Based on blog comments, Facebook messages, and e-mails I’ve received, apparently I’ve neglected to tell everyone how I like living in Seattle. I thought I’d been telling without telling, if that makes sense, but also I wanted to wait to say anything directly because I don’t really know yet. I’ve only been here for 3 weeks, the bulk of which have been spent unpacking, finding my way around, and trying to maintain a regular life (grocery shopping, showering, Netflix, etc.) while at the same time adjusting to a new city with a new type of people.
So within this very limited timeframe, the conclusion I’ve drawn thus far is that I like Seattle. I like it just fine. I don’t love it yet because I don’t know it well enough, but I don’t think I’ve had any moment where I’ve decided deep in my animal brain that I hate it here (and that’s very different from the last time I moved all over the place, which is so opposite from my current experience that this alone is enough for me to fall kind of in love). I’ve had a few moments where I’ve thought that I hate certain things here – slow hippies, no washer or dryer in the house, indecisive drivers who brake for no reason – but I also knew at the time that these things are not necessarily limited to Seattle, and that I’d hate them no matter where I was.
So Seattle is okay so far.
One of my favorite things to do is read up on Seattle neighborhoods (not here, which come on Seattle don’t you have better writers than this?). Like St. Louis, Seattle neighborhoods are very distinct, and the people who live in them tend to identify pretty strongly as such. Which is great on one end because I’m used to that kind of distinction and it makes learning about them easier, but on the other end, people here don’t like to leave their neighborhoods, and as a result, are kind of hostile (or at least ignorant) of anything outside of where they live. I find this deeply weird and unfortunate; while I know that not everyone wants to or should live in my specific neighborhood, it’s so bizarre to talk to a Seattle native who proudly admits to never having been in it, despite living five minutes away. What the what is wrong with you people? What are you, suburbanites?
I only run into this attitude every now and then, but the one I encounter more frequently is the laid back, sleep late, whatever-man-I’ll-get-there-when-I-get-there West Coast attitude. This kind of culture shock is known more commonly among New Yorkers traveling to any point outside of New York, but as a city-bred Midwesterner, I assure you that the phenomenon is not limited to those from the East Coast. I usually find myself repeating what Luke and Courtney have told me about “West Coasting it,” which basically means to slow my roll and just calm the fuck down for a change. It’s hard, but I’m trying.
Outside of this, I do sometimes run into people who know nothing about St. Louis (and really, why should they?) or its reputation as Not the Safest City Ever, Not By a Long Shot. In fact, people here seem to enjoy telling me about how dangerous South Seattle is, and I have to fight the urge to pat them on the head and tell them they’re cute. I guess it’s dangerous by Seattle standards, which aren’t anything like St. Louis standards, and although it’s funny to hear people talking about it like it’s Escape From New York down there, I can walk around at night here and that’s a pretty endearing thing.