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6-month status report

In a few hours from now, it’ll be six months since I pulled into town. It’s a strange thing to think about because even though I came here with the intention of moving and staying in a new place, a large part of me is surprised that I’m still here. A long-running theme that predates coming here is my battle with indecisiveness, so maybe that is what’s at play when it comes to those thoughts. The best thing to do is just remind myself that I’m here now, that it has been far smoother than I had expected, and to relax.

But six months seems like enough time to settle into a way of living and do a little silly comparison: my Seattle life versus my California life. In California, I was roughly 20-25 miles south of Riverside, so trips to the coast or Los Angeles (or beyond) were few and far between. In Seattle, I’m walking distance from downtown and driving distance from most other things. This may color things entirely in one way or the other. Anyway:

Weather: as a youngster, I remember Riverside County having actual seasons, with leaves turning colors in the autumn and getting a cold nose and ears if you were outside in the winter. In the last 10-15 years, it seems to be six-ish weeks of winter, nine months of summer, and the rest is a complete toss-up. It also became excessively dry, which is a given with extended drought periods. But as someone that very much does not enjoy a desert climate, going outside any time between sunrise and sunset became something I did less and less. The occasional beach day if I felt like making the hour-plus drive, or a trip to a park, but beyond that? No thanks, close the curtains.

So far in Seattle I’ve experienced fall, winter, and spring. Summer is a few days off and I’m not looking forward to it, but even if it’s hot, water is nearby on both sides of me and that is somehow comforting. I know a park that is about fifteen minutes or so from here that goes right down to a lake, so if things get too bad, there is relief. The other seasons were all wonderful aside from a couple of snow days, including Christmas. Though, walking down an empty Broadway at ~6 am on Christmas morning in search of food while everything was still covered in snow, was a pretty cool experience.

But unless the summer decides to somehow cause me to burst into flames like the Terminator 2 nuke dream sequence, Seattle is a clear winner here. I know some people hate rain and clouds and love the piss out of a dry desert climate, but that is 100% not me. Good days in CA were very nice and getting to sleep with the windows open was a rare treat, but I devoted too much thought to escaping the elements there in recent years.

Work: I work the same kind of work, overnight stuff, and truth be told, that isn’t great regardless of where you’re doing it. It’s physically exhausting, it’s hard to find good people to work with who don’t burn out after a short period, and it has made sleep a constant point of struggle in my life. But my current managers approve of the job I do and are quick to shower me with more hours than I’d like, so as far as consistent earning in what is considered a part-time position goes, I’ve definitely had it worse. Also, they pushed through a promised 30% raise not long after I got here, so that let me know their word was good. My old spot in CA was easier work-wise, but made less, worked fewer hours, and also had a drive of 30+ miles each way. My drive now is roughly 3 miles each way, which saves me time every day and gas money overall. Can’t complain about most of it. I just wish I knew how to work with my brain and not my back, but maybe that’s a future change. For now, I’m good.

Food: One thing I kind of dislike about Seattle is the lack of fast food spots around the downtown area. You can get Subway, and you can get McDonald’s, but I don’t eat McDonald’s and don’t always want a giant sandwich. I understand that small non-chain restaurants are around and are generally good, as most places I’ve tried have been. But sometimes it’s 2:30 in the morning and you want four tacos and a shake. Tough nuts, buddy. Seattle, despite being a big ass city, basically closes around 11. There are some 24-hour places further out in the seedier parts of the area, but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted Wendy’s bad enough to risk getting a screwdriver in the neck while I sit at a drive-thru. Also, there’s no In-N-Out. Also, there’s *a* Del Taco, and it’s like 20 miles away. I made the drive once because I was in dire need of some Del Taco. But maybe the cost of business is too high to be Del Taco in Seattle proper? I have no idea. I just know that this is a very specific sticking point with only me and 99% of other people would not care at all. When you find yourself out of the city in places like Federal Way or Bellevue, there are more garbage fast food options, and I approve. I just don’t like driving a long way to get it.

