Abusive Courtesy

It has taken me al long time to acclimate to Seattle. It was billed to me as a magical place where, upon crossing the border a WA. Wish Officer, WAWO’s, would ask what your dreams are, and then immediately grant them. Jobs were as simple as showing up at Amazon, Microsoft, or Boeing, and simply saying “I’m here”. None of these were true. I was unemployed for several months before taking a position as insurance salesman. So much for 60K of classical acting training, but that wasn’t Seattle’s fault.

What is Seattle’s fault is the abusive courtesy. You cannot walk into a bank without being assaulted with ‘hellos’, or invasively interrogated about your weekend plans. Once, while depositing my unemployment check the teller asked if it was my day off from work. She was blind to the shame in my eyes and deaf to the sarcasm in my voice when I replied, “I guess you could say that”.

Juxtapose this with the ‘Seattle Freeze’, another form of abusive courtesy. The locals here in Rain City are quick to offer a warm hello and invite you out for drinks, or over to their place for dinner. However, the invite always gets lost in the mail. Run into these locals at PCC or Met Market or the playground, and you get the same invite, over and over again, but it rarely materializes. I moved to Seattle from the supposedly head down-don’t look a stranger in the eye, gruffness of New York City. Invites there were just as easily extended, yet more often honored. Perhaps its because New York is such a big city that everyone seems new.

Admittedly, I can be an a-hole, so I would normally complain and then put it back on my shoulders. Not so in this case. The Seattle Freeze is a thing. Its talked about amongst us other city expatriates, and even the locals. The way people talk about Syria or the Ukraine on Facebook, thinking that stating an opinion is the same as taking action. When in reality all that will done is hitting the share button. Here in the Emerald City there is a lot of talk given to the Seattle Freeze but it never brought out long enough to thaw.

As mayor of this town I would decree all locals befriend and share with an out-of-towner one meal at home and one local eatery. After that if the chemistry isn’t right, then by all means each side should do the polite thing and maintain a facade of friendliness.

After the ‘thaw’ I would turn my attention to abusive courtesy. This is courtesy is sinister because it is in actuality big business impersonating the local mom and pop shop. The invasive questions about your weekend are verbal slide of hands, a shell game. No matter what shell you pick, you will never find true friendliness because it was never there. They palmed it as soon as you came in the door. “Would you be interested in our mortgage rates?” NO. And what was it about my $100 deposit made you think I might be? The answer here is to do away with brick and mortar banks altogether. They are like video stores, clinging on to the flesh of relevancy by their finger nails.  Deposits and withdrawals can be done with an ATM or a smart phone. Neither of which is capable of insincerity.

Last to be addressed would be the traffic congestion. I-5, 99, 90, 520. All these numbers add up to an embarrassment of choked cars. For a supposedly green city everyone seems very devoted to personal transportation. And buses just don’t cut it. They are subject to the same traffic as everyone else. The ‘Bus lanes’ are Band-Aids over bullet wounds. Seattle desperately needs a rail system, extensive and far reaching. The HOV lanes could be given over to light rail, with one track for public transportation running north and south, with arterial tracks running east and west.  A third track should be completely devoted to emergency and towing services. Simple accidents with no injuries can back up the highway for an hour or more. The emergency rail could speed to any location unimpeded, scoop up the damaged vehicles and be off in far less time than a tow truck. The same alacrity would greatly benefit emergency response vehicles.

Your votes are appreciated and I vow to bring basketball back to Seattle.

What I love about this PacNor town? The Seahawks. I am an Army Brat. Growing up all over the globe prevented my roots to grow deep anywhere. As a result I never had a team seep into my bones. I liked all the local teams. Denver while attending University of Wyoming. Tampa while in grad school in Sarasota, Florida. I rooted for the Niners while I lived in Monterey, CA and all the the New York teams, except the Yankees, during my tenure in ‘the city’. Because home town hating is a lonely business. But none really got into my bones. When those teams lost it had no effect on me. This surprisingly was not the case with the ‘Hawks. I fell into brooding one day after a bad loss. I had become a fan. It was like falling in love. The ‘Hawks and I started off casually dating, then talking often. I then eagerly anticipated the next time we would see each other. When they lost it was like someone had been mean to them. Or they had acted foolishly, endangering our relationship. Except, they really couldn’t endanger it. In that way the relationship is like parent and child. They know now, no matter what they do, I will always love them.

My first love of a team. And you never forget your first.

I also love my neighborhood, The Admiral District of West Seattle. Its like the early days of Brooklyn, before the celebrities and hipsters took it over. West Sea has great restaurants, bars, and markets, ALL walkable. This was my number one request when moving to Seattle from my beloved Astoria, Queens. I didn’t want to live anywhere a car ride was needed to get a drink, a night out, or a tube of toothpaste. My new ‘hood offers all those amenities in spades.

Our West Seattle apartment is smaller than our place in Queens. Probably the only people to move from New York into a smaller place out west. But there you have it.

At least we’re a little closer to Brooklyn.

Jimmie G.

Daily Prompt: We Built This City

by Krista on March 9, 2014

What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?


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