Pullout Jan 28, 2015 at 4:00 am

Listen, It's Not as Bad as You Think

James Yamasaki


Love it!!! Thank you! Now I'm missing sunshine
When I was moving here from California my brother, who was living in Everett, told me "You'll like everything about it, except that they're the worst fucking drivers in the world." I don't know if it was a self-fulfilling prophecy but I think he was right. All sorts of weird driving habits, not just stopping for pedestrians even when the light is green and there is no one behind them. Who does that shit? Four way stop signs are insane. "You go" "No, you go" "No, I insist" "No no, I insist" It will drive you nuts. And don't get me started about that 12th man fan shit. I used to think the Seahawk fans were cool, but now I think they've been trained by ESPN to think that rude fans are part of the game and should act like obnoxious dorks. And I can't wait until one of them sues the Seahawks and/or the NFL for hearing loss.

Other than that, my brother was right: I love the city.
This was great. Welcome to Seattle!
Dear Californian: please go home ! *smile* no really go home. I hate the california way i hate the california lifestyles i hate the california mentality, which by the way is stupid. so please go home *smile*.
I had to laugh about the "Rules" thing, because that's definitely something I noticed when I first moved here. And yet, for all the rules Seattlites have, none of them seem to apply to any of the stuff that drives ME crazy. For example, I'd never in a million years think to care about whether a stranger is riding without a helmet or jaywalking unless I was the one about to hit them. Yet I get "politely educated" about these things all the time. And I inevitably seem to piss people off when I ask them if they're in line when Seattle lines are not actual lines and people always seem to be standing 20 feet away from each other.

But the things that make being out in public a total pain in the ass for me simply seem to be just the way things go here, like groups of people clogging the entire sidewalk while all walking in the same direction (especially at crosswalks - has no one else seems to be aware of the "always stay to your right" rule I grew up with) who obviously see you but just can't be bothered to scoot over, or people aware that other people are try to get on super crowded buses who just stand there at the front of the bus slowing the entire boarding process up, or tech zombies meandering down the street like wayward toddlers glued to their phones who force you to watch out for them, or people who hog the entire grocery aisle, look at you trying to pass, and continue to stand in the way. Where are all the uptight Seattlites to yell at these people so I don't always have to be the inpatient east coast asshole? Maybe we had as many rules, but they seemed so much more common sense, we live in a society based than the random shit people care about here.
I don't live in Seattle, but down in Oly (Olympia, O-town). And the things that stood out to me, coming from Colorado, is that people did not say hello or goodbye when they arrived or left the house (cold!), that people didn't wear raincoats or use umbrellas even when it was raining (definitely NOT umbrellas unless you are a politician, lobbyist, or a tourist), and people pretended not to see you in the grocery store because they're so tired of running into everyone, everywhere (I do this, now that I'm used to smalltown living). And, frequent lack of style!
Christ. Was this bundle of worn out cliches recycled from the Weekly or the Seattle Times?
@2 for stereotypes of the worst drivers in the US, Boston drivers win hands down...
Do not anger a crow. They will remember your face and scream at you every time you walk by.
The worst cliche is transplants bitching about Seattle cliches. Seriously FUCK OFF. Go home. We do not want you. The Seattle freeze is real and necessary. When I was unfortunate enough to have to leave Seattle for a year and live in LA, I somehow managed not to open my big, fat mouth about all of it's obvious cliched shortcomings. It's not that hard.
@11 Hear hear!
Seattle's driving culture is so confusing because so many people aren't from here and learned to drive in many different parts of the country. So you have aggressive drivers from California and the northeast, passive drivers from the small-town South, West, Southwest, and Midwest plus everything in between.

In time, you eventually figure it out and it's not that big a deal.

