Dear Seattle, I’m concerned.

Dear Seattle,

It’s been really great to see you again. The last time we met, you were cold, grey, rainy and full of tents. And I was definitely in a dark space. Although I’ve always kinda loved your classic morose days, I must admit your blue skies have been glorious. The other day, I was struck once again by your magnificent sunset. The reds and yellows and oranges, it’s a miracle. And all that water and fish and birds and hydrangeas and lavender and those mountains. Jeez! I must have seen Mount Rainier in all its majestic glory at least three times in the past week. It’s hypnotizing, really. How do you do it?

Today, I watched ducks play in the wetlands at Golden Gardens, pups roll around ecstatically in the hot sand, and a salesperson smile even after a woman ran into the shop to get away from a homeless person who stood in the doorway screeching profanities at her until the HR guy ushered them out and saved the day. You truly amaze me. I feel your vibe and remember how much we meant to each other at one point. And honestly, I’ve even considered asking you if you’d like to get back together. 

But then, something doesn’t feel quite right. I don’t mean to be rude or presumptuous, but you’ve kind of let yourself go. And I’m a little/lot concerned.

When we were together, I thought you were soooo beautiful, even during our breaks. And in many ways you still are. But feeling all this sunshine, I’m wondering, “why so much?” And the heat? Omg, remember when July 4th would come each year and everyone would get so excited as it finally hit the 70s, but all grumpy again when it reached the 80s? That was awesome. So far this summer, record temps. RECORD TEMPS! In the 90s, nearing 100. What’s that all about? And it’s not just one day; it lingers. And, for the most part, you still refuse air conditioning. Although it was a nice surprise to feel near-arctic temps when I got on the bus that first day. Good thing I brought a sweater, just in case. I mean, it’s pretty awesome the buses are nice and chilly. You’ve done well there. Although I have to admit, I’m a little afraid I might get shot, spit on, yelled at or kicked in the head during my commute. A couple of days ago, I heard myself yelling. “Wait!” Just as the bus closed its doors, I caught a man running for it. The bus started moving. The man stopped. A couple of people in the back yelled. And when the driver kept moving, that’s when I heard it. It took me a second to realize it was my own voice. I’d never done that before. And honestly it made my throat feel kinda funny. The bus stopped. The man got on. But that’s what you do to me. You make me want to yell. Your rage is contagious. With all your weed, I’d expect you to be a little more chill. Not sure what’s going on there.

Another thing. I know it’s a sore subject, but let’s talk about the homeless crisis. Because it is a crisis and it is screaming out for help. Ignoring what feels like the zombie apocalypse invaders is not going to make them go away, my love. And you know what else ignoring them does? It makes them sadder, angrier, crazier. Ever been ghosted by someone you thought would always be there for you? And you text and text and call and call, and nothing? Yeah, that shit breeds crazy. And you definitely don’t need more crazy. You have a giant heart, always have, and I know you think you’re being kind. Letting them make their own decisions. Not interfering. But sound judgment does not equal shooting up, running around naked and passing out on the sidewalk. Believe me, I’m def pro-choice. But in addition to their own lives, this endangers the lives of others. People are scared. Have you been downtown lately? Of course I too would love to see pretty lights and shoppers and the carousel and even the Starbucks I never went into remain forever, but I am not delusional. Change is inevitable. Believe me, I know. But still. What exists down there now is a shitshow, and you know it. I know you know it. Advice on the homeless? I don’t have any. I’m no politician, psychologist or urban planner. Some of them have fallen on desperate times. Some of them prefer to not live off the man. Others have been consumed by drugs. But haven’t other cities/countries had to deal with this? How did they do it? Google it. Or maybe UW or Urbact have some thoughts? Then of course there’s the uptick in crime. Out. Of. Control. The other day, a friend of a friend was driving in SoDo and saw a man stab another man, in broad daylight. What gives?! 

One more thing and I swear I’ll stop. I’ve noticed you’re still tearing down the old and building up the new and shiny when maybe the old wasn’t that bad after all. The character. The community. The music. The nature. The food. The affordable prices. The pride of being a Seattleite. Don’t you miss your Denny’s and Sunset Bowl’s and Charlie’s and Ernie Steele’s and RKCNDY’s and B&O’s and newstands and even the funky warehouse/shipyard areas? I could go on. I miss them. You were gritty back in the day, and you even had your homeless and crazies. But we knew them all, many even by their real names. This, what you have going on now? It’s just. Weird. Even if you were all grumpy and hooded up and isolated and pissy-rained out back then, we loved you. You were cool, magic. And then … you ripped our hearts out and stomped on them. Now all that wisdom and sexy angst is disappearing. It’s turned into rage. And frankly, it scares me. And from what I hear, you’ve pissed off a lot of your friends. So much so, that some of the best ones have even moved to Tacoma. Sheesh! What does that tell you?

I know you’re all about the future now, but you can’t hide behind these monstrosities you call progress. You’ve definitely surpassed my financial bracket. But all this plastic surgery doesn’t cover up what’s really going on underneath. It only emphasizes the cracks. Crack. Needles strewn all around your streets. What’s going on? You seem confused, no longer comfortable in your own skin. Do you feel you haven’t lived up to your potential? Are you grasping at straws to find meaning in life? Did Covid finally push you over the edge? Maybe you’ve been dating the wrong people. They might be a bad influence on you. I dunno. I mean, we’re all rediscovering ourselves these days, trying to find some balance between our crazy past and our, hopefully, more stable future. But, I’m curious.

If you feel like I’m overstepping my boundaries here, I apologize. I’ve always been more nostalgic than you. And who am I to throw in my two cents when we aren’t even together anymore? But as a friend and someone who will, I hope, forever remain in your heart as you will in mine, take a beat. Breathe. Remember the good times and embrace them. You don’t need to go so fast.

Anyhoo, I don’t mean to corner you. Just know that I will always love you, even if you do piss me off sometimes, and I’m here to talk whenever you’re ready.

Love forever,

Julia xo

2 Replies to “Dear Seattle, I’m concerned.”

  1. ‘Tis a shame, Seattle. I’ve only been there a few times because I have a good friend in the ‘burbs. When I lived in Portland (early ’00), there was a homeless problem, but I hear that it’s gotten way worse. Same with LA and Hawaii, my home state.

    You mentioned big-heartedness, and I think this is an example of how positive qualities can shade into enabling/dark ones at a certain point. Let’s hope for all the communities, something is done to alleviate this growing problem. xo

    1. Indeed, there’s always been the homeless problem, but they weren’t as angry and aggressive. You could actually sit down and talk with many of them; they just didn’t want to live under the control of “the man.” At least for some, that was the case. But it’s different now. A friend who spends a lot of time in Portland told me it’s worse there. It really is a shame. One night, when driving a bit north of downtown, I looked over and thought how absolutely gorgeous the city is: the lights, the skyline, the water, the mountains … just breathtaking. And how sad/disappointing they can’t figure out what to do about the issues. As you say, let’s hope. xo

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