Seattle unfriendly? Not always!

by Radio Somewhere

Was just on my home from the grocery store — walking 1.8 miles with a bit of a load (had enough of the bus for one day!) About two-thirds of the way home, I saw three dudes coming my way, one not wearing a shirt. As they got closer, the un-shirted one blocked my path and opened his arms wide.

“Give me a hug,” he demanded.

Without skipping a stride, I switched my heavy grocery bag to my right hand.

“You wanna hug?” I remarked, as I put my left arm around him and patted him on the back. “There you go.”

“Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” I replied. And we both continued walking our separate ways.

Now, a more dramatic display of friendliness happened to me many years ago. It was around dusk on a dreary, rainy October day. I had just left work in Pioneer Square and was walking up First Avenue to get a bus home. As I crossed Columbia Street, a very wet, cheerful bum with water pouring off the brim of his hat got down on his knees halfway across the street in front of me. He clasped both hands over his heart and made me an offer:

“Hey baby! Let’s you and me run away to California and blow this whole joint called Seattle!”

For a brief moment, I felt like I was in a scene of a clichéd romantic comedy film set in Seattle — and I was either Meg Ryan or Jennifer Anniston — with someone with the stature of Jack Palance doing a cameo as the bum. I had been living in Seattle over two years by then — and that was the moment when I knew I’d become a Seattlite.