Back in CA, I lived roughly 1 mile from a Del Taco and knew about ten 24-hour places that could appease my cravings if they arose. I was far from things like art and the beach and other people, but by gum, I could get my $15 of fast food and come eat it at home before it got cold. I do legitimately miss that. Oh yeah – CA also had Miguel’s Jr, which, when I go home to visit, I’m stopping there on the way from the airport. One day up here, I looked up the nearest Miguel’s Jr on their website… only 1200 miles from here.

As far as actual grocery shopping goes, there are tons of options and I feel like there might actually be more grocery stores here than there were in my area. I know of four Safeways and I think five QFCs within a small radius from here. The Capitol Hill QFC is the best grocery store here, but I can generally find what I want or a close equivalent at any place I find myself. All told, I keep myself fed. So it must not be too bad.

Location: Different people want different things, depending on where they are. In CA, I lived in a house that was roughly between Los Angeles and San Diego. It was also about 35 miles inland if you believe google maps, which doesn’t sound too bad for beach trips, until you take into account the big-ass line of mountains that isolate the beach cities from everything east of there, turning that 35 miles into more like 50-60 and possibly more if you desired a specific beach up or down the coast. For immediate needs like groceries or medical attention, it was good. The neighborhood was also fairly quiet except for one house which is apparently now a frequent target of police raids, which is of surprise to zero people in the neighborhood. The house had a driveway and garage, a laundry room, yards to maintain, and was just a good old house. It just happened to be far from anything you wanted to do offline, with no really good parks or recreation-type places around. But for someone that was inside hiding from the sun and playing old Super Nintendo roms, it was a-okay.

Where I’m at in Seattle is roughly one mile from the international district and going by the google definition of downtown, I’m an 0.2 mile walk away (it’s further than that). The building I live in is fairly new and while it doesn’t have everything I’d like, it’s adequate. I can eat, poop, hose off, and sleep. Don’t need much more than that. There have been quiet people here and noisy people, but it seems like the noisy people get kicked out quickly, so no complaints here. It’s not a big place, but if I had too much more, I’d feel like it was excessive for my needs. The internet works despite some iffy upload speeds, but it’s also included with the other utilities, which are included with the rent. So for a guy trying to lead a very small existence, it is almost ideal. I can walk to Lish’s place too, which is always a good chance to get out and take pictures of buildings and things. The only real negatives I’d say are that the stove is in another building and for community use, which I’m super not into because I don’t trust other people and their housekeeping habits, especially on things I’m going to use for cooking. Also I’m not huge on the whole laundry thing of needing an endless supply of quarters and hoping everyone actually took out their laundry from the machines when they finished (rarely the case here), but I’ve found that late-night/early-morning laundry times tend to result in more empty machines. So I make it work.

Transit: I mentioned living far from things in CA. This is true, and CA is already spread out enough that you kind of need a car. There’s a rail system but it isn’t great as far as stops go, and you can still end up miles from where you’re trying to be, so you need a bus and a rail, and it’s just more than I am willing to deal with. I’d rather bite the bullet on gas prices and have more control over my travel experience. For the most part, driving for me has always been something I actively dislike, but going to work at night and home in the morning is always opposite of the usual traffic flow, so that can be nice. But, leaving my house any time after about 5:30 am meant planning a route; the one freeway going north and south was bad going both directions, but this meant many people took side streets to avoid the freeways, making the side streets a nightmare as well. All of this is just to reach the other freeways that actually go somewhere you want to go, which are also their own special blend of hell. One of the last days I was in CA, I went to visit a friend roughly 55 miles away and it took almost three hours to get there, and that’s despite taking a toll road that was supposed to make for a smoother trip. The true answer to easing Inland Empire traffic into Orange County involves making a path through the mountains… similar to the 74/Ortega Hwy, but it’s supposed to be a giant tunnel through the actual mountains. But, I’ve heard about that for at least 20 years, so it’s safe to say that if it ever does happen, I’ll be dead by then. Or living up here so it won’t matter anyway? Anyway, traffic at night was nice, in the morning, the road is slowly sucking your life away. But when you do get where you’re going, it’s easy enough to find parking and get on with your day.