Beyond that, once you accept that the Northwest will change you more than you change it, you're ready to live here for life. If you can't accept that, you're probably not meant to be here for very long, so enjoy it as best you can while you're here then go back to a place that suits you better.
I am male and wearing flip-flops right now. At work. And I walk outside in them.
And what @4 said.
And, guys and gals, FLORIDA has the worst drivers E V E R. No shit and hands down. Go there if you don't believe me and you won't return and it won't be because you were not warned.
And californians GO HOME.
Go home out-of-state assholes!! Why do you come here only to kill the thing you love (and purport to understand)? Thanks to all you out-of-state, grunge-pop-culture-obsessed, asshole children who dye your hair green and pretend to know more about Seattle than the locals who were actually here in the 90s, the local culture that carried the history of this city on it's back is being replaced by newly developed, gentrified studio/half bath apartments that cost $3000 a month and are pushing the real locals out. Capitol Hill is dead now. It's full of yuppies in expensive over coats, walking the streets with their adult children, spending money at sanitized yarn shops and wine tasting classes, glaring at the "weirdos" who dare to walk the same streets as them. WE CAME TO CAPITOL HILL TO GET AWAY FROM YOU idiot brohos and mindless yuppies. Go the burbs. Go to Bellevue. Go ANYWHERE ELSE. But no. You wanna play with the cool kids. But you kill everything with your dead, hive-minded presence. Enjoy the hologram of a city that's left, assholes. FUCK YOU!!!!!
The "No Firearms" signs are quite serious. It's trivial to legally get a gun and a concealed carry permit so you can take it everywhere. Local jurisdictions are not allowed to override this, but business* can and do.

* guns aren't supposed to be allowed where alcohol is served, but reading the police blotters show it still happens.
Virginia Mason, that's where the passive-aggressiveness comes out here.
As a native Seattleite, I find it interesting to see what people who are new think.

I'll take our weather over anyone's in the country except for Hawaii
Welcome to Seattle. Do not go home. In fact, please encourage as many Californian friends and family to move here as possible. As a Seattleite, I would love to have fun Californians replace my insufferable cohorts. For the most part, Seattleites are giant, throbbing, cocks. *fake smile*
I moved from California to Seattle in the mid aughts. I now have followed the hipster train on down to New Orleans, where, I assure you, the bad drivers make Seattleites look like automotive geniuses.

When I lived in Seattle I knew like two people who gave a shit about the Seahawks.
I love the fact that Californians are moving up here! I can't tell you how many CA license plates I see up here. The more, the merrier. These passive-aggressive PNW's are being outnumbered and soon, we may as well call Seattle, CA. ;) Every time I see the OG PNW's bitch and complain about CA transplants, I laugh!

#transplant #soCal #loveToSeeTheChange ...
I've been here for 5 years. I've spent a decent amount of time living in (or attempting to live in) LA, Chicago, NYC & Miami. I'm originally from Cleveland. Compared to most of this country, Seattle is near perfect.

It's not like everyone here is passive-aggressive, but a lot of people are simply just *passive* - i.e. the driving example.

It doesn't rain here that much compared to 40+ other cities. The weather is arguably much worse on the Eastern-half of the US.

I don't mind Californians coming here at all. But I am wondering if some of these observations-turned-facts about Seattle life are made real mostly by former Californians. They seem to be the ones who complain more than anyone. Perhaps native Seattleites do too, but I attribute that to a high sense of idealism which I think is not uncommon among large groups of [non-elitist] intellectuals (which Seattle has a lot of) or nerd/geeks or whatever PC term you want to interject here.

Seattle also has a lot of introverts for the same reasons. Introverts can be construed as passive-aggressive, but really again I think people are just very passive. Yes, crossing the road is silly to me. If I could use telekinesis to move the car when they really should be going (and no waiting for me) then I would just to get a point across.

That said, I understand the criticism to a point but also believe that you should consider what the rest of this $hit hole country looks like. There is so much urban decay, garbage economy, and crooked politics running the majority of the cities/states in the US. Seattle in comparison imo is a module for a healthy and positive American city.

I will majorly disagree with the disparagement of the rent prices, however. I love all the development and growth going on here, but Seattle life is in part about sustainability and being able to live in decent, healthy and affordable housing. It isn't like NYC or LA. People actually just want to live their lives here and enjoy them. It's fine that things are changing, but we need more affordable spaces made and better mass transit options available to and from these neighborhoods where people are being pushed out - people who are the keystones of the culture of their neighborhood.

I don't want Seattle to become like Brooklyn - people like artists being pushed out due to gentrification. The neighborhood becomes soulless and no one will enjoy living there anymore. Just look at Toronto. It's the same thing there. Just the same boring buildings on every corner, nothing unique or interesting in a lot of neighborhoods there.

