moving over or even acknowledging that I was there (which of course lead me to wonder if I had died and was a ghost, which happens more often than it should, honestly). Instead of falling over into the street like I would have done in the beginning, I lowered my shoulder and really took that lady out.

I mean.

I’ve mentioned before that I have the kinds of shoulders that could carry water to a Russian village (as Isabel says, “dem collarbones tho!”). They’re not narrow. They’re pretty strong. My clavicles are like crowbars. And I was tired of being pushed around. So I lowered my shoulder and braced for impact, and I almost knocked that idiot right over.

“WHAT TH—” she sputtered.

I looked back.

“Next time I’ll knock you all the way down,” I said, which I still think was very helpful.

Then I went and drank beer myself and watched a very emotive Spanish man in the bar basically French kiss a dog, so at least the balance of aggression was partially restored.

Posted in I Just Can't, Seattle | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Talking Shit, Tweeting Names

Guys. I want to talk to you about Twitter. I want to talk to you about it because despite Twitter being around for 9 years and being a major news and media content generator, not to mention the source of most of the (ahem, stolen) jokes you see on Tumblr, Buzzfeed, The Chive, and other Internet shitholes for idiots*, a lot of people I know refer to it dismissively by saying it’s boring, narcissistic or pointless.

To which I say: oh, fuck off.

First of all, as with any Internet experience, Twitter is what you make of it. If you only follow the kinds of basic bitches you know from high school/Facebook/Pinterest, then yes, Twitter probably seems really boring and pointless. Likewise, if you follow narcissists who tweet about their boring, pointless lives incessantly, then Twitter probably seems really narcissistic to you. But this is entirely up to you. I didn’t remain Facebook friends with narcissists, racists or conservatives because I didn’t enjoy my experience when I was. So I deleted them. You can do the same thing on Twitter. Stop focusing on the people you don’t like and start focusing on the people you do. Even if you don’t know them.

My Twitter experience improved a bazillion-fold when I got over myself and started seeking out funny people – comedians, writers, regular humans clicking on their phones at work or in bars or on the toilet. It didn’t matter that these people didn’t know me and (for a long time) weren’t interested in anything I was saying. I don’t blame them. I recently downloaded my Twitter archive and aside from my very first tweet (something about Tori Spelling’s boobs) and live-tweets of Top Gun, Tombstone, and The Saint (which, to be fair, should be credited partially to Brennan, who was there for each one and is much funnier than me), a whole lot of what I said between 2010 and 2014 was completely unfunny to an almost embarrassing degree. I mean, I get what I was trying to do, but I was trying so obviously that the only thing hilarious about it was my absolute failure at it. At one point I even @’d Aziz Ansari (for some reason?), and when I re-read it recently, it sounded condescending. Which would be added to the list of things that give me full-body cringes before I go to sleep at night, except that list is already really long and reserved for things like, say, interrupting my first real kiss by blurting out “Wait, what is HAPPENING right now?”

So I wasn’t funny, partially because I wasn’t really following any funny people. I was hardly following anyone. I had this insane idea that people would just magically find me and start following, and I never had to reciprocate or interact. I may not admit this much but I am emphatic when I do, so I’d like you all to know that in this respect, I WAS VERY WRONG. I didn’t get funnier until I started following people who were, and actually made an effort to scroll down my feed to see what people were saying. If you want to be a musician, you have to listen to a lot of music. If you want to be a writer, you have to read a lot of writing. If you want to be a funny jackass on the Internet, you’re going to have to follow a lot of funny jackasses on the Internet.

