Upon my return to the suburbs from the city of Seattle I’ve learned a few things about who I am as a person, they’re not new revelations but my most recent trip has cemented them in me. I’ve said in other posts that I am a traveler who doesn’t travel often, probably because I despise the process of traveling. The packing, the airport, the getting-all-but-entirely-naked at security, I loathe it. Sometimes the stress of it is not even worth the flight about to be taken. It’s endured for the new experience that awaits but there are times when it would’ve been better and cheaper to stay home, Seattle turned out to be one of those times but I had to go there to know that.
Uber Vs. the Light Rail
The Light Rail is the main mode of transportation around the city. It goes to all the hot spots and it only costs $1-$3 a day. Or it’s free if you don’t buy a ticket because no one checks tickets. At least no one did the week I was there. No one who looked remotely official could be found. I would say risk it and jump on sans ticket but others would say pay the cheap price for one because the fine for riding free is steep.
Traveling on the Light Rail is ideal for most but not for me. I’m not big on trains altogether. I don’t trust the timing of the doors opening and closing. I can’t move quickly or jump in if I need to. I don’t think the Light Rail has censors like an elevator. Also, it could be packed so the dog and I having space was not a guarantee, neither was having a place to sit. It took mental and physical energy for me just to ride the rail. I had to brace myself the entire time if I stood and sometimes when I was sitting. It had to be a fast entrance and a fast exit, which bundled my nerves to the extreme. I didn’t ride the Light Rail alone, it was too much physical stress. Adding to that was the amount of walking required to get to wherever we were going once we got off at our stop. Everyday motions for some was tough on me. I preferred Uber but also had a knotted gut about that because it was expensive, $30.00 to get to the city. I was staying half an hour outside. I did not like it but the price of convenience was definitely worth it.
If you visit Seattle and don’t have something like mild Cerebral Palsy as an incessant bother, the Light Rail is ideal transportation.
For those like me who prefer to be at ease, Uber is incredible. All my drivers were kind and accommodating. I only lost one ride due to severe dog allergies (I informed them about my Service Dog beforehand) but as soon as you lose one, another pops up. It’s amazing. The cars appear as if out of nowhere. I highly recommend it. If it’s a treat yourself kind of trip you can ride around in a Lamborghini if you want.
Through my eyes, Seattle took a lot out of me just from walking around. It was rough. I don’t walk a lot at home. I drive. I’m sure I covered more distance than I did in New Orleans because my trip to the West Coast was longer. I do remember the uneven streets in the French Quarter being stressful to get through. The landscape of Seattle was a burden for me because of the hills. It is a very hilly place. Not many people mention that quad-burning feature. The hills of Seattle could put the landscape of San Francisco to shame. I know I have a physical disability but that level of elevation is difficult even for the able-bodied. I survived with the help of my left-hand man Teva. I survived but I was hot and tired the whole time.
Not a weather condition but an attitude impairment. Have you ever had someone blatantly not care that you exist? Even when you’re right beside them? Perhaps this stirs up memories of falling out of love or trying to get a prom date. That’s kind of what Seattle people are like. They behave like the hot, popular one that knows you’re there but they want nothing to do with you. They demonstrate this by offering zero response to others. I’ve heard of similar behavior with the French but all is well there if you parle française.
One example of the Seattle Freeze was when we were in the train station on our way to the ferry discussing directions on the elevator when a young, shaggy-haired blonde man stepped on board with us.
“We need to get to 5th is it up here?” She asked, looking at him who was no more than two feet away. He didn’t move. He didn’t respond. I laughed at how still he stood, lazy eyes facing forward. He had to be joking.
“We’re just trying to get to 5th,” I added, thinking he would at least turn his head. Nothing. He didn’t even flinch and I don’t think he was wearing head-phones. The elevator stopped and he walked out as stiffly as he walked in. We left behind him and saw his robotic self riding up the escalator. “Maybe he was high,” I said.
Another instance of this bizarre behavior happened when I fell in the doorway of the Seattle Library, the central location. It’s a massive, oddly shaped work of art. Ten floors of books. Beautiful. I fell because ironically the handicapped door opener was more forceful than expected and it dragged me with it as it opened. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” I said, feeling the people behind me. Seeing a disabled person fall really shocks the world. It’s irritating but ultimately good. People should care. These people did not. At least their blank faces showed no concern. “That’s what he’s for, happens all the time,” I said as I put both hands across the blue and gold vest worn by my trusted black dog and pulled myself up. The faces of the men and women behind me were blank. They offered no help. Not one of them asked if I was okay. At least they were considerate enough to wait for me to get up again. At least my dog cared. My dog always cares. I walked inside with a bruised knee and said to myself, “what the hell was that?” Other weird things involving the people of Seattle happened at that library. I’ll save those for the end. Was it worth going? Not really. It does look great on the outside. I will say that every tattoo I saw in the city was extremely well done. As an admirer of the art form, I felt proud.
