Ask an Uptight Seattleite

Is it still cool to dress like a dirtball?

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

OK, so Seattle is a "world-class city," but I've seen better kempt people in Little Rock. I'm from Boston where people actually take care of themselves and try to look nice. In this city I have a hard time sorting out the homeless from the clueless. Are you people still living in the early '90s when it was cool to look like a dirtball?

Mr. Clean

Dear Mr. Clean,

You are correct that the look of the average Seattleite would be improved with the addition of a Boston Red Sox cap. Preferably with the bill all mashed in. Ha ha. Just a little joke there. Some people think I have no sense of humor. That is not the case. I am able to laugh at myself at regular intervals, and I offer my joke in the hope that you are enabled in a similar fashion.

All joking aside, you might consider that, though you have relocated to the Northwest, you perhaps have yet to abandon the money-centric and status-conscious ways of the East Coast in favor of our more "laid-back" approach. No offense is intended here. I offer this only as a neutral observation.

The point is, there has been a quiet sort of evolution here in Seattle among some of us. "We are peaceful, loving people, and we're singing, singing for our lives," as Holly Near once put it. I'm not saying that we who choose to focus on more important things are better in any way than those who follow passing trends, or that you yourself are superficial for your obsession with appearances. But for me, plain ol' microfiber is just fine, thank you very much. Live simply that others may simply live, that's what I say.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

Why are off-leash dog areas—fenced off, filled with feces, denuded of all vegetation—perfectly okay, but people pitch a hissy fit when we try to build a few lighted fields for kids to play soccer at Magnuson Park? Why is it easier to find a bakery for dogs in this town than a basketball court? In short, what's with the neurotic attachment Seattleites have to their dogs, which are apparently more valued than actual human children?

Not a Dog Hater, But Still

Dear Hater,

Are you referring to Kunio, my petit basset griffon Vendéen? Yes, he is a good- looking fellow, isn't he? The breed is known for their rustic wiry coats and whiskery faces. He can be willful, but I think that's part of the—Kunio, you stop that barking, you stop it you big silly boy you! Who's my sugar booger? Who's my sweetie? You are! You are! What a good boy you are! Lemme rub your tummy! Wubby wubby wubby! You love that don't you? Oh yes you do! Oh yes you do!

Sorry, he's a little wound up from his class this morning, "Beyond Obedience: A Whole-Dog Approach to Wellness." He also had kind of a rough week in doggy day care. The regular girl was out and there was a substitute attendant who, and I hate to say this, because I'm sure she was doing her best, isn't quite as attentive to Kunio's special needs. He's very sociable, but he needs someone who really "gets him," you know? So he needed an extra special little dose of love when he got home. Didn't you boy? Didn't you need a little extra wovey wove when you wot wome? Oh yes you did! Oh yes you did!

Dear Uptight Seattlelite,

What's up with looking down on the Eastside? It seems like the farther east people live, the less we think of them, until Idaho, where our regard hits rock bottom. From what I can tell, most Seattleites don't even know that much about the Eastside. So why do we think we're better than them?

Occasional Eastside Visitor

Dear Visitor,

Not sure I'm able to completely go along with your evaluation of how we Seattleites view the Eastside. I myself don't judge. Does the typical Eastsider have a somewhat more consumerist approach to his or her lifestyles than, for example, I do? Do Eastsiders poison the air with their enormous herds of SUVs charging from one mall to the next? Do they bow their big blond hair and orange, tanning-salon faces to a bigoted God in sterile, climate- controlled churches the size of the Boeing factory? Do they vote for fascists? Maybe, I don't know. Like I said, I don't judge.

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