Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The meaning of everyone else's life

** Disclaimer ** It's not really my intention to slam anyone in this post. I am simply voicing my opinion. I would like to go on record by saying that what one person deems to be their American dream, another person may not. That's what makes this country great.

Sometimes I lie in bed, in the moments before sleep takes me to the whacked-out dreamland of my psyche, and wonder about the meaning of life. What's it all about? Where am I going? Is this really all there is? Am I meant for something meaningful and gigantic? Have I made the right decisions in my life, and am I heading in the right direction?

Saturday morning I packed an overnight bag and hit the road north, to Seattle. It's about a three-hour drive, provided you don't constantly stop to pee or hunt down coffee. My destination was my great friend Rebecca's home that she shares with her husband John and her two young boys. The drive was great (I overdid the coffee thing though and had the shakes by the time I actually arrived, which is to be expected in such a situation), as were her directions, and I arrived around noon at her mid-century modern house on the northeast side of Seattle. She has a great home with a fabulous view of Puget Sound and Bainbridge Island. The occasion was, more or less, to attend her brother's birthday party, but mostly it was to get my happy ass up to Seattle and visit her for God's sake, I haven't been to one of her homes in years and I was maid of honor in her wedding. Make an effort.

Anyway it was a great little getaway; we talked away the afternoon, took a little sightseeing drive, explored a neighborhood, had some more coffee. The party came off without a hitch (it was a surprise party) for the most part and a good time was had by all. Sunday morning I got up, had breakfast, and left around 11:15 or so. Home by 2:30, napping by 3:30. It was a really nice weekend.

Except for the one thing that has been bothering me a little bit since then.

Every time I sat down to blog about the weekend, one thing kept bugging me, kept creeping into my mind. I didn't want to blog until I figured out how to get around that little niggling without actually offending someone. Hence the disclaimer. I'm not slamming anyone, I'm just giving you my observation.

And that observation is this: OH MY HELL I'm glad I did not ever have designs to get married, have a couple of kids, get a job at Microsoft and live in Seattle. Seriously, those people are all the same! Look the same, talk the same, dress the same, have the same house (this is how you know I am not talking about you, Rebecca), drive the same cars, have the same hobbies, have the same LIFE. They were nice enough people but for God's sake!

I've often thought that the people that move to Seattle or even Portland for that matter from some other part of the country all have this idealized dream of what it is like to live in the Pacific Northwest. It's all backpacking and recycling and taking mass transit and telling everyone they don't watch TV. It's like moving here will somehow make you instantly hip. Or envied by everyone else in Iowa. Or something. Then you get your dream job in some high tech cubie and buy your Subaru and meet the coworker of your dreams and buy a house on a postage-stamp sized lot on top of everyone else in some cool or soon-to-be-cool neighborhood and then the kids come and you suddenly find yourself sitting at your laptop in any coffee shop that ISN'T Starbucks and talking about "Slumdog Millionaire" at parties filled with the same people as you. The same. As. You. Boring the natives to tears.

I've never liked the state of Washington, for obvious reasons (obvious to me, but some of you 17 may not realize that the University of Washington is in Washington and being a Duck, I hate that place and everything it represents), but I've given Seattle enough opportunities to prove to me it's not a bad place to visit. I've seen the Tribe play at Safeco Field, I've seen the Browns play at whatever the hell they call their football stadium. I've watched seaplanes land on Lake Union and I've been chased around a club at closing time by a bouncer who really wanted me to put down my drink. It's fine, it's a city that's bigger than Portland, is kind of like Portland, but isn't Portland. It just isn't Mecca. Somebody needs to tell these recent college grads that.

Here's the thing - living in a city that people from other parts of the country think is cool and working at a company that is so huge that nobody knows anybody else that works there outside of their own department and doing all the things this ideal seems to make you think you WANT, well, that's just not being yourself. I cannot imagine thinking that being just like 10,000 other people would be appealing. Definitely not something to aspire to.

So where do I fit in all of this? I realized after my little getaway, which really was a good time, that I am glad that I live here, believe it or not, in Beaverton, where if people are trying to be something they are not, then I don't have to see it. I'm glad I wasn't raised with the mentality that there are things you have to do, like get married and have kids. I'm glad that I am a free spirit, even if my spirit isn't as free as it used to be. I'm thrilled that I can totally be MYSELF at work, that I can swear and slam phones around and voice my opinion and laugh REALLY REALLY LOUD and not know enough about the computer system. That I can go home and chill on my sofa with my kittens and watch America's Next Top Model reruns and nap and not feel guilty that I'm not out riding my bike on a trail in the rain or shopping at Whole Foods and buying soy milk and the protein-bar-du-jour. Most of all I am grateful that I am me living my life and doing my thing.

So that's it. Every day, living and learning a new thing. What a great country.


At 11:43 PM, March 03, 2009, Anonymous Adventure blog said...

I resemble that post... But I guess down in white bread beaver town you have your own uniqueness... I just can't imagine which strip mall to find it at.

At least that is what Hula Betty said. Ha ha ha...

At 9:52 AM, March 04, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I simply MUST say...Adventure Blog's comments are HYSTERICAL! I live in Beaverton too and...TOUCHE!

Joycie - your blog is hysterical. I was glad to read it. Just remember that, if you are curbing your comments on your blog to avoid offinding your readers, you aren't being true to your readers either. We tune in to learn more about you and your quirky and sometimes insensitive thoughts and observations. That's what makes it great!

Anyway, coming from somebody who is FROM Seattle, your comments totally cracked me up! (GOD FORBID you should get coffee from Starbucks! You could honestly implode!)

Well, I have had my belly laugh for the day. Thank you.

Becky H.

At 12:51 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger My Way said...

Seattle kinda sounds like....Vancouver.

It can be annoying right? People thumbing their noses at you because you use Splenda instead of honey.

Fuck off. You aren't better than anyone.

(not you fuck off you get me i know you do)

At 2:43 PM, March 04, 2009, Blogger Prodigal daughter / sister / friend said...

I just finished a novel called Millenium People by JG Ballard. It's about protests and wannabe revolution in Chelsea, London, when people realise their middle class lives have no meaning. So if that were to happen in the US, you've pretty much convinced me that it would start in Seattle ;o)

At 7:44 AM, March 06, 2009, Anonymous RiverGirl said...

I totally know what you mean. I feel the same way about Boulder, CO. It's like everyone there drank the same kool-aid, they all think Boulder is the center of universe, they all think they are saving the world by recycling (even tho they have a big house and a big car and use way more resources that they need).

I felt the same group think thing in Seattle. Let's all do the same thing and live the same life and be proud of how unique we are...or something.

At 8:56 AM, March 07, 2009, Anonymous Jackie said...

Too funny! I like Seattle for short visits. When I was asked a couple years ago to move up there to take over a job I told the director " I luv ya Kim but even for you I wouldn't move to Seattle".

At 2:47 PM, March 07, 2009, Blogger Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Too funny. I miss Portland & Beaverton & Hillsboro. Seattle, not so much but it was cool enough--- for the weekend.


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