Why You Should Think Twice About Moving to Seattle

David Volk
January 6, 2017
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So, you’re thinking of moving to Seattle?

Perhaps it’s because of that beautiful, sunny weekend you spent here last summer or the great things you’ve heard about the city from your friends who work at Amazon.com.

But don’t kid yourself. All this hiking, biking, skiing and liberal tolerance may look great from the outside, but there are a few things you should know before you make like Fievel and “Go West”:

It’s Called Rain City USA For a Reason

You wouldn’t be the first to be seduced into moving here based on a mid-summer visit. It’s beautiful, it’s green and people are recreating their brains out, but it isn’t always that way.

Summer and fall give way to a steady, grey soul-sucking drizzle that runs from late November through early March. And mid-winter daylight only lasts from around 11am to 2pm.

On the plus side, nice days seem so much more precious. In between rare sun breaks there are a few key ways to cope. Many people try light therapy boxes, some seek refuge in brightly lit coffee houses, less hearty souls move away. Another option? Invest in Gore-tex and embrace the rain.

Remember, umbrellas are for sissies.

The Weather May Improve, But the Chill Lasts All Year Long

Seattleites may seem friendly, but we have our limits. Unlike Southerners or Midwesterners, we don’t typically invite people we don’t know into our homes, which makes getting to know you difficult. Whatever you do, don’t even think of popping by unannounced for a visit. We hate that.

Fortunately, there are some easy fixes. Join a professional organization, alumni association or even (gasp) a church (we’re really not all that big on religion here) where you have an instant connection and you’ll make friends quickly. You can also befriend and help every newcomer that you meet (and there are plenty arriving every day). Before you know it, you’ll have so many friends you won’t even care if we become your friends. Which is exactly when we’ll become intrigued and want to be your friend, too.

You Can’t Get There From Here

TomTom, the GPS service, has rated our evening commute the second worst in the country, and the rest of the day isn’t much better. Our roads clog up for the oddest reasons or no reason at all. In the last year alone, we’ve had one truck turn over and spill tons of salmon on US 99 and another semi let loose millions of bees right on Interstate 5 before rush hour. Even on a good day, it’s not pretty.

Thankfully, you can get by without a car here. There are buses, trains, Uber and Lyft. And when you really need a car, there are sharing services like Zipcar and Cars2Go. If you must drive, leave much earlier than might seem reasonable—like sometime during the Reagan administration– and you might reach your destination on time.

Be forewarned, we don’t know how to drive in rain, darkness, light, fog or clear weather. We’re also so notorious for camping out in the fast lane that the State Patrol now issues tickets for the practice.

If you can’t stay off the roads, bring your sense of humor and a dozen podcasts along. And make sure your insurance is paid up.

We’re Irony Deficient

We love to laugh, but only if the joke is politically correct. If the punch line comes at the expense of an endangered species, a disadvantaged group or some little-known subculture, we will not be amused. Besides, sarcasm is so. . . confrontational. And we’re too embarrassed to tell you we don’t like that.

Alas, there appears to be no cure for our sarcasm chasm other than frequent trips to New York City where it’s manufactured daily. Or you could adopt native colorings and make fun of conservatives. It’s always open season on them.

Or Californians.