I recently came across a website created for people who hate Seattle. I read through a number of the entries and found myself nodding my head vigorously at each point mentioned. Yes, yes, yes! All true. For a moment, I considered adding my thoughts and posting them at that site, but since I already have my own blog, why not share my feelings right here with my readers?
To put it simply, Seattle sucks. I spent just over two years there from 2009 until 2011. Before Seattle, I was living in Portland, Oregon where I had hoped to settle down. However, the job market there was not what I had anticipated and when I was offered a decent job in Seattle, I had to accept as I was quickly running out of money.
I had heard some negative things about Seattle before arriving, of course, such as the lousy weather and the traffic. But I figured I could make the best of it. It’s a big city with some world-famous attractions, after all. Seattle has Mount Rainier, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, distinctive neighborhoods, Puget Sound, professional sports teams, and a waterfront. Plus, it has a reputation for musical innovation (Jimi Hendrix, Grunge etc.) and liberal politics.
My expectation that I could endure the bad aspects of the city and maximize the the positive attributes turned out to be wishful thinking. Actually, I knew times were going to be rough when a colleague of mine gave me a welcoming gift a few months after I arrived. It was a book titled ‘Dont Jump. The Northwest Winter Blues Survival Guide.’ The ‘don’t jump’ part of the title refers to jumping off a bridge in the attempt to commit suicide.
Simply reading about Seattle weather cannot prepare you for the reality of it. Nothing can, really. It is as bad as you have heard. Even a normal year in Seattle is difficult to withstand. However, during the time I was there, a record was set for the longest number of days when the temperature failed to rise above 60 degrees. I can’t find the article online to give the exact record, but I think it was six or seven months. Furthermore, during that dreadful spell it rained nearly every day and the sun became a distant memory. My skin, deprived of the warmth, vitamin d, and healing energy of the sun, became extremely pale. Looking at my face in the mirror, I realized that I looked unhealthy and unattractive. My pallid skin seemed to reflect perfectly my inner misery.
The clouds, rain, and cool temperatures are not the only phenomena that must be endured in the far Pacific Northwest. People sometimes forget, as I did, just how far north Seattle is situated. From November until February, the sun remains very low on the horizon and during the depths of winter in December and January, days have only seven hours of sun. When I left for work at 5:30 in the morning, it was still dark outside with sunrise being a couple of hours away. And when I got back into my car at 3:30 in the afternoon to come home, it was already dusk. The entire day had passed by while I was in my office. I was lucky if I could go outside during my lunch break to get a few minutes of sun. Only a masochist would want to put up with that kind of climate for long.
To rub salt in the wound, the NWO also sprayed the Seattle skies relentlessly with chemtrails. On many days, the skies were so thick with chemtrails that I got nosebleeds. Seattleites, being too busy staring at their smartphones or just being tuned out of reality altogether, took no notice.
I am a veteran of ‘The Battle in Seattle,’ the famous uprising against the WTO which set in motion the movement against corporate globalism. I came away from that experience with the impression that Seattle was city of radical leftists, revolutionaries, and liberals. The impression that Seattle is a ‘liberal’ city is one that is constantly fed by not only the mass media organs, but also the so-called ‘alternative media.’ What I quickly learned was that, in fact, Seattle is not a liberal city at all. It is a corporate town to the bone, and deeply proud of it.
Seattle is, in many ways, defined by its corporate nature. It is the birthplace and home of Starbucks, Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon, among others. These are not small players on the international stage. A large percentage of Seattleites work for these corporations or their ancillaries and are not about to speak out against globalism or corporatacracy when their paycheck depends upon it. The liberalism that you so often hear about in Seattle is only the social liberalism variety, sometimes referred to as cultural marxism. In other words, if you live in Seattle, you are probably pro-choice, pro -gay marriage, pro -LGBT, pro- multiculturalism, and pro- Democratic Party. If you are not in favor of those things, you learn to keep your mouth shut.
I grew up in Washington D.C. and have lived in Austin, San Francisco, and Portland. Additionally, I have visited some large cities in Asia and South America so I am not unfamiliar with heavy and chaotic traffic. Seattle is the most unpleasant place to drive a car and get around that I have ever been to. The combination of geography, weather, city planning, and population makes Seattle an absolute nightmare for driving. There is only one major north-south route through the city and it is always congested. Traveling east-west is no better. Sitting in your car in traffic is a daily fact of life in Seattle. Traffic is so bad that most of the time I would do anything to avoid it. I would stay home instead of going out on weekends or evenings. The parking situation in downtown Seattle is beyond bad. There is little to no street parking and the rates at parking garages and lots are exorbitant.
The never-ending construction in downtown Seattle only made matters worse. There were a number of major projects happening in 2009-2011, including the construction of an underground subway system.
If I wanted to visit downtown Seattle on a Friday or Saturday night to enjoy some dinner, drink, and maybe music, I was confronted with a nightmare scenario. First, I needed to drive on the interstate from my apartment in South Seattle, never knowing how bad the traffic would be. Then, I needed to negotiate the tangle of downtown streets, including many one-way streets and streets with steep hills, never a fun prospect with my stick shift. Next, I had to find a parking space or be willing to shell out 10 or 15 bucks for a spot in a lot. If I managed to successfully do all of that, I then had to walk a few blocks in the rain to finally arrive at my restaurant.
Once at the restaurant or bar, I didn’t dare have more than one drink, for I knew that awaiting me on my drive home was a hornet’s nest of cops on street corners waiting to nab their quota for the night. Unmarked police cruisers were everywhere on the roads. One wrong turn down a one-way street or one forgetful moment of not turning on my blinker was enough to get me face-to-face with one of Seattle’s finest. I had plenty of experience with Seattle cops during the WTO protest and I witnessed firsthand what they are made of, and capable of. In 2010, a big local story was the cold-blooded shooting death of an unarmed, non-aggressive, innocent Native American artist by a Seattle cop. The young cop simply stepped out of his car, barked a few words at the man ,who was mostly deaf, pulled out his gun and shot him dead on the street.
The Dating scene
Do not, under any circumstances, move to Seattle if you are single and have any hope of finding a spouse, a partner, or even a date. Seattle is, by a wide margin, the worst city for dating I have ever visited or lived in. In general, people are cliquish, aloof, superficial, rigid, and uninteresting. I was neither a hipster nor a corporate drone, so that ruled out about 95 percent of the population. As a single man, I found myself hitting constant roadblocks, whether I tried the online dating route or the bar/club/restaurant/ scene. Many of the young women I met seemed uninterested in dating, men, and sex. They seemed almost asexual. Maybe it’s the weather.
Image versus Reality
Seattle’s liberalism is only one example of how the myth of the city does not match the reality. I was initially excited to shop at Pike Place Market, an icon of the city. Sure, the market is probably useful for those lucky enough to actually live close to it, but for those of us who need to drive into the city to get there, it’s not worth it. It’s mostly a tourist trap and has a generally unfriendly vibe. Pioneer Square feels run-down and depressed. It too is mostly frequented by tourists. Elliott Bay Bookstore moved across town and now has a much more corporate and sterile feel to it. The waterfront boardwalk is boring and lifeless.
If you decide that all of the above are not enough to deter you from moving to Seattle, remember too that you will have to pay through the nose for the privilege of living there. It was not cheap when I was there a few years ago and I read recently that rents have gone up steeply in the last few years. Prices are now approaching the level of San Francisco.