You should appreciate what Seattle has to offer because as far as I know, there's no other place like it.
Some explanations from a native Seattleite

1) Flip flops: many times the guys who wear flip flops and shorts in the middle of winter are Alaskans. This weather is paradise for them. Another explanation is the weather can change on a dime here. One time in college the temp was high 50's so I just slipped on some flip flops, a few hours later it was snowing.

2) Garbage Cans: downtown they installed solar garbage cans that look like robots, people get confused and don't realize what they're for. In other areas we just use the residential trash cans/recycling.

3)Rules: Have you met our anarchists?!?! We're just a little more subversive than people are used to.

4) Produce: Yeah, we're not California, but we have better beer and that's cool with us.

5) The 90's: Most people obsessed with the 90's and grunge are transplants, grunge is great and all, but let's talk about the Sonics and Bikini Kill.

6) High Rent: We know we're not the Bay Area, we don't want to be, we want to keep our people here rather than drive them out with high rents, that's why we complain about it so much and elect Socialists to stop it.

7) Weather: BIGGEST PET PEEVE, Californians complaining about the weather. You knew what you were getting into and in my opinion Seattle is beautiful when overcast and foggy. Take some vitamin d and get over it.

8) Summer: SHHHH, don't tell the other Californians, they might follow you
I dunno, after you lived here a bit, there's always some sort of influx of Californians moving up. That's old news. I'm surprised that The Stranger's editorial board cares about their first impressions. This piece is reminiscent of something from an undergraduate student newspaper reviewing a new Tori Amos album, which is to say alternatively weak and starry eyed without saying anything at all.

The reality is, at some point the economy will tank (that is what it does, after all, how else will the rich stay rich), at least half of them will all flee for better jobs or more sunshine, and then it will be the PNW's again. This has all happened before.
Great read, having been hear 20+ years, it's impossible for me to see the city with fresh eyes.

@25: former Californians. They seem to be the ones who complain more than anyone.

Not even close. East coasters tend to have the biggest cultural adjustment to make, they are by far the biggest complainers, and many of eventually leave. Good riddance, the east coast is stuck in the past.

As for Californians, welcome! Seattle could benefit from a little Bay Area and LA mojo.
Pro-tip: if you can't think of anything to write, just regurgitate something you read on buzzfeed a dozen times.
Weird. Seattleites smoke a lot? Um, not really. Also, it's actually more diverse than the national average.
@29, such as "pro-tip."
All these 'go home' comments are provincial and insular. This is anti-cosmopolitan. You should be welcoming of outsiders, even if they are annoying. For fuck's sake, California is in the same fucking country.
@16: The South in general has the worst drivers. Live there for a few years and then come to Seattle and you will be amazed at the competence of Seattle drivers. It is almost as if the drivers in Seattle pay attention to the road. You do not want to be a pedestrian or a cyclist in the South.
@30, Seattle is the fifth-whitest of the 50 largest cities in the US, and getting whiter. #1 is Portland, OR. Seattle isn't even diverse by Washington State standards; we're 19th among Washington cities over 10,000 people.

But yeah, welcome Californians (and people from points further south, we need you).
@31, indeed. Life hack: store your feces in jars of ascending size throughout the week!
When did the stranger turn into Seattle magazine?
There is one thing I've noticed since moving here from San Diego that puzzles me. In California people call freeways by their number. Example: "Can you tell my how to get back to the 5?" or "Just take the 15 north."

Here in Washington, people always say either "I-5" or "Highway 5." I remember the first week moving here I asked someone how to get to the 5 and he responded "the 5 what?"
Right on. Liked your article!
At the risk of sounding like a racist, there are a bevy of Asian drivers and they cannot drive for the most part
Just saying
I don't care where you're from, but if you're moving here to work for Amazon, don't! They are a shitty company, treat their employees at ALL levels like property.
If you're moving here to work for Microsoft and don't truly appreciate a creative culture, please move to the eastside. Too many of the new arrivals seem to have very suburban values. I can't comment on those moving here to work for Starbucks or nordstroms.
Also, newcomers from Cali, don't mock our bitching about the rents. Students, up and coming artists and musicians, and fuck ups with redeeming value and good taste in the arts used to be able to live here without benefactors. Remember, these are the people steaming your nonfat lattes and bagging your groceries at Whole Foods. They work serving you, they ought to be able to be your neighbor.
Welcome to Washington, Californiaites.