Another thing I hear from people about Twitter is that no one cares what anyone says on it. Which, um, maybe not for you, but I’m pretty comfortable with my number of followers and the stars and retweets I get, as well as the fact that I have made genuine fucking friends with people with fake fucking names on a silly fucking Web site. These are people who have reached out to cheer me up when my feelings were hurt, or who have defended me to pissbaby MRAs, or who have just been really kind to me, as person who amounts to a stranger. And I’ve done the same for them with encouragement, commiseration, or links to legal assistance for domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

I’ve met people from Twitter in real life, too, and for two people who have never before seen each other’s faces, there’s an immediate conversational rhythm and…relationship shorthand, I guess? Just like your real friends, guys! Twitter friends are every bit as real to me and at least a few times a week, I am so fucking glad that I got my act together and started being better at it. Yes, admittedly, being on Twitter in the beginning feels a lot like shouting obscenities into an empty universe. But all that shouting will eventually be heard, and by the time it is, you’ll be all shouted out and finally able to hold an actual conversation with someone and make a fucking friend.

And I’ll tell you this – for a person who finds it hard to have conversations with people, Twitter is the best for conversations. 140 characters or less is a terrific way to filter all the shitty thoughts out and make you focus on the most efficient way to be hilarious and cool. (Some) people on Twitter think I’m way fucking cooler than I am in real life, and I owe all of that to the character limit, small avi (I’m getting really into my mid-30s forehead crease, btw), and constantly moving feed limiting the amount of damage I am capable of doing with my stupid brain and even stupider mouth.

One of the very best Twitter features is one that didn’t exist when I signed up. The mute option is a fucking godsend as far as I’m concerned, as it doesn’t bring down the hammer of blocking someone, but just turns their volume all the way down, removing any mention of them from your TL or feed. That way, you don’t have to speak to them and aren’t in danger of accidentally liking something they say, thus started the whole cycle over again. Just like in real life (and Facebook, and everywhere else on the Internet because this is the kind of world we live in), you have the power to remove the people you don’t want in your life. You can ignore them. You can tell them no. They don’t have to affect you anymore. Isn’t that magical?

As much as I am a fan of talking shit (and I am the biggest fan of talking shit), I at least choose my topics wisely. I don’t talk shit on things that aren’t, and Twitter is definitely not shit. So show up. Bring your A-game. Shout wisely. No hashtags.

*Full disclosure – I have a Tumblr. But I refuse to reblog any text posts because they’re blatantly stolen from Twitter users.

Posted in I Heart, The Internet is My Boyfriend | Tagged | Leave a comment

Yeesh, Man

When I first moved to Seattle, one of the things I was most excited about doing was taking the bus.

I know.

Only a lunatic or a masochist would be excited about taking the bus, right? Totally. Unless, of course, you’re from a city where the bus service is unreliable to non-existent and carries risks such as mugging and (as 15-Year-Old Me can attest) getting vomited on. And I am from a city like that, so I was excited to take the bus in a place where the buses show up on time, the drivers are helpful, and the passengers are quiet and polite (and, for the most part, not vomiting, although you are running a risk when sitting in the back near the sleepy-but-unpredictable junkies).

Although it can sometimes be a pain to factor in an hour to get to a neighborhood that is only 20 minutes away by car (but 50 minutes with circling around trying to find a likely expensive parking spot), overall, I love taking the bus. I love that it helped me to figure out where I was going in Seattle. I love that someone else is driving. I love that occasionally I find an air-conditioned bus, which, depending on the day and if the bus stop was in full sun, can feel nothing short of miraculously decadent. Weirdly, I also love seeing some of the same people on my bus, because again, weirdly, it makes me feel like a part of my community.

I guess it’s strange to feel a sort of kinship with people to whom you never speak, but there’s an odd connection between people who take the same public transportation every day. Like, when you see the same person at the same time every day, you form certain assumptions about their character. And on the other hand, when you suddenly don’t see them one day, you get a little startled. It could be vacation, it could be that they died. You don’t know! I have recognized relief on the faces of fellow passengers when someone reappeared on the regular route. We’ve shared these looks. Although there’s no real sense of responsibility for someone’s whereabouts, I guess it’s still affirming to realize that you do still care about the life of a stranger, no matter how distant or ineffectual they may seem to be at first.

On my morning bus route, there are a few recurring characters that I’d notice should they go missing for a bit.

First is Clog Girl, who is the second person to arrive at the stop after me. She wears clogs every day – like, a startling variety of clogs – which I find strange since she’s maybe in her early 30s and doesn’t work in a kitchen that I can tell.