Freeways in WA seem fairly good for the most part. The 5 has its trouble spots, but as the main way to get into Seattle, this makes sense. Same goes for the two bridges that cross the water to the east of here, in the morning they are rough coming into town, and likely are the same going out of town at night. But getting around is easy enough in the city, as everything is super dense. Not just in a car, though going downtown in a car might be the worst way to do it? I like going on foot to see things, but there is a pretty great light rail that runs the entire length from the airport to the college, there are about infinity-plus-one buses around, and you’re never super far from anything anyway. For more on that, refer to my Seattle trip entries, as I walked all over this crazy place and found that I didn’t actually cover a great total distance, it just felt that way due to all the inclines. The only real bad parts that I’m not used to about travel in this city, specifically in a car, are the number of pedestrians, and parking. With the pedestrians, it isn’t that there are pedestrians, it’s that you have to constantly be watching for people in places other than crosswalks. At stop lights, panhandlers will walk 7-8 cars deep in search of change or whatever, but anywhere else in the city it could be a businessman or it could be some random vagrant, just casually sauntering across the street like they’re a ghost or invulnerable. I figure that will just take some getting used to.

But the parking. Oh holy ass, the parking. I could rant *AT LENGTH* about this, but I’m not going to. Zoned parking makes sense for the people in those neighborhoods, but if you’re visiting it can be a nightmare. There are only so many parking spots in front of the buildings and if no one leaves, you’re not parking. So you either circle and hope for someone to finally leave, or you finally give up and just go pay to park. I’ve only paid a few times, but I just don’t understand: why doesn’t someone build multi-tier parking garages instead of more buildings? Or why doesn’t the city make it mandatory for a building to include parking? With my building, there are zero spots and you have to luck out in a area that isn’t zoned, sometimes resulting in parking several blocks away. It isn’t always a hassle, but when it is, it is a definite headache that I hate hate hate.

Social life: This isn’t something I can really compare, for multiple reasons. My social circles are always small by design, and while I tend to keep to myself almost all of the time, I always wish I was hanging out with one of the few people I do really like. Back home I could rarely see anyone due to our schedules, and when we did meet, it was fun but I was always left wishing there were more time. Sometimes I wouldn’t see someone for more than a year, so getting a handful of hours doesn’t really make up for the time in-between. But I’ve always been into doing my deep dives on really stupid things like bad TV or reading a super long manga in silence at home, so I kept busy. I just miss people and wish they were around more, or at all.

So up here, my friend Mikey came up to visit once, and since I see him about once a year, that just kind of feels normal. My dad was here to visit recently, and it was fun having him here despite all the driving I had to do, and I wish he was around more often. I only talk with him on Sundays now and that’s been weird to get used to. But as far as people I know up here that I share time with, Lish lives close enough to walk over and visit, and that’s really neat. She’s great and I don’t know if I’m great in return, but I try to be. Much like my people back home, I always wish there was more time to hang out. Beyond that, I haven’t really met anyone I want to know more about or hang out with, and if I don’t, I guess that’s okay. I’ve always been a quality over quantity guy when it comes to people I want to invest my time in, so I think I’m doing okay.

Overall: I can’t lie, I miss parts of CA. My friends and some of my family, certain smells and places, and just the overall familiarity of it. You drop me anywhere south of LA, and I’m probably gonna know a way to get around… and find a good burrito while we’re at it. But the weather was horrible, the people were generally aggressive, and it was just time to go. So up here, I dislike parking, I’m not into having 30 guys try and sell me their horrible homemade rap tapes on the street, and I wish I had a bathtub. But I feel like I’m in a good place, things are okay, and I have an exceptional friend that I can share time with. So I think being here is pretty decent. I might stay awhile.

The only other thing I wanted to do was post some photos from my walks around here. Where I lived in CA looked like Fallout New Vegas, so any screenshot from that game will suffice for the CA side. But here’s what I’ve seen along the way in Seattle:

Maybe we’ll check back in when I hit a year?

Categories: Misc.
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