Feb 23, 2008

Seattle Freeze

I haven't written in a while, and while I'd like people to think it's because I'm busy, the truth is it's because I'm depressed beyond words. Blog entries written by people depressed beyond words probably are themselves depressing, so fair warning.

It's not the weather. The weather has been gorgeous. I've been lucky to have work at the best firm in town, and I love my apartment and I love Andy. Everything would be great if I had even one person I could call my friend.

The title of this post refers to an article that was published in the Seattle Times (and we all know I'm a big fan of the Seattle Times) talking about something called the Seattle Freeze. I read the article before I moved up here, and I sort of Pish-Poshed it. It seems silly, everyone in every city listens to headphones in coffeeshops. That's the entire basis of the iPod campaign. But since moving here, I've had people talk to me about the Seattle Freeze on numerous occasions, and one has to wonder if it's a chicken-egg situation, or if Julia Sommerfeld (who now writes for MSNBC. meh.) was actually onto something.

I've had people tell me "Seattle is a hard city" and "Seattle is impossible if you're in your mid to late 20s and not single." The later proved true during my first week at work, where what I thought was a potential friend ended up being just someone's search for some fresh company ink to dip into. Truthfully I felt pretty dejected about that though because I felt like we were connecting and then I realized we were connecting because one of us wanted to date the other and overall I just felt foolish.

But I tried again anyways. I went online and joined a book club through Craigslist. The listing called for women in their mid-20s and they were reading the Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time, which I own but hadn't finished. I read the book in 3 days in order to be ready to talk about it, and I baked a plate of cookies. But I discovered that the supposed book club was not actually about books. It was about socializing, and mainly centered around chatter about weddings, doggy day care, and babies/children. All things in which I have little experience or interest. Despite all that, I was optimistic. I listened and tried to contribute where I could, although with 15 women babbling about their weddings, there's not much room to contribute. I know that it takes time to connect, so I emailed the chairperson asking about the next meeting. And I didn't hear back. And then I looked on Craigslist and saw that the same group of people had put a new listing out.

How do you get rejected from a book club!?!

Other times the rejections are not so overt. Sometimes it's just a little pulling away, or closing an emotional door. If I had to make a statement about Seattle it's not that there is a social freeze. It's that the city is full of people who are trying to act like grown ups. Grown ups don't cry about their problems, they don't make scenes, they are tidy and responsible and they respect boundaries. Grown ups have a glass of wine with friends and chat about politics-lite and where they take their dry cleaning. But I want to talk about zombies and lichen and have adventures at 2am. So where does that leave me?

I know that friendship takes time, but I haven't felt a glimmer of connection with anyone here yet except for Andy's writing partner, and you can't have your only friend be your boyfriend's coworker.

I guess rejection will never feel good, but I feel like it's easier to bounce back from romantic rejection and tell yourself "he/she just wasn't the One" or "he/she is just blind" or "he/she was looking for someone to share their proclivity toward farm sex and I'm allergic to sheepskin." But what do you tell yourself when someone just doesn't want to be your friend? I know it's only been like a month, and I need to give it more time. But I feel helpless. I'm the type of person who tries her hardest at everything, and to that end I've tried my best to put myself out there in as many ways as possible in this short amount of time. But there's not much I can do to make people like me.

I honestly don't know what to do or what's wrong with me. I know I'm a quirky person, but so are all of my friends back home, and that's why I love them. Truthfully I don't think any of them are that much more quirky than average, they're just courageous enough to be open about it. I'm a little shy at first, and I'm hesitant to carry on about myself and my problems to people I don't know (that's what blogs are for), but I am always open to hearing about other people's problems. I don't like to push myself onto people, I think that friendship takes time and openness. But I think I am open to all people and all things, and if you are my friend you know that I love you fiercely and will go to the ends of the earth for you. I don't want to change or be someone I'm not and I don't think I should have to in order to be loved back.

And yet I am changing. Maybe the one thing is that I'm trying to act like a grown up too. It's a new experience and so far I'm not a fan. I'm excelling at my job, I buy organic, I read the newspaper which I then promptly recycle, I save money, I go to sleep at a near-reasonable time, I've stopped drinking because I feel it's rude to Andy, and I don't let myself be myself because I'm afraid of being the loudest person in the room. But I'm losing something in all this, and it scares me. I can't have my 2am adventures because at 2am I am asleep. And no one looks at the lichen with me so I walk past it. I don't think I like it. I know I don't like it. And I don't know what to do about it.

Feb 6, 2008

somehwere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

Never-before seen shots of Bendy's home in Seattle!

Our living room and doors to our kitchen

Desk/coffee table/dinner table with tripod/mini lamp in background.

Bass and sofa with stuffed animal foods and squishy panda pillow from my brother.

This is how you entertain yourself when you don't have internet access.

Toys on display on top of the Zenith Space Command. It's not HD, but it does have fake wood paneling.

Banana, our housecat. He's looking a little thin lately.

A Pantone kitchen says: designers are cookin' here

Bedside & $10 Goodwill dresser, eventually to be painted with green trim. Items to connect me to the people I love: Super bunny from Nicole, Mariners hat from Ben, BSG bag from Dorina, kitty slippers made by Cyndi

Photes of friends, bowl and Pisa statue from Jana.

