I recognize this isn’t the usual fare for this blog, especially since it’s called the Hamsterdam (which is a reference to The Wire for those of you who keep asking me, and also, you really need to watch The Wire) and tends to have a more east coast slant. But since my readership breaks down like this:
…I’m going to take a few liberties today and write about something that has been on my mind as I prepare to move to a new city – the things I will miss most about this region.
Utilikilts, if you are not familiar with the concept, are basically skirts for construction workers. They’re made, and worn with alarming frequency, in Seattle. From the waist up, the Utilikilt wearer looks like a guy who can be found in the mosh pit of every punk concert, and from the waist down, like Lindsay Lohan. Actually, these days Lindsay Lohan is starting to look, from the waist up, like someone who can be found in mosh pits at punk concerts.
4. The Driving
Imagine if, as you drove around during the normal course of a day, everyone else on the road was convinced that you were following them and they were trying to lose you. Other drivers put on their left turn signal for five minutes, before slamming on their brakes and turning right. They drive forty miles an hour in the fast lane, then gun it to cut across four lanes of traffic and exit. Now you know what it’s like to drive in the Pacific Northwest.
So why will I miss this? Because after living here for six years, I now drive the exact same way. Whenever I go back to Maryland, I realize just how bad I’ve gotten as I drift aimlessly between lanes, confusing the irate drivers behind me enough to finally shake them.
3. The Music
I don’t think I’ve ever lived in an area where the music felt so directly impacted by the climate. Everything from the lyrics, to the tempo to the singers’ mumbly voices seem to be affected by a lack of vitamin D. And while the music may sound overly sad or mopey in other parts of the country, it fits perfectly here. You can’t go around listening to Ke$ha when it’s 45 degrees and drizzling. Although if you ever go around listening to Ke$ha then you should get your hearing checked out because you may not be able to hear that you’re listening to terrible music.
2. The Beer
I had lived out here about six months before I went back to Maryland to visit. I met up with some friends and excitedly ordered a Yuengling. “I missed this so much,” I told my friends, “you can’t get this on the west coast.” But as I took my first sip, I realized something. Something that, as an east coaster, I know is blasphemous to say: Yuengling isn’t that great. It’s fine, but it doesn’t come close to the microbrews you can get out here. You can get beers that taste like ginger…or jasmine…or just really good beer.
I still, of course, drink Yuengling when I’m in Maryland, but that’s because the choices are pretty limited. Once you’re of legal age I don’t even think they’ll sell you Natty Bo.
1. The People
You know the moment in The Ugly Duckling when the swan sees a bunch of other swans and realizes that he’s not a hideous duck, he’s a regular looking swan? That’s how I felt when I moved out here. I blend in perfectly with the pale, dark-haired, coffee-drinking people of the Pacific Northwest. Out here, overly tan girls with blonde hair who wear sweatpants with “Sexy” or “Cutie” across the butt are, rightfully, regarded with suspicion.
And while some may consider the well-documented, standoffish nature of Northwesterners to be a negative, it makes perfect sense to me. The people out here are polite and nice enough, but they, as a general rule, don’t want to be your best friend. Which is exactly how I feel about almost every person on the planet. As the great Ron Swanson once said, “The less I know about other people’s affairs, the happier I am. I’m not interested in caring about people.”
So, with that I must say goodbye to the Pacific Northwest. It’s been nice getting to know you from a respectable distance. I will always consider you a close acquaintance.