'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Monday, February 11, 2008

State of the AmLeft Union: I'm not dead yet -- (but I do frequently accidently refer to Puget Sound as "the river") 

Hey, this is Joe, the guy who founded this blog.

Obviously I haven't been around much lately. I even missed posting a bloggiversary message on December 8th (FOUR YEARS, BABY! -- I think this blog has lasted longer than George magazine). So, first off, to new readers who don't know who the hell I am, I'd like to say, "Hello and thank you! How's it going!? -- I like Richard too!"

Okay, now that were all introduced ... here's the deal with me. I'm not dead; I just had a slightly early midlife crisis and have moved to Seattle. I'm writing software for a bigshot tech company and am trying "to be successful" or something.

Seattle is my new home. Seattle is lots of things. Seattle is this: the people in the fictional universe of J.Crew catalogs get together and found a city; that's Seattle. Yes, I keep on saying this, but I keep on saying it because it is true: the girls wear puffy down-filled vest things indoors like the entire city is a gigantic ski lodge! And maybe it is ... maybe it's the skiing thing that makes these people so uptight about jaywalking because, lord knows, they are. One would imagine it would be a really big faux pas to jaywalk on a ski slope. I don't really know, but I do know that everyone here is very seriously concerned about the crime of jaywalking -- one has to wait at the Don't Walk signs or risk being ostracized socially.

The North and the West are just somehow more gigantic than the East. The East is about the indoors and playing Scrabble and this place is about the outdoors and taking your golden retriever to the dog park. The sun is tiny here. The sun appears as small and distant as one imagines it would appear on Mars or in Vancouver; it doesn't climb up high enough in the sky. It doesn't know that it is supposed to go all the way up. It's like the sun in that Ray Bradbury short story, "All Summer in a Day" At noon it will be in front of you, not above you -- one always has a shadow in Seattle. The Ray Bradbury story is set on a future Venus colonized by "rocket men and women who [have] come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives" and, you know, I can kind of relate.

Also every single person in the entire city apparently writes software which makes conversations in bars easy but boring -- and there's something odd about the bars. I can't put my finger on it, but it's like each bar doesn't realize that it is supposed to pretend to be menacing at first -- the bartenders are friendly and chatty right off the bat, which ruins the sport of being a stranger getting drunk in a strange town.

Also, these people apparently don't know how to make bagels correctly -- which is rather sad given all the salmon.

Anyway, if there are American Leftist readers in the area please leave a comment or send me an email. I'm going to be living in a loft near Pioneer Square and, like Dr. Zoidberg, am always up for whatever.

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