I have been inhabiting the fair Emerald City for a few months now on a temporary freelance assignment...and loving every second out of it. It’s easy to forget that there are parts of the world that have actual seasons...instead of stapling fake snow to ones roof, or wrapping a string of lights around the palm tree in your front lawn, or asking your weekly Mexican gardeners to wear Santa hats while blowing the leaves and trash out of your driveway, people here have natural indications of seasonal changes. It’s amazing...and inconvenient for those of us who have forgotten what it feels like to have the thermometer drop below 70 degrees. The first time the temperature dipped I thought, ‘Oh my! That’s chilly, well at least I live in an area of the world that encourages layering.’ Now when I step outside of my house I think ‘Holy shit! I can feel that in my bones!’
It’s funny, people here seem to be quite content to perpetuate many of the comical stereotypes that Seattle has been known for. For instance, there is a coffee house on EVERY corner which ALWAYS has at least one person sitting in the window writing on their laptop as if to say “Look at me, I’m creative and tortured”. Each morning I walk to work (ok some mornings I walk to work, most mornings I drive) and I pass by people clutching their cup of morning coffee as if their very life depended on the caffeine in that cup of joe – come to think of it their lives probably do depend on it. Much like the magical and inexplicable voice that called the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson and countless other players to that cornfield baseball diamond, Seattle-ites seem to be drawn by a quiet voice that whispers “If you brew it, they will come.”
Another stereotype that makes me chuckle is the amount of flannel that graces this city. Regardless of the fact that flannel seems to be making a comeback in the fashion world, it seems as though flannel has been here the whole time and has no intention of leaving. I’ve heard it said that jeans and a denim jacket are referred to as a “Canadian Tuxedo”, I would like to volunteer then that the North West Tuxedo is comprised of a Flannel Shirt and Corduroy Pants. It seems to be the uniform here, and while I think that it is a helpful piece of clothing to have in ones wardrobe, I do not think that it is something to don with EVERY outfit. Much like coffee, Nirvana, and rain, flannel seems to have established itself as a quintessential piece of North Western existence and you are simple not cool if you don’t wear it.
I have also noticed the amount of Kurt Cobain look-alikes up here. Almost as if they are trying to channel the great Grunge God himself by growing out their hair and refusing to wash it frequently. Don’t get me wrong, like every woman out there who has a hankering for the moody bad boy that we can never quite “get” or save, I think it’s sexy...however, it becomes difficult to identify one’s date in a sea of look-a-likes at some Seattle concert (and yes, this has happened to me).
It truly is more than slightly soggy up here. Don’t get me wrong, on a clear day when the sun is shining, I would hazard to say that Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, however the chances of you getting a clear day (especially in the winter) are slim to none. I have started to embrace the idea of closed toed shoes, which at first horrified me at first. I am now ok with the idea that this season I will be buying lots of boots and perhaps a pair of high-end Wellington boots. Though sadly I seem to not be able to hang on to an umbrella for more than a week at a time. In fact, I am doing my part by pouring my money into our troubled economy buying umbrellas in bulk.