Now go the fuck away.

I'd rather invite locusts to live in my trousers, than have you for neighbors. It is the reason I didn't stay in CA after I left the service.
@39, you're probably talking about the Asians who are from Asia. Have you seen footage of how people drive over there? China is the scariest. Like a bunch of people trying to figure it out at the same time. SE Asian traffic looks scary, but they all seem to be on the same page.
@37 -- you're hitting on the ultimate Seattle shibboleth; *NEVER* use the "The" article in front of a highway of freeway name. It's the first sign of a So-Cal transplant. ;)
People love to point out the "this is SO Seattle passive aggressive thing" but honestly how many Seattlites are even from Seattle? Most people I meet are from some other place. Maybe the real question is why are all the insecure rejects from across the nation choosing Seattle as their place of residence? Is it so they can complain about things with other people who want to complain about their new chosen home but ultimately decided it's still better than where they came from?
1. There aren't enough freeways in Seattle to necessitate shortening their names down to numbers.

2. I almost never hear grunge music in Seattle, I have no idea what you're talking about. Most Seattlites I know would never listen to or admit to liking grunge music. The only place I feel like grunge is still alive in Seattle is downtown or in the U-district. Grunge is dead in Seattle, but the yuppies are thriving. If you take a ferry to Bremerton, you'll find grunge being celebrated more.

3. Outside of downtown, smoking goes away. If you smoke, you are a pariah. You smoke in secret or you smoke 'only after drinking'.

4. It doesn't snow here. When it does, it's a miracle. If you blink or go to bed early, you'll probably not even see evidence that it ever happened, but some people might mention it in the way someone might talk about witnessing seeing a UFO.

One point to keep in mind is that Seattle sort of represents the Pacific Northwest on a whole and not just Seattle/WA state. I've meet a lot of younger people that moved to Seattle from Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, & Oregon. So for this faction Seattle is the "big city". However, they tend to bring their "small town" inferiority complexes in tow IMHO. I've never lived in a city were ppl are so defensive about anything "Seattle". Make a such as 'Dicks' is not really that great and you don't see what all the fuss is about and you'll instantly get a, "Well, get the fuck out of Seattle then!!" Half the comments echo this sentiment. Sorry but it comes off as one big ass loser complex to me. That and a severe lack of humor and a good 'ol over abundance

of Emerald City grumpiness. For the outsiders just learn to laugh at them :-)
@37 (and incidentally @43) - Using "the" with a freeway number instantly labels you either as too young to know better or as a newcomer in California. The correct way to refer to freeways and highways in California is and always has been to use only the number. "Take 101 north to the Figueroa exit and hang a left when you hit the street" is correct usage; "take the 101 to Fig and go left" is newcomerspeak. Now get off my lawn.
I moved to Oakland from Seattle/Olympia. Enjoy that shit while I avoid trash on my bike.
#44, I've lived in the state (from Grays Harbor to King to Kitsap) for the past 3o years, and it is good to see somebody else realize how many of these "Seattle" habits are the habits of people who moved in only a few years prior to them.
Flip-flops and shorts in the winter are not Seattle affectations.
The short sightedness is also evident. Having a hard time finding a garbage can in Seattle? Try finding one in many European cities. They were removed as potential terror targets. Seattle has numerous garbage cans for a city of its size. Finding people obeying the rules? Go to 5th and Jackson and count the people smoking at the bus stop. Those "vapers"? They're smoking too, you know. They're just as guilty of violating The Clean Air Act as someone smoking a "rollie".
But pointing out these truths isn't "hip" or "trendy", so we're less likely to see them on Slog.
what people from seattle still live in the city?
90s fashion/music is in vogue again. Seattle isn't stuck in the 90s.
@47's right. No one in California says "the 880". In Seattle, we just say "the freeway".

