I'm leaving you now, but I don't really want to. But I do. I mean, I guess what I'm saying is, you're an incredibly hard city to leave.
I'll miss your concerts and your KEXP and your free neighborhood music festivals all the glorious summer. I took my stepson to his very first concert (Alt-J!) here. I saw John Prine and Paul Simon and Joan Jett and the Black Keys and The National and the Decemberists here, plus lots of other acts on small stages all over the city, not to mention every summer for ten years what I danced to at the Ballard Seafood Fest. I love how you keep the dream of the 90s alive, Jet City. Please keep on rockin' it.
I'll miss your foodie culture, which infuses everything with everything else and makes sure it's all organic, free-range, unionized, shade-grown, free-trade, cruelty-free, and so on and so on. I've made fun of you for all this, but the truth is, I'm glad someone's policing our food for us. It really needed it! And my belly has been so happy here.
Speaking of my belly, I don't know what I'm gonna do without your late-night happy hours, and all those cleverly named drinks with ingredients I can't even pronounce. Now when I want a Judy Blooming with chamomile-infused vermouth and a laphroaig rinse at 10 pm, I'll have to trudge down to the kitchen and make it myself. Which means I'll be drinking milk and Pepsi from now on.
And your art! Your investigative, inquiring, whimsical, at times silly but rarely disappointing art. I just want to hunker down in that ship's hull piece tucked into the cleft of Olympic Sculpture Park and stay here forever, admiring all the pretty things Seattleites make with their hands. Oh, God. Now that I'm writing this down, I can't believe I'm leaving all this art! How will I cope in the land of scrimshaw and scrapbooking? I guess I'll just have to come back here every once in a while and meditate in Light Reign.
While I'm on the culture train here, let me just say that I will pine for your live theater scene. Some of the best performances I've ever witnessed happened at the Seattle Rep, ACT Theater, and all those lovely little neighborhood theaters, Ghost Light Theatricals, the Green Lake Bathhouse, and Theater Off Jackson... Only you know how much I want to be a playwright when I grow up.
Glimpses of the water from any angle anywhere in Seattle. The sounds of seagulls and ship horns. That briny smell. It's in my bones.
The friendships you've given me. They know who they are and that they have an open invitation to visit me anytime. They're of course encouraged to bring you, Seattle, with them.
I'll miss your "openness within reason" attitude. You're a city in which anything goes, as long as no one gets hurt. I've felt safe to write whatever I want, to carry on as a middle-aged single person without kids, and to get married and worship God the way I want here. And I thank you for that.
Seattle, I've been happier here for the past ten years than I've been anywhere else in my life. And I've lived in a lot of places. While Tacoma keeps trying, you don't have to try; you just are. You care much more for your environment than Miami does. And while you certainly don't have to encounter the nuances of racism in the same way the average St. Louisan must, you're far more racially tolerant, on balance. And unlike the suburbs of my vast American military childhood, you have so much THERE there.
I would totally stay in you if it were possible for me to have both you and a comfortable retirement. But you see, you're making me choose. And that's not fair. In my new small town, I bought a house (a house! with a yard!) for a fraction of the price of one of your micro condos. I'm just sayin'.
Now I'm going to ask you to do something I know will be hard, especially since I don't believe in them. Can we try a long-distance relationship? I promise I'll commit to making it work. I really love you. I do.
P.S. I know you're uncomfortable with the fact that I'll be just as close now to Portland as I am to you, Seattle, but I promise there's no reason to get jealous. Portland ain't got nothin' on you. Don't give me that "Powell's Book Store" look. You know I love you.