Little islands of clutter here and there... Still a work in progress

Feb 3, 2008

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city

I have a new job! Or rather a new freelance assignment. It will last through the first week of March and pays me enough to keep me in all the $1 Starbucks coffee my little heart desires. Best yet, it is at a design firm whose work I have long admired and I am learning a great deal from some really talented creative people. I was unemployed in Seattle for a total of 5 days, for which I feel very fortunate. Of course when the assignment ends I might have weeks and weeks of unemployment, but for right now it is helping me adjust and meet new people.

Parking downtown costs about $16/day, so I have been riding the bus to work. It's a short 15 minute ride and costs about $1.50 each way. I think the experience of taking the bus makes me feel like a real grown up in a real city, but I suspect the novelty will wear off soon. It is comfortable to come home and make a little dinner for me and my roommate, chat with a few friends, and close out the evening with the Colbert Report. I feel all domesticated. But it's only been a week.

Weekends have been spent adventuring in such places as the landmark Seattle Central Library and the giant retail city of Tukwila. Poor Tukwila seems to exist purely as a location on the outskirts of metropolitan Seattle where cityfolks can drive a short distance to the giant Ikea, Ross, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Guitar Center and Westfield Shoppingtown, a shoppingtown within a shoppingtown. It's as though the city of Seattle has taken the garish landscaping that embodies the suburban strip mall and swept it under the carpet that is Tukwila. That way the neighborhoods of Belltown, Magnolia, Fremont, Queen Anne and Pioneer Square can stay as charming as their names might imply.

The best thing so far really has been our location within Lower Queen Anne and down the street from the Seattle Center. This is my first experience of living in the heart of a metropolitan area. I enjoy hearing the shouts of drunk people down the street. It's sort of similar to the feeling of being all cozy inside when it's raining outside, which I've also been enjoying a lot. We are like a 5 minute walk from two grocery stores, a really good thai food place, the local indie movie theater, a used book store, a pottery studio, a record store, the Key Area, Seattle International Film Festival Theater, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Experience Music Project, some crazy looking big top circus dinner theater place called Teatro ZinZanni and a bunch of bars and restaurants. It reminds me of visiting friends at Berkeley in that everything is walking distance and I am excited to go out and try it all.

The only drawback is that with so much to do, it's been difficult to find time to blog...

Enterprise Enterprise

Does not the logo of the Pita Pit bear a striking resemblance to the starship Enterprise? Is hummus therefore the final frontier?

Los Angeles Adventure

This post ins't really about Seattle at all, but how can I talk about where I am if I don't spend some time remembering where I've been?

Before departing LA for my new life in Seattle, I spent the month of December and early January seeing good friends and doing my favorite Los Angeles things, squirreling away fond memories of things and people I love like. During my last week there, my geek hero and punning role model Ben proposed a Los Angeles Adventure in downtown.

Ben is the nerdiest person I know other than myself. I am so glad we became friends because he makes me a better nerd. He is always up to dork-out, and he even lets me cuddle his cat.

So a plan was hatched to ride the metro and visit some classic LA spots: Olvera Street, Chinatown, Cliftons & the Observatory. Another famous nerd pal Cyndi came with us and together we set out to enjoy the multitude of quirky charms that downtown Los Angeles has to offer.

Some shark cigarette posters to start things off. I think the ride from Union Station to Chinatown, which is actually walking distance, completed the Metro portion of our adventure, sadly enough. Even when purposely using public transportation we couldn't manage it.

Lanterns in Chinatown. The Chinatown metro station also has a The feng shui compass which I failed to photograph. It had no informational plaque so we had no idea what it was, but when I stood on it the needle moved. I guess I'm magnetic.

The Chinatownland sign, which was apparently created in 2002 as an art installation.

Cyndi is attempting to act as the arms for this angel statue outside a boba place.

Moving to Olvera Street, which was eerily quiet, we grabbed a quick bite at the stall serving what's widely considered to be the best taquitos in LA.

Union Station at dusk from Olvera Street.

On to Clifton's. I had never been, so I took a lot of photos. One of my partners in ad school had written a series of headlines about Clifton's which really piqued my interest, so I was glad to finally see it in person.

Given the cafeteria-food menu, the colorful variety of desserts was the most appetizing looking area.

I ended up choosing the chicken and dumpling fricasee and strawberry dulce de leche cake.

With the silk flora, animatronic fauna and high dining perch, one can hardly help drawing a connection between Clifton's and Club 33. Similar and yet so opposite.

Gravy makes us giddy.

A transfat free zone.

The view from the street

Now only a blur

After Cliftons we had some mexican hot chocolate at Weeneez which was attached to the Red Dot gallery. Then we walked down the block and saw some amazing sculptures in a downtown hotel window.

After dropping Cyndi off at the Metro station, we headed over to Griffith Park for the final portion of the Adventure. I hadn't been to the Observatory since they remodeled it, and I was excited to see it before leaving.

The Foucault pendulum in the lobby is such a great opening exhibit. When the little peg fell down, it gave me such a sense of awe for the planet and the world. People applauded. Gravity took a bow. You might call it a latitude adjustment.

Ben and I made our way to the telescope on the roof, where we got an amazing view of the moon. But nothing could top Leonard Nimoy's narration in the introductory film for the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater.

My beloved home city. A perfect end for a great adventure.