Seattle Freeze

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    Hopey, I wasn’t talking about you re: the Chicago pizza. Someone else entirely who used to go on and on about it. And I realize people miss what they’re used to. And certainly not every out-of-towner is that way.

    But I’ve met people who go on and on about comparing their old home with the PNW. To one person, I suggested riding the Bainbridge ferry on a clear day for an incredible view of expansive water, two mountain ranges, Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, etc. etc. And their response was, “I’ve been on the Staten Island ferryback home in New York City, and no ferry’s better than that.” And I WANTED to say, “Then maybe you should go back and ride your friggin’ ferry.” I didn’t. But I sure wanted to.

    I know the winter gray skies even drive us natives wild by late January/February and we need to get away to the sun somewhere. I also realize that all the large green trees and forested areas give alot of mid-westerners or ex-desert dwellers claustrophobia. They can feel ‘closed in.’ When a friend visiting from Kansas told me that, I was surprised, since this is all I know. I shared that desert areas, even some areas of Eastern WA, make me very homesick for my forests and mountains and water and green, green, green.



    Well, after reading some of the responses I guess some of it could be true. I wouldn’t go confront my neighbor if they were having a party (maybe I’d call the cops…but not confront them!). I probably wouldn’t show my true feelings to someone. Also, I can be in an exercise class at the Y and be right next to someone and still they don’t say a word to me and I don’t say a word to them. The Moms in my daughter’s preschool just make small talk but that’s it. Don’t know why, but I don’t think it’s because people are meaning to be RUDE.

    As for the people who always compare their home to Seattle and Seattle comes up short…I agree. Go home. (but of course I wouldn’t SAY it to them because I’m too polite. LOL!)

    Now, I do have a friend who is from Texas (and other areas) who says that Seattle is the loneliest place to live.



    Bonnie, funny about your friend from Texas. I had a neighbor who rented the next door apartment for 6 months. He was from Austin..a musician who wanted to try the music scene here…and was totally homesick for Austin. After 6 months he up and left, went home, met a girl, they’re becoming parents, and is totally happy now. He, too, said that he was lonely here, even with friendly neighbors (Happy Hour once a week – lol)



    I just returned from a walk in beautiful Lincoln Park, and though I’ve lived in Seattle for about 20 years, I still find it perplexing when I

    get the “Casper treatment.” I’m sure it happens to others, too.

    What is the Casper treatment? Well, remember the old “Casper the Friendly Ghost” cartoon? The little ghost just wanted to be friendly, but whenever he said “hi” to someone, they would panic, staggering away and stammering “A g-g-g-GHOST!” Now, when I greet a stranger during my walks, they don’t panic (I’m pretty normal-looking). But, nine times out of 10, I get one of the following Classic Seattle Responses:

    1. The Seattle Stare: The recipient of my “hi” gives me a blank stare.

    2. The Seattle Shun: The recipient averts his or her eyes.

    3. The Seattle Scowl: Self-explanatory.

    It would be nice to get more “Seattle Smiles” or, if that’s too much to ask, at least a grunted “Hello” or a half-nod.

    So, I’d like to propose that readers of the WSB, cool people that they are, start saying “Hi,”

    preferably accompanied by a neighborly smile, when they’re out taking a walk. And if someone greets them, how about greeting them back? Call it what you will: The Casper Campaign, or whatever, but, let’s try it!



    Okay picklemom I say let’s all say ‘hi’ to everybody we see and then we’ll report back here the reactions we get.



    Hopey, you are ON with a board game.

    My partner and I have talked about doing a “game night” to get various groups of friends to meet one another (we have the work friends, the online friends, the old friends, the new friends, the friends we rarely see, etc etc, and none of the groups know one another but would get along famously.)

    We just keep getting busy, or one of us gets sick, or whatever. We’re both transplants, but in that way I guess we’ve both become very “Seattle.”

    I smile at folks I pass on the street, but often if they say hello, I’m so surprised it takes me a moment to react, and by the time I squeak out a hello in return they’ve already passed.

    On the other hand, I get teased at home because in every place we go I make a new friend. Maybe not a “let’s hang out” friend, but I end up chatting with folks and in 3 minutes know their life story. It’s odd, and according to my partner, a talent. It’s almost annoying to me at times, because occasionally I just want to go to the store and go home, but everyone talks to me. :-)



    Aim, that is a great talent to have. Bonnie, I’ll report back, too. Thanks!

    I’m not going to say “Hi” to every single person I encounter (that would be weird if I’m in downtown Seattle! Hi. Hi. Hi. HiHiHi.), but during walks and similar circumstances.



    I’m going to bring the kids to the park today. I’m a true Seattleite…I might just chicken out. I’ll try my best though!