Second is Alpine Hikes Guy, who is just some middle-aged suit who, for months at a time, read the same book about alpine hikes in Alaska over and over again, despite not looking like the kind of person who needs to know anything about survival tactics above the Alaskan summer snowpack. He’s currently into Consumer Reports for some reason, and pores over Toyota SUV descriptions like they were written by Charles fucking Dickens.

Third is Colonel Sanders, who wear socks with sandals and a stupid fucking hat and sometimes takes my regular seat.

Fourth is the youngish guy who takes the bus only one stop, which wouldn’t be so bad except he’s carrying a gym bag every morning, so it feels a little bit insulting.

Fifth is the Hindu couple who read from the same prayer pamphlet every morning. The husband holds it for the wife and only turns the page when she says it’s okay and they’re about the sweetest thing around.

Sixth is the lady who breastfeeds a four-year-old.

Yeah.

She breastfeeds. A four-year-old.

See, the thing is that I have no problem with public breastfeeding. I don’t give a shit. If your kid is hungry and they require breast milk, then fucking feed them. You don’t need to find a special room or cover your body with a bedsheet. Just whip that boob out and get it done.

But when your kid is four – when they’re verbal and wear functional shoes and I have seen them eat a breakfast burrito with their own hands and then tell you how it tastes – I guess I just find it a little creepy that you’re still breastfeeding them? I dunno. I guess when your child is no longer nutritionally sustained by or dependent upon breast milk to satisfy a hunger requirement, like, if those two factors can be handled by a fucking breakfast burrito, then your habit of not only breastfeeding him but also breastfeeding him on a moving bus at 6:30am, seem kind of…self-serving? Indicative of an intimacy or dependency issue on your part? Fucking strange and more than a little bit creepy?

Just…put it away, lady. Indulge your neuroses on your own time. It’s early, I’ve only had half a pot of coffee, I just want to get to work without seeing your dexterous toddler fiddle with the toggles on your performance fleece in order to reach your desiccated breast.

Yeesh, man.

Posted in Seattle, WTF | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The 2,000 Mile Obligation

The thing about moving 2,000 miles away from your hometown is this: you’re now 2,000 miles away from your hometown. That means that unless you were a military brat who didn’t really have a hometown, you’re 2,000 miles away from everything that is so intimately familiar to you – people, streets, food, etc. – and daily attempting to either recreate or sublimate that where you currently live. So this means that you’re either Me From Twelve Years Ago, who missed St. Louis so much and grew so homesick with every single day that it made divorcing a pathological liar and philanderer kind of easy because at least it meant I could move back home, or you’re Me From Right Now, who is so completely different from that other Me to the point that every day spent away from St. Louis is another day where it is realized that I am better for this time and distance.

Which is not easy for a lot of people to understand. Understandably, people are defensive about where they choose to live (or continue living) and their personal reasons for doing so become a kind of argument for this non-existent competition they create between themselves and you, as if the 2,000 mile gap wasn’t enough of a barrier to begin with.

And even for the people who do understand that choosing to live somewhere else doesn’t necessarily mean you hate where you’re from, it can be difficult for them to understand why you may not want to come back. I mean, obviously, when you are very happy living in a particular place, the reasons for leaving it might seem kind of dumb. But when the place you are very happy living in is your hometown, those reasons are underpinned by things like history and intimacy and other gut-deep emotions that make it especially hard to imagine not existing in someone else who shares your background.

For these people, it is not so easy to understand not only why I don’t want to move back to St. Louis at any point in the foreseeable future, but why I’m also reluctant to come back to visit. Visiting is fine. At first. Sometimes. But let’s look at visiting for what it really is – taking vacation time from work and lots of your own money to do something that isn’t a vacation at all, but is rather an obligation.

And I am sick of obligations.

