WE NEED TO TALK. It's over. It's not you, it's me. We can still be friends, right? You don't want to end up with a gal like me: I'm trouble. I'm heading off for a life of romance, excitement, and adventure on the high seas.

When I think about what I'll miss about Seattle while I'm busy pursuing my first love, lawn bowling, I think about trudging up Second Avenue to the Crocodile, a thin, bitter rain sluicing down on a grim Tuesday night in January, thinking, "What am I doing here?" That was the night I first saw City Of, and man, it was worth it. Their self-titled album is out now on Woodson Lateral Records, and their hazy, half-remembered, dreamy indie pop will be such a comfort to me on the cocoa farms of Colombia.

Because even though mapping the human genome will be a daunting challenge, it'll be a piece of cake next to the unmined troves of the Seattle music scene. That the angular art-punk of a fine band like the A-Frames could have been right under our noses all this time is astounding! They've got a bassist who is the most fun you'll see onstage. And to think I would've missed them if I hadn't run into Dean and Mike from Welcome, another of my favorite finds, on their way to the show. I know that even though my future is in taxidermy, I'll always remember running to the Sit & Spin to catch the A-Frames in between the opening acts of a Modest Mouse show at the Showbox.

Yes, my memories of Seattle will be all I'll have to keep me warm during those long, cold nights engineering the Trans-Siberian Express, as my dry, cracked, blue fingers clasp tightly the McDonald's coffee-stirrer I received as a present from the two sweetest rockers in Seattle, Jenn and Mat from Seattle's sweetest band, Carissa's Wierd (my cause célèbre).

Playing second base for the New York Yankees will be perfectly dreary compared to the peerless guitar riffs of a band like Billy Shook, whose exuberance, dynamics, and sheer force of talent threaten to eclipse our other local rock bands before long.

Because the plain fact of the matter is that when compared to the cutthroat, Darwinian competition I will face seeking my fortune as a blacksmith's apprentice, many of the people I've had the pleasure of meeting in the Seattle music scene have been, well, pretty darn nice. And since I was raised to place a premium on etiquette, I'm taking this opportunity to thank you all: the bands and folks mentioned above as well as Ben, Chris, and Nick from Death Cab for Cutie; Spencer, Richard, and the Radio Nationals; Lucy, Chris, and Kinski; Peter, Mark, David, and the Melody Unit; Jeramy and Voyager One; Lars, Davey, and the Catheters; the gentlemen of the Now; Ken Stringfellow, Jason Finn, and Scott McCaughey in all their various permutations; Christine, Frank, and Kevin (good luck!) from the Crocodile; good ol' Chad and Rich at I-Spy; Jonna at the Showbox; the folks in Marigold; the Murder City Devils; Harvey Danger; 764-HERO; Sunset Valley; RatCat Hogan; Little Champion; Five Gears in Reverse; Alien Crime Syndicate; Red Stars Theory; FCS North; Raft of Dead Monkeys; Two Ton Boa; Love as Laughter; the Spores; the Fastbacks; and all the other wonderful bands and music-biz types that hold this scene together.

And of course thanks to my colleague Kathleen Wilson, who has a very good heart.

You have all been really kind to me, and I won't forget that when I'm serving McNuggets at the drive-through window.

Love, Erin