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10 Things I May Never Understand About Seattle

st sign1. Coffee is a big deal. If you attempt to order a small instead of an 8 oz., you will be laughed at (sometimes out of pity). I had to learn this the hard way. Coming from a life of Dunkin’ Donuts, where the coffee is watery and weak, my life has been turned completely upside-down. If you can imagine it, Starbucks is considered one of the lower-grade coffee places in Seattle – it is all about the local cafes and espresso bars. And they know it is high quality; almost $4 for a drink smaller than the size of my fist. That’s how snoody they are about coffee here! How did that even happen? It’s not like they grow coffee here…

2. Where are all the children? It may just be the neighborhoods I live/work within, but I will go days without laying eyes on anyone younger than me. And I’m 21! I have never in my life felt like the youngest person in the room, and I am faced with this fact almost every single day. If I do see children they are usually 0-5 years old and hanging onto their parent’s hands. There is a huge age gap in the residents, which I have never experienced before.

3. How are there barely any chain restaurants? I see a McDonalds or Subway every once in awhile, but there are literally no chain restaurants here. I’m not really complaining because I believe in supporting local businesses and fast food is gross, but of course I do enjoy my Starbies. And of course they are on almost every single street corner.

4. Appearances matter (sort of). Back east I have always been told, “Dress To Impress.” According to the Seattle Times, Seattle may be the country’s most dressed down cities, and I have taken notice. I keep having to remind myself to not “judge a book by its cover” when meeting people who look they just walked out of a thrift shop (hipsters EVERYWHERE). However, men here definitely dress a lot nicer in their casual wear, so there is a semi-higher standard of dress. It’s shabby chic.

5. Cars actually stopping for people to cross the street. I don’t know if they are just being polite, or they feel obligated to stop, but it stresses me out because I am not used to it back in Boston. I have stopped traffic countless times because I don’t want the cars to stop for me to cross the road. As my friend from back home puts it, “people in Boston only stop to run you over.”

6. Why is everyone obsessed with going to the mountains on the weekend? I enjoy nature once in awhile, but any local I talk to rave about going skiing/snowboarding every weekend. I can’t be the only one that would rather snuggle on the couch and watch TV with the lights off all weekend. Especially when it rains!

7. Everyone is a fitness instructor. I see so many people in the donut shops, yet everyone is so skinny. I’m not overweight, and I have rarely ever felt self-conscious about my weight when walking down the street… until I came to this city. If you’re not on a run or riding a bike here, you might as well look like a bowling ball walking on toothpicks.

8. “The Seattle Freeze” I didn’t want to believe that this exists, but I have experienced this to some degree. I have met plenty of people that have been friendly, but I fail at establishing a good group of friends; other than my co-workers, who all have families and are years older than me. I, and many others, find it hard to make local friends. Some of the blame can be attributed to my sometimes-introverted personality, but in my defense I have been trying really hard to put myself out there. But these things take time, and I’m only here for 6 months, so I’m not sure how successful once can even be with a limited time frame.

9. Why does it rain. so. much. I know that this is where Edward Cullen is supposed to live and all, but seriously; why does it rain SO freaking much? It’s not like it gets really hot here to evaporate any of the water. I’m just glad it’s not snowing; otherwise, my walk to work would turn into a giant ice mountain. Maybe I should join an African Bobsled team when that time comes.

10. Smoking while walking up a giant hill.  This one just blows my mind – I have encountered this so many times I have lost count.  While I’m huffing and puffing away and feeling like I’m about to die, there are these boys in skinny jeans waltzing up these mountains while smoking a cigarette. How does that even make sense?

About The Author

James Roselle is an undergraduate at Northeastern University majoring in Communication Studies with a concentration in Media Studies. He lived in Seattle for 6 months while working at Northeastern’s Seattle Campus as part of Northeastern’s co-operative education program. He plans to graduate in Spring 2015 and continue writing in his professional career. This is a modified version of a blog post that appeared on James’s personal blog in March 2013: jamesroselle.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/10-things-i-may-never-understand-about-seattle/

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