We lived in Seattle for five years, all of them happy. The plan was always to stay, and then, last year, the skyrocketing cost of living drove us out. Bemoaning this kind of change can make you feel better for a bit, but it’s ultimately unproductive. Housing markets and their knock-on effects are generally unpredictable by ordinary folk and about as tuneable as the weather. One of those signs that some parts of life are simply going to be out of reach, even if they feel like they’re already in hand.
So it goes, as Taylor Swift sang. Or maybe it was Billy Joel. Or Kurt Vonnegut, except he didn’t sing. He just ran a Saab dealership in West Barnstable, Massachusetts, in the 1950s, then wrote books that made a dent in how we see the ineffable ridiculousness of the human condition ... Read the full column on Hagerty.com:
Ah, Sam. You lived in the great Pacific Northwest too late (and in the wrong city) to have gotten the best of it. We moved to Vancouver, WA in 1986, before Amazon and Zillow et al., when the area was more Shangri-La than San Francisco North. We felt more kinship with Portland, OR (Seattle's little brother) than Seattle. When you got tired of the rain, you merely drove 60 miles up the Columbia to the high desert, where no rain got past the Cascades. For that matter, depending on the direction you chose, you could be at the ocean, in an old-growth rainforest, or high up on a mountain, in about an hour. The summers are the best I've ever experienced and (almost) compensated for the other 9 months. We haven't lived there for quite awhile (likewise economic exiles) but it still reasonates in my heart. Thanks for taking me back. Also, Vonnegut (and Heller) were among my favourite authors in my more formative years.
Great article and pause for reflection as we are currently in the process of moving from Seattle to Spokane, WA. We'll miss the rain . . . maybe not. But, there is something to be said for a semi-controlled slide around a country corner in the mist.
I learned how to drive in a hand-me-down, faded red '82 Mazda GLC hatchback as old as I was. 4-speed manual, no power steering. I spent a lot of time driving that car around the back roads of north-central Pennsylvania, seeing how fast I could take blind, wooded corners while the cows, horses, intermittent forests and future Trump supporters looked on. I loved how it felt having nothing between the car and my hands but a pure mechanical linkage. Probably not a surprise to anyone that I crashed that car. In a hurricane-turned-tropical storm that managed to dump enough rain on PA to get us out of school early. One of those blind, wooded corners turned out to have a small river running across the apex, so me and "Little Red" (as me and my friends called the car) or "The Open Wound" (as my dad called it) went sailing off the blacktop and down a short incline into a very large, thorny bush. I managed to disentangle myself, and walked shamefaced in the rain to knock on the door for the closest house. The owner kindly pulled my sad looking Mazda out of the bushes and back onto the road via the winch on his 2nd gen Ford Taurus. Yep, saved by a Ford Taurus. A Ford Taurus with a winch. It's central PA after all. The Mazda survived...barely. I drove it home, and for another few weeks. Eventually discovered (by braking hard on the highway and having the car dart out of lane with little regard for what my hands did on the wheel) that the frame was cracked. The Open Wound was soon replaced by a '94 Ford Escort, which ironically (because Escorts of the day were Mazda Protoge's in disguise) had exactly the same interior door handles. I still miss that car though.