Trying to write a blog, sleep-deprived, on a Monday, during your lunch break, after a maniacal weekend, with the fluorescents buzzing overhead and a near-empty coffee cup staring at you ineffectually, is just an exercise in daftness.
So I shall refer to myself as a “daft git” and carry the fuck on.
I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time in downtown Seattle over the last few months. I had attempted (now unsuccessfully) to begin a “sketchbook project” whose subject was to be “Seattle Architecture”, and as such my research took me to the streets in search of interesting and unique elements for my undertaking. As a resident of the Capitol Hill region of Seattle, I seldom ventured east of I-5, as that side of the fence teems with tourists, retailers, vagrants, overpriced restaurants and shopping centers, thus holding no sincere appeal for someone like myself whose budget limits me to Fred Meyer and Value Village. It is a completely saccharin universe…I prefer my tattooed-pierced-patchouli-saturated-hippie-gay-tree-hugging-Burner-freaks on my side of the hill I can haz plz. I adore it’s *authenticity*.
So, architecture. Walks. People.
When I still worked at my old job up until two weeks ago, I walked to work the long way in order to take in as much of the local scenery as possible to accomplish my artistic goals. However, before I realized, “the long way” was resulting in a 6-mile round-trip on-foot daily commute. However…there was a certain amount of discovery involved on my urban walkabouts that I wasn’t prepared for.
Trekking around the city, the grand majesty of the buildings, the sounds of it, the busy-ness of it, the smell of the ocean, the breeze on my face, always puts me in a fantastic mood, clears my head…very “Ohmmmm”. And I love talking to people, which is what makes walking through the city so ideal, because it’s infested with the crazy bastards, sometimes with dogs in tow, which makes it double-plus good.
I just adore the movement and the sound and the art that is Seattle; every single sense you have is stimulated; bad mood vanquished, spirits lifted, I am alert and aware.
I learned very quickly that if I am going to talk to anyone, I need to wait until I get to Pike Place Market to do so. The vendors are always in the best mood and are great for a laugh first thing in the morning; they’ll sell you a mean pomegranate and let you sample anything. And the Market is deliciously quiet at 7am during the week; the booths are still being set up, the trucks are unloading, bread is being baked; crayfish are plotting escape, cheese is being made, it’s incredible just to take it all in at once along with the sound of the gulls overhead and the sun rising over the mountains and the ferry boats on the water…
Then I started noticing something.
With Bach’s Violin Concertos in my ears, walking down the sidewalk, I’d sidle up next to someone at a crosswalk and smile at them. (This is in the business district, mind you.) And these people I smile at?
Nothing. Not even a twitch.
Huh. Ok, just cranky. No worries, moving on.
Couple streets down, take 2.
Stop, turn, smile.
Who are these people?
I’ve even tried talking to them. I swear to god they looked offended.
It started becoming more and more common. I was getting good and pissed. Then I learned it was a “thing”. Seattle Freeze.
Guess I didn’t get the memo.
Is it arrogance? Shyness? Abject terror? Psychosis? Vitamin D deficiency? I’m going to start fucking asking them. To hell with them. I’m a native. I have the right to know why people in my state are representing us so poorly. Honestly, when it’s an actual condition it needs to be addressed. “Seattle Freeze”. Really?
Have we become so antisocial because of commuting and technology that we’ve forgotten how to relate to other human beings? Do we need people parks like they have dog parks? Or socialization classes? I don’t think it’s ubiquitous, I mean, that’s why I love going to the Market, despite the sheer madness of it; the tourists love to talk to you. Although in part I’m sure they’re just happy to have a Seattleite that’s not being a standoffish dick to them. But I’m just making an extreme theory based on my recent experience with the downtown locals. If these are the Seattleites that the tourists are being exposed to, no wonder we have a reputation. I mean, really.
I’m going to get to the bottom of this. Interviews, interrogations, I don’t care what it takes.
Voulez-voulez-vous Miss Golightly, I protest!