Every time I worry about the comparative sleepiness of our new neighborhood in Ballard, I force myself to remember a few things:
1. While our place is located in a sleepy-ish area, we’re not that far away from the main part of Ballard, that is, Ballard Ave. and Market and all that stuff. It’s an easy 10-block walk (and I say easy because it’s not uphill and only feels like 5 or 6 blocks, tops) there and back and that’s way better than our current 1-mile uphill hike from Lower to Upper Fremont.
2. Even though it seems sleepy now, there will be plenty of new places to explore/prove me wrong.
3. Less frat bros.
When we moved to Fremont, I’d been warned that it was becoming less of a counterculture hippie/anarchist outpost and more of a colony of frat guys who had outgrown the U District but were still too scared of Capitol Hill. And I saw that, at least some of it, but I could always avoid that crowd by not walking past Ballroom on weekend evenings. And it’s not like I’m the key demographic for frat guys, anyway. To start, I’m practically ancient to that kind of dude in his mid-20s. Second, I’m tall, pale, covered in tattoos, and my primary source of calories is not Skinny Girl cocktails. So I don’t get hassled very much, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get annoyed.
I get very annoyed. Not only has the bro crowd taken over Lower Fremont on weekends, but they’ve begun to migrate uphill. What was once a relatively quiet little pocket has become a nightly cacophony of “DUDE, BRO, WAIT, BRO, HAHAHAHA TOTALLY, BRO!” echoing from balconies surrounding our little house. Weekends have become screaming contests for the bros and their attendant females, and while I might be older than all of them, at least I don’t sound like a 60-year-old pack-a-day smoker, ladies. The bros travel in packs, as well, so every day, I cringe at the sight of a roaming group of four or more of them, and although it might be unfair of me, it’s as if their swaggering, refusal-to-yield-an-inch-of-sidewalk gait is scored by a song where the only lyrics are “date rape.”
I’m not the only one who has noticed this. Our very gay neighbor (and I only mention his sexuality because he is less likely to be directly threatened by the date rape) has commented on it, as well, as has his female roommate and some of the employees at the market across the street. It’s escalated quickly over the past year, this Bro-ening of Fremont, and as with any colonization led by the future Masters of the Universe, none of us thinks it will abate anytime soon. After all, someone’s got to buy into this blight of condos, and who better than the sales managers and bankers regurgitated by the slums of UW?
So I prefer the almost suburban quiet of Ballard. I mean, I’m sure the bros will eventually follow us there, but at least where we’ll be living, I estimate that we’ll have at least three years before people start selling their backyards to condo developers with a taste for bro money.
And when that time comes, we can re-evaluate our situation depending on the saturation and severity on the Bro Scale (ex: somewhere on the mild, daddy-funded Jeep side or way up on the balcony screamer side?). Because you know my motto: Bro Money, Bro Problems.