There's nothing passive about Seattle's aggression. Read the Seattle Times comments (or Slog or Horse's Ass) if you think we're nice.
Shut up, shut up, shut up now. I'm sick of this dumb bullshit.
I'm confused at #44...you don't meet anyone "from Seattle"? Are you not from here? That is absolutely the reason why. I only ever meet people from Seattle and the surrounding area which is because I grew up here and therefore meet new friends through current friends who all grew up around here. It is rare that I actually meet someone not from here. Move to San Diego...THAT is a city where truly no on is from there.
Some of these comments are weird. Did you actually read the article? She doesn't COMPLAIN about the weather, she just observes that it's more complicated than the weather in California and you need to have more than one kind of jacket.

I think Seattle is actually very attached to our punk/grunge/indie pop heritage, but it's not like we're "stuck" in the 90s -- it's more like the way New Orleans is attached to its heritage of jazz and blues.

Which reminds me -- we need, like, a Preservation Hall for grunge.
Planning to move there from Cape Town, South Africa. This article helped a lot. Should I be concerned about the race issue as I am 10 times darker than tan :)
So you come here to use our water and drove up our cost of living? Somehow 20 minute showers are on par with your fashion advice? Please go back to your soiled/spoiled Bay Area and work on the problems you helped cause and take your warped perceptions with you!
I can't believe people in the US form these possessive complexes surrounding "their" city. Coloradoans are also quick to tell you that they are state natives and the buzz is that many resent transplants. The whole US is now a melting pot, and it is completely unrealistic in this day and age to resent new residents who come from a variety of places. That is now the norm as the world becomes increasingly mobile and global. The idea is to continue to strive towards creating increasingly enlightened and progressive communities and the reality is that residents will be a mix from varied geographic, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.
People in Seattle are rude, but like fish in water, they are too closely immersed in the situation to see what's going on. The fake politically correct bullshit covers up the seething resentment from truly hostile and insular people (As mentioned in earlier comments).

Own your shit, Seattle and don't blame it on being introverts, because there are plenty with social skills; don't blame it on Nordic culture, because Scandinavians are very welcoming; and don't blame it on the weather because parts of Scandinavia have 24 hours of darkness in the winter, yet the folks still know how to have a good time.

So what's the real problem? It's called xenophobia, an intense fear and hatred of foreigners. That's right Seattle-ites don't want outsiders coming in and messing up their clean streets and perfect neighborhoods, God forbid they end up like areas of San Diego or Oakland (which have some really nice areas). And, by the way, the only time you'll ever hear any white person in Seattle talk about race is when they're getting schooled by whites from other parts of the country about their white privilege.

With that being said, the deep Seattle freeze is largely directed at non whites and to anyone else who doesn't earn a six figure salary. Walk into any restaurant in Queen Anne, Ballard, Capitol Hill, or Downtown and you're hard pressed to find any nonwhite there outside the kitchen staff. Seattleites simply dismiss the issue because they have been soclialised neither to see nor discuss issues of white privilege. The prevailing attitide boils down to, if the issue doesn't affect them or anyone in their social network then there is no problem.

NEWSFLASH-- There lies a great big world beyond I-90, I-405, and I-5, and everyone in it laughs at the petty behavior in Seattle.
This article sucked... And No we aren't passive aggressive, or the black folks aren't. Take your ass back to California or where ever you come from. K THX BYE
I grew up on the East Coast, lived in the Mid-west and just moved to WA from CA. I was in fear for my life driving in WA with CA license plates on my car. I felt I was being targeted by WA drivers every time I got on the road. Made a U-turn and one driver, who had to wait a couple of seconds for me to get out of his way, blasted his horn, let up and then blasted it again. What's up with that?

Early on, I parked in a space next to a nasty dumpster, between the white lines but a little closer to the right line because of all the crows flying around the dumpster. Next morning, I came out to find a note, in a plastic bag, attached to my wind shield wiper. The guy who had parked his large pick-up truck next to my small Prius left it. It read: "You're not in CA anymore. Learn how to park with some courtesy." So he had to go inside, find a piece of paper, a sharpie and a plastic zip-lock bag, and come back out in the rain to make a point. Yep - my official Welcome to WA!

As soon as I switched tags, I felt the difference. Although WA drivers don't seem to know how to drive in the rain, which is absurd.

Otherwise, WA is just like CA, except for the weather.

Have a nice day.

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