Live in a town long enough, and it will change you.
I’ve been in Seattle for much of my life, and much like the family pet goat that once drenched my five-year-old self with urine, this town has left its mark on me (although often in much kinder, less urine-y ways).
For example …
After enough years on Seattle roadways, I now am physically unable to exceed the speed limit when I am behind the wheel. Not long ago I saw someone zipping past me on the freeway. The guy must have been going 63, 64 miles per hour, while I was cruising along at a perfectly reasonable 55.
“Maniac,” I muttered to myself. And then, for good measure, I shouted “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” though I do not know to which children I may have been referring.
Granted, the speed limit was 60 mph, but that’s just a suggestion. A suggestion for maniacs.
My town’s passivity has rubbed off on me as well, undoing any lessons I may have learned from my mother, a woman who is far from passive. Even when she’s asleep, her presence is deafening. “I AM HERE,” her metered breaths seem to shout, “AND I WAS WONDERING IF YOU WERE GOING TO EAT THAT.” In. Her. Sleep.
I, on the other hand, recently stood at the fish counter of my local grocery store for the better part of an afternoon, waiting for the two people in back to turn around and notice me.
I suppose I could have called out to them or cleared my throat loudly or something, but I’ll leave that sort of crazy, pushy, behavior to east coasters.
Besides, a mere seventeen minutes later I got my fish, thanks to another employee who didn’t even work in that section, but saw me standing there and felt pity on me.
But the most notable impact of living in Seattle all these years might have to be this: I am absolutely impervious to rain while on vacation. Granted, I realize that probably doesn’t sound all that impressive. But since it’s probably the closest thing I’ll ever have to a superpower, I’m sticking with it.
Rand and I first noticed that our reaction to rain was different than that of most during a trip down to Los Angeles last December. It the Friday before Christmas, and we were walking through an outdoor promenade type shopping thing. A light rain had been intermittently falling.
In Seattle, we’d call this sunshine. Or at the very least, “not rain.”
For most Angelenos, however, it was a clear sign of the end of days, as they immediately cleared out the area on what should have been a profoundly busy shopping day. I suspect the grocery stores, however, were packed with people buying flashlights and batteries and carton upon carton of corn nog in anticipation of forthcoming apocalypse.
It meant that we had our run of the place.
“I AM THE QUEEN OF THIS PROMENADE TYPE SHOPPING THING,” I shouted, running down the pedestrian-only street (seriously, what are these things called? We do not have them here in the northwest. Our malls have walls. And ceilings. And Cinnabons. AS THEY SHOULD.)
A few shopkeepers eyed us warily – we were the tornado chasers. Running around in the drizzle as though we felt nothing.
It was the same in Sydney. We’d had a week of sunshine in the Great Barrier Reef, and when we found Sydney cloaked in a blanket of grey clouds and drizzle, we merely laughed.
And then we set out to explore the city. We had some lovely company, too:
It turns out that anyone from the U.K. or Ireland seems to share our superpower. Take that, rain.