There’s a time and a place for ‘serious,’ Seattle. This is neither.
EVERY GUIDEBOOK AUTHOR has been there: sitting by the glow of an LCD monitor in the middle of the night, fact-checking a long list of mind-numbing facts; figures; or, worse, trailhead directions. The thought sometimes occurs: Oh, to be able to write the guide I want to write, skewering the very thought of guiding.
Well, for better or worse, this writer of both guides and news has been known to give in to that urge. The result of one such recent cannonball dive into the pool of the intentionally absurd is today’s Newcomers’ Guide to Seattle, a tongue-firmly-in-cheek welcome to the many, many, many, many recently arrived members of the community — if you can still call it that, given the steroidal pace of change in these parts.
Having engaged in this banter before, it’s become painfully obvious that many people take the inevitable culture clash between newbies and what I call Legacy Citizens extremely seriously. And, look: We get that the issues raised by these collisions of values, not to mention shoulder space and purchasing power, are serious. But in a larger sense, we also say: Pffft. Get over yourselves.
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Times and places for serious discussions about these conflicts are ample. But it is also instructive to occasionally step back a few yards and take a big-picture view that reveals many of our most passionately argued issues to be decidedly first-world problems.
Beyond that, one of the great things about Seattle, in the mind of this native, has always been its ability to laugh at itself. More to the point: to laugh at ourselves.
Is that still possible in the metropolis we’ve built, on the fly, today? I think the jury is out. But a few of us, at least, will keep banging our heads on that wall until we know for sure.