In the 2+ years that I have lived in Seattle, I have visited St. Louis twice. I have spent money to fly home, rent vehicles, and fulfill obligations to see several people who have not expressed any plans to return the favor by coming to Seattle. When I explained to my immediate family that I would not be visiting St. Louis in 2015 in favor of taking my first actual vacation with my boyfriend of 8 years, they reacted…poorly. While there was no outrage, there were pursed lips and obvious disappointment, as well as at least one accusation that perhaps I didn’t care about seeing my nephews at all. When I explained that travel went from St. Louis to Seattle, as well, I was told that travel costs money (um, duh) and time (again, duh) and nobody could be expected to do that. Except for me, apparently.

So far, the efforts I’ve made to try and convince members of my family to visit me in Seattle have failed. Everyone has plans. Everyone has responsibilities. It costs money. Never have they acknowledged that I’ve already done this twice, or that several of my friends have come to visit (one set visited twice!) already. And I wouldn’t really mind that much – my family has never been very close, and I can hardly be blamed for allowing that to shape part of my personality – but if I’m getting guilt-tripped about it, then yeah, I think it requires some attention.

I’m not going home this year. I’m not going home next year, either. I’m not going home until those people can live up to their part of the bargain and make at least one trip out here. But I’m tired of asking. I’m tired of convincing. Of offering options, of checking on flights, of looking up nearby hotels for people who never use the information.

See you in 2017, maybe? Or after that. Doesn’t matter to me, it’s not my obligation anymore.

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Life in Seattle

The other day, I spotted a notification in my Facebook feed that had nothing to do with me. By that, I mean that it wasn’t written by anyone I knew about any conversation we’d had, and I hadn’t commented on it or been tagged or anything else. The only things tying me to this person’s post were two of my friends, who had liked it, and the subject matter, which was Seattle, which is where I live.

(And this is why my profile is set to private, by the way. I don’t need friends of my friends seeing what I say and blabbing about it like some people might.)

I don’t want to share this person’s post here (because again, I don’t know them), but I’ve been thinking about it pretty regularly for the past two days. I cannot get this post out of my head, and I think it’s because while I agree with its basic point so hard that I feel like going out and burning down the nearest condo (and here in Ballard there are many to choose from), I’m also super annoyed with the rest of the post, or perhaps I’m just super annoyed by that uniquely Seattle-ish passive-aggressive tendency to complain about shit without a) knowing much about it or b) doing anything about it.

I still have to give a little background on this person’s post, although again, without sharing it or quoting it. Because again, I do agree with the basic point, but as I don’t know them, I think taking them to task directly would be rude.

The person began with complaining about the cost to rent a house in Seattle. And I absolutely agree – the cost of living in this town is exhorbitant, and depending on where you choose to stay (ahem, Capitol Hill comes to mind), you could very well be looking at $1200 a month for a studio. A studio apartment. One room. This is insanity, especially considering that you’re not getting a luxury space for that. You’re getting a pretty bland apartment in a big building filled with other people’s smells and probably no parking spot.

So. This person and I agree.

But then the post begins to veer away from me. In it, the person writes that Seattle just ain’t what it used to be (true, but what is?), that a lot of old favorite hangouts for old favorite Seattleites have closed (again, true, but this isn’t exactly news), and how Amazon is to blame (kind of true, but also a really convenient scapegoat, which is a point I’ll reach in a minute).

The person goes on to cite Seattle’s status as the nation’s fastest-growing big city, and complains that this growth, presumptuously the result of an influx of Amazon employees, is creating – okay sorry, I have to quote here – “a huge sterile, corporate wasteland full of awkward tech geeks” whose employment driving the median income up and, with it, housing prices, traffic problems, and shitty bars. Because of this, service industry employees (a caste this person implies are the only true Seattleites) are being priced out of the city and into…well, she doesn’t say. I assume it’s the suburbs but this is never said explicitly, and once more, I’ll reach that point in a minute.

According to this person, this problem could be easily remedied by getting rid of jobs in Seattle. How do we do this? Well, we kick the big, evil corporations out and truck them to a struggling city like Detroit and then we can all – fuck, I can’t stop quoting – “watch that city come back to life.” But this is a bad thing, apparently, because all the crumbling, abandoned buildings will be torn down (she calls them “artfully desperate,” which seems less like those structures that anchored once vibrant neighborhoods filled with actual human beings representing an American tragedy, and more like some fucking poser art project) to build condos.

