We’ve been living in the Seattle area now for over two weeks. I’ve tried the driving, the public transit, the bars, the Oktoberfest … I dare say I’m ready to make a preliminary comparison!
(And to all you nerds out there who want to point out that I grew up here and should already have known what Seattle was like, allow me to remind you that I moved away at the tender age of 17. Any impressions I might have made before then have long since been erased.)
So, here are a few of the things that are different:
Although I first learned to drive and got my license on the west side of the country, I’d say I really came into my own as a driver out in the DC area. This means that I learned how and when to lay on the horn. And I do. A lot.
I honk if someone takes more than a second to realize a light is green. I honk if someone isn’t really staying in their lane. I honk if someone is getting on the freeway at a dangerously low speed. I honk if someone is driving very slowly on a two-lane highway and ought to pull over to let the massive line of cars behind them pass. I even double-tap the horn to let someone know I’m leaving them space to merge in front of me.
Honking is just communication between drivers. It’s how we talk to each other. It is nothing to get upset about.
Sometimes it is even an accident.
Out here, honking is akin to firing a gun in the air – it is is a very aggressive move. Unless they are actually about to be in an accident, people do not honk. I remember one time in Virginia I had to honk at three different drivers on my way home from the Safeway a mile from our apartment:
(Okay, it might have been the same driver several times.)
Here, honking is so rare it probably makes your insurance go up.
Well, I guess they’re just going to have to get used to me.
North Face Jackets
In DC, North Face is pretty popular. You can see all kinds of people wearing it! Like, in situations like this:
Or even this:
In Seattle, North Face is even MORE popular. Especially in places like these:
Because North Face outerwear is considered regular clothing, appropriate for any and all occasions.
In DC, people are not passive aggressive. They’re just aggressive. So let’s say you parallel park in a busy neighborhood, unknowingly parked across two usual ‘parking spaces’ (which are not marked). This, of course, deprives someone else of the opportunity to park near their home. They would probably respond like so:
Out here, the same situation would be handled much more passive-aggressively.
Someone will write a note like this to put on your windshield:
... and then they will enclose the note in a Ziploc bag to protect it from the rain.
Because god forbid the ink should smear and become unreadable.
(this actually happened to my brother).
Goddamn lunatics, I swear.
I guess they don’t stand a chance at learning to zipper merge, do they?