    Interesting discussions. I know that from what I observe, most people seem to be waiting for someone to talk to them. I sometimes hand out gospel tracts around west seattle/white center area, and most people are not offended that I have given them one and ask them to read the back. I usually get into conversations with them that always end on a good note. These are complete strangers and yet I love them enough to share with them something I think is eternally important. I don’t follow them or harass them, I just try to be polite and loving.

    On the other hand it’s odd that if I am not doing this I am extremely shy and get nervous meeting new people. So I guess I have no problem talking about Jesus but I do when it comes to talking about myself. I think I just did some self therapy here…..thanks for listening all!



    Ok, i admit i have lived here 3 months now and have yet to make a friend… but i have to be honest, i am generally behind two very active and noisy dogs and have yet to follow up on the couple of overtures that were made before Christmas. Beyond that, i have yet to join anything except a book club… and that with my hubby… i am not making much of an effort yet.

    Having just spent the last 4 years in the twin cities, i am tickled to be back in the land of people who will actually talk with me if i initiate conversation and who aren’t too polite to answer a direct question. Freeze ? I haven’t noticed it!


    Just did a little experiment: took myself for a walk along Beach Drive past the Emma Schmitz viewpoint and kept track of people who would look at me/say hello/smile, etc. Bear in mind that *I* am the Seattle native here – I looked at everyone and smiled. Of the 12-15 people I passed I got one “hello”, one “sorry” as her dog tried to run me down, one “thanks” as I let someone go by, and a couple of smiles. One from a runner who I was determined to make look at me (I’m sure she thought I was a lunatic.) Otherwise, people looked down or at their dogs as they walked by. I observed a guy across the street from me walking at a very brisk pace past a steep driveway where another guy was backing down his obviously heavy recycle bins. Walking dude didn’t say anything or break stride, just let driveway guy back right into him, and walker kept walkin’, driveway guy was clearly a little baffled and tried to say something to him. Walker kept walkin’. Geez, at least say something so you don’t get run down by recycle bins!! I guess I see why we don’t seem like the most gregarious bunch of folks!! :-)



    My freeze was unfrozen by meeting a great group of women who each took a long time to get to know. It was worth it! However, I had a lot of “freezes” and had I not lucked into a great group of friends, it could have been a sad year. Back from a much friendlier and warm place, I landed next to the screaming neighbor from hell-complete with divisive actions straight from a soap opera written by Dante.

    It was one foot in heaven/one in hell and I think I was frozen and thawed. I made some really good friends here and ignore the ones I am territorially tied to. There is a certain amount of righteousness that abounds throughout the community. It took awhile for people at my coffee shop to allow me in the inner circle-first few months I heard one woman talking about newcomers as though we were scum. However, I kept showing up and smiling and I met people.

    I love W.S., the women at PCC got me through a lot of colds, shopping is good, the Sunday market is great, the views spectacular, the housing stock ok(I was able to buy away from the nutty harridan and will move next month). Friends are all what it is about for me and I bless my lucky stars I made some. I do think it is different here. I work downtown and people there are much less open. I have always made friends easily but was in despair about here initially. So, overall I am thawing my own little space-inch by inch.



    So… who is going to take the plunge here and actually set a date for a coffee klatch? I don’t think it’s right for a “transplant” to take the lead, considering the topic of this thread!

    C’mon now, which Seattle or Washington native is going to be brave? As long as it’s an evening or weekend, and before February 13th, my schedule is wide open! And I will bring a board game to share!



    being new, i won’t set a date for coffee.. but i am interested… though more for talk than board games.

    On another note: i am looking for anyone else from West Seattle who is interested in going to hear Madeleine Albright tuesday evening at town hall. any takers?



    JoB…I usually work into the evenings, but…for some reason, not this Tuesday. Madeleine Albright is a great speaker…and I’m sure she would be really interesting to hear. I especially like her topic. I’d consider going…although…I’m not really crazy about driving downtown. If we could work out the transportation, I’d be willing to go listen with you…

    if you click on “member” under my name it’ll take you to a link to my website…you can e-mail me from there, if you’d like :)

    anyone else want to go?



    Thanks for the funny informal survey, Velvet B. I think people’s dogs are often friendlier than their owners! And who could resist a smile from a golden retriver?



    I guess I never noticed any “freeze” even though it appears to be a common enough occurrence to be legendary.

    I am a large guy with a face that scares children so I assumed anyone who appears shy or evasive feels they have good reason.

    As a transplant from NC (by way of a dozen cities on the east coast both north and south), I find Seattle natives to be, by and large, more honest about their feelings, fears and social interactions than many other places.