And I just…guys? I can’t stand this kind of shit.

I can’t stand people with no real grasp of economics or social trends taking to their pulpits and spewing absolute fucking nonsense that really just boils down to they don’t feel as rich or as cool as they want to feel. I’m no capitalist, but I’m also no fool, and I know that people go where the money goes. Yeah, it sucks that entire blocks of Capitol Hill are being sold to condo developers because independent business owners’ rent doesn’t match up to huge property sale payoffs, but the transformation on the Hill now doesn’t seem so fucking different from the transformation it underwent 20 years ago when, according to the owner of gay bar The Pony, it became “…what Pioneer Square was a few years ago. It has become so overwhelmingly popular with young straight 20-somethings…They have this ‘attack, dominate’ mentality, and they don’t even necessarily know what this place is. It’s just yet another stop on this drunken bar crawl.”

See? People liked partying on the Hill, so they moved into the Hill, and now they’re stymied when other people follow (as if waves in population are anything new) and that independent video store they haven’t patronized in years (if ever) gets sold and they take to the Internet to complain.

It sucks that South Lake Union has become a glittering shopping mall I sneeringly refer to as “Amazonland,” crawling with people who spend entire weekends ducking in and out of Crate and Barrel and Whole Foods and are implicit in that laughably moronic “Life In Seattle” recruiting video (and indirectly responsible for its parodies), but at the same time, do I feel safer getting on a bus there (or in increasingly-minted Belltown, where I work for a tech company) than I might in a neighborhood that’s not so moneyed and not so trafficked? Well yes, I do.

And it sucks to watch Seattle erupt in glass and steel and assholes driving Teslas while watching your hometowns of Detroit, St. Louis, and Baltimore crumble into rust from a distance. But it sucks more to live in those cities and know that businesses have tried to relocate there but can’t because there’s no infrastructure or financial incentive to build any, because idiotic politicians would rather fund a new stadium than assist an actual job-creating enterprise.

And it sucks that it is really, really hard to find an affordable place here that isn’t a closet, and it’s fucking impossible to do that if you refuse to branch out to what old Capitol Hill residents claim are the suburbs, that is, the very much located-in-the-city neighborhoods of Fremont, Ballard, and Greenwood, or (gasp!) the actual suburbs, because it’s so much easier to turn your nose up at them than to open your fucking eyes and realize that this exodus of poors relocating from ever-richer Seattle may have created interesting, artistic communities in Shoreline or even White Center (not an actual suburb, but it might as well be to these people) when you weren’t looking.

And it sucks when your favorite bars close, especially when you put so much stock in name-checking a place where you once barfed into the bathroom sink and didn’t bother to clean it up because this is when you were young and reckless and awesome and never once thought of how the management was likely blowing all the money on coke, thus leaving the future of the business open to predators like real estate developers (as is often the case people ignore when misplaced nostalgia is more convenient).

And it sucks to feel like the city you’ve claimed as yours isn’t your own anymore, because that’s basically like loving a person who won’t love you back. But also, implying that refilling water glasses is somehow more inherently noble than coding software is just fucking stupid, because if you really would like to see all of those corporations (and the people who work for them) kicked out of Seattle, let’s see who has the money to come to your restaurant and tip you because you provided assiduous service to their table.

Mostly, for me, it sucks to see people complain about something like this, because for so many people who are new or new-ish to Seattle, this place is a fucking paradise. It’s safer that our hometowns. It’s cleaner. It’s beautiful and fun and you can find a job and what’s the fucking problem? It’s too nice? You want it to be shitty?

Yeah, I worry about the cost of living here. I roll my eyes at the newest condo some former frat bro will move into with his girlfriend and her tiny boutique dog. But as someone who came from a city rife with decay, mismanagement, crime and apathy born from decades of disappointment, I choose Seattle every single day that I’m here, and not once have I let the idea that it’s not as cool as it used to be change my mind.

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