Dear Uptight Seattleite, How the heck are we supposed to figure out when your column comes out? You're more irregular than my old poodle.Baffled
Dear Baffled, The essence of funk is the well-placed hesitation. And in my life as much as in my bass playing, I am given to a non-Eurocentric polyrhythm. Stick with me and a larger pattern may become clear. But my goal with this column is much more modest: to appear with more predictability than The M.F. Truth. But you're right that I've been even more "off beat" than usual lately. That's because I recently had a minor surgical procedure. It was no big deal, and I'm totally better now. My surgeon was a woman, which I didn't think twice about. And Asian, which I honestly didn't even notice. But an Asian woman wielding the scalpel of Western medicine on a Caucasian male does raise some fascinating issues. I'm talking male/female, dominant/submissive, penetrated/penetrator, knife/phallus. On my last follow-up visit I tried to explore this with her a little bit. Purely as matter of professional interest, of course. Maybe I overestimated her intellectual curiosity. At any rate, I thought calling security was a bit of an overreaction. Dear Uptight, I love this time of year because of all the yard sales. But sometimes I'll stop by a sale and immediately realize there's nothing but a stained old "World's Best Dad" mug, a dusty box of Auto World magazines, and Volume Two of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits. How soon can I leave without being rude?Smart Shopping Suzy
Dear Suzy, There are three basic kinds of yard sales. There's the kind held by people who're moving and have lots of stuff priced to move. One step down in quality is the kind held by people who are cleaning out their attic. You might find something good, but it's pretty hit-and-miss. Then there are the sales put on by the bored and the lonely. They don't have anything anyone would want to buy, but they need something to do. More than your money, they just want a little of your time. If you so much as glance at that stained old Playskool choo-choo, they're liable to launch into an account of their son who played with it back in the '70s, and how he lives in Denver now and has kids of his own and doesn't visit very often. If you want to escape, you could use the cover of someone else's arrival. Or you could pretend that you've got a cell-phone call and back away while smiling apologetically. That old guy in the lawn chair will be fine even if you can't spare a few minutes for a neighborly chat about the weather. Even if most of his friends have died off and he's got no plans for the rest of the day. But maybe it's more important for you to get to the post office before it closes. It's your call. Dear Uptight Seattleite, I am a new Seattle transplant and am having a hard time finding my niche here. I am a mostly conservative, gay 20-something male who grew up in Backwoods, Idaho. Is there a place for me here in Seattle, or should I keep moving on and forget about this city? I am trying to love Seattle, but I'm not sure it loves me.Nicheless Nick
Dear Nick, True, it can be hard to meet Seattleites, many of whom have a kind of stunned look about them. That's because they're so engrossed in their own inner dramas. For example, Steve-O (my bandmate in the Cool Uncles) looks kind of weak and distant at the moment due to the juice detox his vegan support group is doing this week. Another guy I know is currently unavailable for conversation because he's mentally rewriting his article for the Cascade Courier about this year's Seattle-to-Portland ride. That man who's been stirring his coffee for five minutes is absorbed in worry about his Amazon.com co-workers who've left to start their own company. Will they go bankrupt, or—even worse—become fabulously wealthy? And that woman staring out the bus window, she's preparing her response to the organic-yarn purists in her Stitch 'n' Bitch group. Whatever their various causes, the blank expressions of the populace may present to the newcomer a tall and featureless wall that bars all possibility of human contact. But the reason we're called the Emerald City, Nick, is because you already have what you seek. Just like the Scarecrow. Because people who complain about Seattle constitute the biggest and most inclusive niche of all. Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.