    I have been in the state since 88 so I am still considered a transplant after 20 years.

    The myth of southern hospitality is just as pervasive and misunderstood. I would rather cut through the surface friendliness to the core distrust of the stranger than go through that crazy dance of fake politeness, insincere smiles and the Q and A designed to classify you into one of their acceptable compartments of class, religion or politics.

    I meet people without expecting them to automatically want to interact with me. Friends happen if your honest, sincere, and willing to help strangers without the calculation of what you will get out of it.

    Of course if you want to meet your neighbors, one way is via politics. I go up the walk and knock on the door and ask if everyone in the house is registered to vote. That’s an ice breaker here in West Seattle. Some of you who might live in Highpoint have also found it is not safe to jog by my house, with or with out dog since I ask every pedestrian and even those in slow moving cars if they are registered to vote.

    There are still some residents of my precinct who run when I try to talk to them or refuse to answer the door. I consider that any residents prerogative and am not offended by it. :)

    If you are interested in meeting your neighbors in the near term, show up at the party caucus location of which ever party you feel closest to, and you will probably meet those who have similar political views (with some wide variations on the Dem side). Apparently you can meet every republican in West Seattle if you attend the single caucus location at SW community center.

    For caucus information see the other posts on the political forum of the main page updates.



    jan s…

    i would be happy to go to member profiles if i could just figure out where. could you help a neighbor out and point me in the right direction:)

    and.. i can drive.



    Click on the word “member” under the name of each person that posts. Click on “member” under your own name to go to the page where you can edit what is seen by other members. I have not tried logging out to see what casual drive-by readers can see but some might feel more comfortable revealing a minimal amount of info.

    I have been on the net under my own name since 1989 when I used an acoustic coupler 300bps and a commedor 64 so there is no hiding my footprints anymore.

    At least I have such a common name that I am no longer the first three entries of a google search of my name. I think I was page 18 last time I checked.



    I agree that it is hard to meet people. I’m from around here and I don’t really get the “freeze” thing but I have kids and that seems to be an ice breaker a lot of the time.

    So, I am working with Tibbetts UMC to create a family space where we can have game nights, or puzzles or activities. My vision is to offer an activity once a month, something like egg dying or pumpkin carving or whatever. I’d also like to have one evening a week when adults and families can gather to visit, play games, talk, whatever.

    It is our intention to start in April. If you have ideas or input, please let me know! I am all for meeting new people and having a little fun!

    (And, no, this isn’t a “churchy” thing.)

    I’ll be adding information as we get closer.



    JoB…actually, just click on my name and it takes you right to my website…my e-mail, etc. is on the Contact Us page :)


    I moved to west seattle because I think there is more warmth here (less ice) than in the rest of Seattle. Natives don’t understand about the freeze because they have no idea what it’s like elsewhere, where people are warm, open and welcoming to strangers. I lived a very Caspar-like existence (wonderful analogy) in other Puget Sound neighborhoods until I moved to West Seattle.

    I like the post from the person who said they were a native but could make new friends if they wanted to..There you have it. natives just don’t want to, they don’t think they need to.

    Maybe it is all about being too nice, too polite. There have been moments where it seemed like this is a very proper Victorian English village…you are never supposed to acknowledge someone you haven’t been properly introduced to. But the rest of the world isn’t like that. And for those that are not native here, no family, no school buddies, etc., it can be very bleak, very cold.

    But I love what I read on these posts, people open to making eye contact, saying hello, making it change! ! As I said before, I find WSeattle more open and friendlier than other parts of the city, must be so much sun…




    Interesting, I think we get more sun here than other sections of the city, too. We certainly get the grand views in all directions. Maybe that contributes to a more open frame of mind. I’ve met and become friends with a way-far neighbor (about 7 blocks) who has seen this place change over the 50 years she and her husband have lived there. I love talking to her, it’s like a window into someone else’s experiences and life. Anyway, she’s a native and wasn’t in a freeze when I walked past her house several years ago and said “hi, nice day isn’t it?” She’s got a great view from her garden, too, of the ferry dock, Vashon, Southworth and beyond.



    Okay, I went running this evening right after work and decided to smile or say hello to everyone I ran past (which was quite a few people at that time). I got very few smiles or hellos back and some folks flat out ignored me. I know I might look a little crazy in my orange reflective vest blowing snot rockets, but I’m not that weird. And considering that a winded runner is making an effort when other people won’t…come on! I was hoping to encounter some fellow WSB readers that would shout out a HELLO back to me, but no such luck. Will keep trying, especially on my weekend morning runs :)



    *Sitting here eagerly awaiting the posting from another member stating “Oh yeah! The snot rockets! I saw you!”*

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