The Seattle Freeze phenomenon has many articles written about it. Locals will hesitantly explain the apathetic attitude or completely deny that it exists. I had to explain the blank stares and wordlessness to people before they could tell me why Seattle people are as empty and flat as a blank sheet of paper. “It’s a form of self-preservation,” said one of the less frosty people I met in the city. He was not from Seattle. That was all I heard before the train arrived and our conversation broke.
Things to See
1. Most of the tourist stops are highly overrated and expensive
The Space Needle and riding the ferry were the only two Seattle attractions I took part in that felt worth it. Do not go to the glass museum. It’s not worth the price and calling it a museum is a stretch.
2. Pike Place is overrated
Perhaps it would’ve been worth visiting when Jeff Bezos threw a free concert on the roof for Amazon employees starring Katy Perry and rapper Lil Nas X who stayed at the same hotel as I did. Otherwise, it’s no more than a brick-road, oversized farmer’s market. Hills, hills, and more hills. It was okay but the crowds and the heat were not worth it. This reminds me, it doesn’t rain that much. The overall rainfall is less than average. It rains during the rainy season and it’s just enough to keep everything green. I experienced a pretty hot summer.
The hills of Seattle could put the landscape of San Francisco to shame.-Genevieve Rose
3. Tourist attractions will be crowded
All the ‘must-see’ Seattle spots are going to be packed with people and most of them are not worth the money. The glass museum is not a museum, Pike Place is no more than a giant farmer’s market, the Space Needle is worth it but space is hard to get during a visit to the top.
The ferry is worth the ride but Bainbridge Island is really just a small town. It felt a little like being on the set of Get Out. There’s good pizza at some Italian restaurant that starts with a ‘b’ and Mora has phenomenal ice cream, try the lavender.
Remember the silent blonde from the elevator? I saw him walking around in his bright blue jacket on the ferry we boarded. He was going to the same place we were. He could have offered directions. It did rain on the ferry and I was ecstatic. I got to ride the ferry in Seattle while it rained. How breakup episode starring McDreamy does that sound?
Not my Vibe
I don’t think Seattle is a horrible place. I think Seattle is a horrible place for me. I do not like the hurried pace of the city, which is strange because I didn’t feel the same when I was in New York. I truly disliked the grunge vibe of Seattle. People seemingly appeared from nowhere with something to prove. It had a dirty hipster feel that is not what I like. Having brunch at the Biscuit Bitch, a known breakfast/brunch place I would recommend, (I got the gluten-free easy bitch) I noticed that the overwhelming crowd carried the grunge vibe. The unkempt beards, traditional tattoos, vests, and hair tied in top-knots. I also witnessed a man come in near closing time and attempt to flirt with the cashier who was being as polite as possible because she would be leaving soon. He persisted and for some reason decided to tell her the individual prices of the jewelry he was wearing. Each piece was allegedly hundreds of dollars. Why in the world would someone do that? I love a man wearing a nice watch but making it a brag fest dulls the dazzle real quick.
“We’ll stop tweaking when you stop being addicted to that currency!” Shouted a bum as we passed on the sidewalk. It is true that the homeless are in your face in Seattle. They are aggressive. I don’t think he has a drug problem because other people have money but that’s Seattle for you. Other unhinged encounters occurred in the train station, nothing harmful happened, thank God but it was awkward. In that city, the only ones who seem to approach for conversation are the homeless. The ones who have homes choose to ignore.
“I just want to find a quiet place to sit and read,” growled a man looking nuttier than Bernie Sanders who boarded the elevator in the library with me. Please don’t make me have to fight you, man. He was hunched over with a pile of books, grumbling at the elevator buttons. We’re in a giant library, I thought, looking over at him. He didn’t look in my direction and I was glad. I was on my way to the very top.
“Here, on floor three, they have sitting rooms,” I said.
“People go in there and bother me on purpose!” He and his stack of books got off on a random floor. The door closed and I looked down at Teva.
“What the fuck?” I said, stretching the words out in shock. That instance was after I had been sitting on the first floor off to the side, collecting my things. A distance away in another single chair sat a bearded young man with a black bag on his lap, he was on the phone crying. He held up the phone as if it were on speaker.
“I’ll be okay,” he cried, “I’ll be okay.” My first thought was, what if he has a gun in that bag? Due to the Seattle Freeze, I had just experienced upon falling while entering, I didn’t think talking to him would help. This is exactly why there shouldn’t be the Seattle Freeze because people are apparently so depressed they’re crying in public.
I don’t think Seattle is a horrible place. I think Seattle is a horrible place for me. -Genevieve Rose
For fifteen years I’ve wanted to sit on the park bench that the Grey-Sloan Memorial doctors put their butts on when they have time to absorb the skyline. I also wanted to visit Meredith Grey’s house where the interns lived and Meredith walked out onto the lawn holding a bottle of tequila. I did both of those things and I could not have done them without my left-hand-man Teva. I could not have done what I call the ‘Seattle shuffle’ down the steep hill of a street. We did it, man! Dr. Grey would be proud. Thank you Dee Bodine Appelman for raising such a doggone good dog and thank you Canine Companions for Independence for perfecting the process.
Thanks for shuffling with me bug, love you always.