Playing House in Seattle
We had five glorious days…five days to house-sit for a family friend in Seattle, five days to remember what it’s like to live indoors, in one place, in one of the most interesting cities in the country.
I’d been dreaming about this for weeks. I don’t know what I’ve missed most about living indoors in a city…but I reveled in the warm, sunny kitchen with the smell of toast and coffee in the air, washing laundry in the basement (for free), showering without a coin-operated meter, washing dishes in the kitchen sink with warm water, cooking dinner each night, walking to the grocery store every day, having a refrigerator, not being bothered by the rain. The simple things.
I loved Seattle. It has elbowed its way into my top five list of cities where I want to live, sucker-punching Paso Robles and taking its place in line while it was recovering from a nasty dry heave. For those who are keeping track, that makes the top five list now: Ithaca, NY; Durango, CO; Boston, MA; Boise, ID; Seattle, WA.
Seattle is the kind of town that forces you to always be prepared. You’re going to want to be sure you have your sunglasses, your sweater, and your umbrella before leaving the house. The umbrella’s only for downpours, though, real Seattleites don’t use them unless they’re getting inconveniently wet. It’s never really warm or cold, it’s warmcold or coldwarm. The weather changes constantly, but that’s a good thing — it gives people something to make small talk about. It’s a town that generates endless small talk opportunities.
And there’s Pike Place Market. I love Pike Place Market.
There’s just one thing I hate about Seattle…the driving. You can go blocks before you’re allowed to make a left turn. There’s a lack of stop signs. The driving is just as bad as in New Orleans, where I almost had a nervous breakdown as I tried to navigate through the French Quarter. Here’s a sample conversation we had as we were attempting to get to our friend’s house (I had already made at least ten wrong turns and taken us many miles past our destination): Paul: “OK. Up ahead, it looks like there’s a tunnel and then a viaduct but we’re going to try to perform an evasive maneuver to avoid all that. TAKE A RIGHT TURN RIGHT NOW!” Me and CoCoVan: “Eeeeeeeek!” You just can’t drive anywhere directly, you’ve got to make ever-narrowing circles until you arrive at your destination. That and the lack of convenient public transportation would keep me from moving here. And the cost of housing. And the thousands of miles between us and all other friends and family. Otherwise I’d move here in a second.