I grew up in the city, only at the time, Seattle was merely considered a large town. Cities were places like Los Angeles and New York City.
Seattle was big enough to have lots of areas to explore, but small enough to safely travel around alone, even as a kid. I walked a lot in those days, and when it was too far, I took the city bus, including to go downtown. I had no fears of catching the bus at midnight to come home from work, just a block away from the hookers and pimps. No one ever bothered me even I walked 10 blocks home from the bus stop in the middle of the night.
It’s been 20 years since I moved away from the north end of the city, and the city I once knew is gone. All of my friends who still live there, lament of loss of the town we all grew up in. Seattle born natives are becoming harder and harder to find. The old neighborhoods are changing, unrecognizable from they way they were way back then. Three years ago I went for short visit of five days and drove around my old stomping grounds and almost didn’t recognize them as Northgate and Wedgwood. Lake City looked vaguely familiar, but it was different with only a few of the landmarks still around.
Now I live in a tiny town in the northwest corner of the state. And while our tiny town is growing, almost too quickly, it still is small. But it’s becoming too gentrified, with rich people moving in from out of state, just like it is in Seattle. Change is inevitable; I understand that. But it is changing quickly, and 20 years is too fast, and that makes it uncomfortable.
And yet, with all of those negatives, I want to move back to the city. And not live in the suburbs like I did before, but to reside right smack dab in the middle of downtown; in the dirty and gritty Pioneer Square or in SoDo, in a big gleaming high rise condo. I’ve always lived in a house, usually in the country. But now I want to be in the hustle and bustle of the city, with it’s night lights and noisy sounds of shuffling feet and car horns, and raindrops spattering on the concrete. I want a condo with lots of large windows looking down at the city lights, an industrial styled condo filled with midcentury modern furniture.
I want to be close to the theater, to movies, to the football and baseball stadiums, to museums and art galleries and all night bistros and restaurants that deliver food at midnight. I want to go out to a late night breakfast at 2am such as 13 Coins or Beth’s Cafe. I want to go to the ballet and symphony. I want to shop at clothing stores that have dresses in my size and to sit down to try on a pair of shoes that fit perfectly. All of the things that are not available when you live in the sticks, and 15 miles out from the tiny town.
The cost of living in Seattle has risen very quickly, to the point that I can no longer afford to live there. My second choice would be San Francisco, which is even more expensive. So I will stay in my tiny little town where the tallest building is maybe three stories at the most, and just imagine and fantasize about what it would be like to live in the high rise of my dreams.