Monday, January 31, 2011

Seattle grey, pink, purple, green

This AM, went to get coffee with Jaclyn and the sunrise was spectacular, all pink-purple glorious.

On Saturday I had an awesome fun time celebrating a friend’s birthday, she like nearly every one of my friends is a transplant here. So were our dinner companions. Birthday friend is still adjusting to this move, to the cloudy skies of Olympia from her native south; she moved here for love and is trying to make it work.

The dinner companions however were all in various states of fed-up with the PNW. Now, we’ve had a nasty winter this year for sure but all around the table people were sick of the clouds, the rain, the boring. A frequent complaint was there isn’t enough to do. At one point I had to chime in, that I just couldn’t even relate to this discussion. Having left Michigan nearly seven years ago I still wake up every morning ecstatic that I’m not back in the Mitten. Each time I glimpse the mountains, or even just the view of houses huddled together on our city hills I get a thrill. Back home everything was flat, this time of year, everything is dead, brown. The sky is grey and the clouds never break to show you the sun. As a kid we would sometimes visit my grandpa, the snow bird in Florida. I remember on several occasions looking out the window as we landed at DTW wanting to cry because returning to that landscape was so depressing. My first Christmas season here I remember asking a co-worker if the grass stayed green all year (it being December now) and she just laughed… of course it did.

As we walked round Capitol Lake on Sunday morning my friend brought up SADD and how it gets to people here. I told her that my battles with depression were always so much harder back in Michigan. I joked that my depression was more situational than environmental. Maybe that’s the whole deal, Michigan wasn’t a place where I could be happy. I forget what the journal entry was about but I recall my composition teacher in high school laughed after I was done with a reading and told me “girl… you got to get out of here. You better find a bigger city, or this place is going to kill you.” An astute woman she was.

Maybe I can chalk it up to having a bonkers family, or Detroit being the only big city I knew growing up… but Seattle to me is Paradise, no joke. The mild winters, the brief, but perfect summers. The green, seeing everything grow so well (except tomatoes), magnolia trees over a hundred feet tall. We have the mountains and the rivers I can go camping, or kayaking easily, but I can walk to a store that sells ice cream till midnight, and I can always get a cab home from the bar.

Today another friend was bemoaning the grey and missing her home. A place I think of only as a sweaty sandy hell-hole. So I don’t take it personally when people don’t love Seattle the same way I do, but I don’t understand what’s not to like. If nothing else the natives provide endless amusement.

Maybe if I put a bird on it, they’d like it better.


  1. I don't think I've ever shown you the zine I wrote of bad poetry about breaking up with Cleveland. The rustbelt is one depressing place. When that's your baseline, almost anything is better. I wouldn't ever consider moving back, not even for a house that costs as much as a VCR.

    Also, Seattle should embrace putting a dog on it instead of the Portland birds. Like this,

  2. "A house that costs as much as a VCR" might be my new favorite sentence.

  3. Thanks for this post. I don't have experience living anywhere except Seattle and its ostensibly slightly more cool cousin Portland, but this is a good place to live, overall. And I don't think this winter has been so bad at all. One major snowstorm, one windstorm, and one or two torrential downpours doesn't really make for an excessively oppressive winter. (though those who experienced excessive snow and/or flooding outside the city might disagree). I wonder sometimes if we all forget what winter is like every year.