Hello dear reader(s)!
Today is a monumental day in the house o’ Josh! For the first time in a little less than 3 years, we are having a barbecue! We’re still not totally unpacked yet, but wanted to take a break and have fun with some friends now that we are in a town where we actually have some. I am a barbecue aficionado. Actually, today we will just be grilling, but I prefer barbecuing. People from the South can explain the difference if you don’t know it. The funny thing is though, the modern definition of barbecue, being different from grilling is actually different from the origin of the word. The original practice the word comes from, is more like grilling than barbecuing. But hey, since barbecue tastes so damn good, I will let that be called whatever people want, without any know-it-all correction. Anyway, today we’re grilling, to have some actual friends over! I would like to invite all of you, but I know none of you live near me, besides, I don’t have that much food.
Besides the good ol’ barbecue, there are so many great things about being back in this town. The only things I really miss about Seattle so far is my mom and the moisture. Here is what is great about being back in my hometown:
- I can drive! I could drive in Seattle too, once I was able to walk and have equilibrium again, but you really couldn’t call that driving. I am consistently finding myself pushing about 20 over the speed limit now because I am uninhibited by traffic. I missed driving. No constantly yelling at other drivers for almost coming into my lane without checking, no wondering why we are bumper to bumper for hours!
- Kids play outside. Yesterday we saw a little toddler riding his mini-big wheel down the very same sidewalk I used to ride my big wheel. On the street I lived on in Seattle, it was too busy for any kids to play. When I lived here last, the neighborhood was mostly drug dealers and gangsters with a few hold-outs. Now there has been a return of families and people who actually care.
- Less expensive food. We finally got to the grocery store yesterday, and spent about 1/3 of what we would have in Seattle for half as many groceries. That isn’t an exaggeration. Seattle is quickly becoming a wealthy people’s city. Given how much food is produced in Washington, and how little is produced where I live, there is really no justification for the higher food prices. They are basically charging what people are willing to pay. For food. Capitalism at its finest, the poor be damned.
- Friendly people. Everyone I have run into so far is genuinely friendly, not Seattle fake friendly that disappears once you get past “Hello”. Except for the cashier at the grocery store yesterday. She was being a (expletive deleted) and should not work in a customer facing environment. Excuuuuuuuse me that your debit card machine is different from every other store’s debit card machine and I swiped it too early. God, what an offense to all that is good and righteous. You’d have thought I murdered a baby in front of her.
- Quiet. It took me a bit to adjust, but wow can I sleep at night now. If I were up for going out all the time, I might get bored, but since I haven’t felt up for really going out in a couple of years, I love the quiet.
- Diversity. Wha??? A small, redneck town more diverse than Seattle? Yes. Honestly. The first time I lived in Seattle it was a lot more diverse than here, but going back, only rich, white tech workers and some hold-outs who are struggling get to live in Seattle proper. The tripling of rents in the past year has pushed most everyone else out of the city. If my mom didn’t buy her condominium at the very low point of the housing market, she likely wouldn’t be able to live there anymore either. Here, there is a large Hispanic population, and, despite what Fox News wants you to believe, they are not all gangsters and thugs. In fact, most of the gangsters that did live here the last time I lived here have either grown up, or moved somewhere else. Now there are just hard-working people, trying to rebuild a city that was circling the drain at one point. The neighborhood that I lived in before and have returned to has seen a serious rebirth. Not because people are wealthier, but because people care. It is awesome.
- Humility. One great thing about living in an area with a lower median income, is that not everyone you run into is a total fucking snob. I really hate to generalize, there were, of course, people in Seattle who weren’t snobs, but there was a chance you would run into them on a daily basis if you left home at all. People here are not necessarily trying to show off the latest gadget or the newest thing. They can’t. They take what they have and make the best out of it. And then they seem to appreciate the more important things in life. Of course, this is just an observation based on a few days living back in the neighborhood, but it really seems to be the case. I’m sure everyone wishes they weren’t struggling quite as much, but the need for opulence doesn’t seem to be there.
Basically, what I seem to think, is that smaller, less wealthy living suits me. I have my few luxuries, like my little chromebook, my TV, my Jeep, and a barbecue; but I don’t want much more than this. I don’t want to be around people who want much more than this. It isn’t as if they are bad people, I just tend to appreciate those with priorities set away from material things. Let me afford my utilities, groceries, rent, healthcare, and an occasional barbecue, and I think I’ll be just fine.