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'We are just a bunch of lonely meat piles trying to figure this human thing out,' writes Sarah E. Miller (📸: Amanda Sue Winterhalter)
THE SEATTLE FREEZE: NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER
— By Sarah E. Miller
When I moved to Seattle 10 years ago, I was warned: “People here are friendly but distant.” Or, “flaky and noncommittal.”
Frankly, I welcomed it. It was a sweet release of being an introvert. I wanted to buy food without a long conversation at the cash register. I wanted to avoid messy, complicated and confusing friendships. I didn’t want to be accountable for someone else. I was in my early 20s for chrissakes — I could barely take care of myself.
Then the malaise of the classic Seattle depression settled in. I realized that taking Vitamin D did only so much for my social calendar. The lack of social stimulation inked its way into my heart. The two friends I did make (one from work, the other my old roommate) and I cancelled on each other so frequently and effortlessly, we went months without seeing each other. I started to close inward. I frantically chatted up cashiers as they looked off into the distance.
I finally recognized the “Seattle Freeze” was something real and substantial. How does one get out of this giant ice cube we’ve frozen ourselves into?
THE FREEZE IN ACTION: You’ve probably asked, “So, what are you doing over the weekend?” and in that millisecond of silence, you know they’re thinking of ways for you not to be invited. It’s not that they don’t like you — they just don’t know you. And they don’t particularly think they should know you, because who has the time, right?
ON CHICKENING OUT: We click “Interested” on a wide variety of events and decide to watch a Netflix series instead. The weeks move forward and we end up chickening out on all of these interesting events and end up not doing anything. Anxiety and depression sucks, but as we know, the lack of social interaction makes us feel gross too. So, try and do something, sometimes (even alone!).
ONE WAY TO DEFROST: We put in our earphones and type on our computers like we know what we’re doing, but we are just a bunch of lonely meat piles trying to figure this human thing out. … Joining a club or volunteering somewhere relevant is a glorious first step in coming out of your sad cocoon. Clubs are literally made for lonely people.
FRIENDSHIP IS HARD: Making actual human connections with humans who put up many barriers isn’t an overnight success. The most important part of this — before that gloom overwhelms you — is that you must keep trying! Once you crack a smile across the coffee shop a few hundred times, make an intentional effort over and over again, you will melt that Seattle frost.
Sarah E. Miller is a freelance writer, dabbler, collaborator, and an occasionally funny lady. She spends her time battling the Seattle Freeze monster (in the city and within herself), and dreaming up big, impractical, very shiny ideas. Experienced something in Seattle you want to write about? Hit reply with your idea or email [email protected].
NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY
‘The good kind of Seattle freeze.’ It’s Free Slurpee Day at 7-Elevens everywhere. There are 45 of ‘em in Seattle, and here’s where you can find the chilly, syrupy treat near you. Not up for waiting in those lines? Here are 15 places you can sip fancy, locally made slushies in Seattle, and 26 boozy versions to try. (The Stranger, FourSquare)
#SendSegura. The Mariners really want you to help get infielder Jean Segura to the All-Star game next Tuesday. The campaign’s taken over their Twitter and transformed their ballpark (😉). And why not? Jean is so close to beating his competitor in a nationwide vote, and the Mariners are on a roll this year. Want to add your +1? Cast your vote by 1 p.m. today. (Mariners)
Lock up your guns. Or it’ll cost you. Our city council just passed a law requiring gun owners to lock up their guns when they’re not using them or pay some big fines: $500 when a gun isn’t locked up, $1,000 when someone who isn’t supposed to have your gun has it, and as much as $10,000 when someone who isn’t supposed to have your gun uses it to commit a crime. How many of our state’s gun owners are already keeping their gear locked up and unloaded? Just 36 percent, according to one study. And at least 250 guns were stolen in Seattle in 2016. 🔒 (The Seattle Times)
‘Who would we be without the Latino population?’ Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: our state’s first major museum of Latino history. The Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a Latino/a Culture is set to open next year in Glendale, a neighborhood in South Seattle. Vamos. (The Seattle Globalist)
YOU SAID IT
What’s in a question? Yesterday we asked you to tell us which one of three questions about homelessness you want us to investigate first. We picked ‘em from the pool of more than 200 questions you and GeekWire readers submitted when we asked for your Q’s about one of the toughest local issues we’ve got.
The question that’s got the most votes so far is a loaded one: “Does Seattle get an influx of homeless people from outside areas attracted to better services?”
Reader Robert Long wrote us to say that question was “disappointing as a choice.”
“It’s not about the homeless or its causes or how to help, it’s about how they are so inconvenient to the rest of us,” he wrote.
We put this question in play in part because we asked for your honest questions, and this was a very common one. When we got Robert’s note, we went back to count how common. Out of 233 questions submitted, 27 were a version of this question. That’s 12 percent. And in seven of the 27 questions, people already assumed it was true.
Reader Giuliana Isaksen voted for the question and wrote in to tell us why.
“I think it will be helpful to put it to rest,” she wrote. “Many people seem to think we’ve been invaded by homeless from elsewhere and that misconception makes it easy to think of them as ‘not us’ and therefore not our concern.”
“I believe if we understood that as a community, we would be more empathetic and the solutions we develop would reflect that.”
When we got back to Robert with info about how many folks asked about this, and that we recognized there was lots in it to explore and unpack, he agreed it was good to put it out there.
“If 12 percent of respondents asked that question, then you probably need to include it,” Robert wrote. “Glad to hear you want to do it in a responsible way.”
Have you voted for the question you’d like to see us explore first? Click here to cast your vote, and hurry — we’re closing the poll at 10 a.m. today.
HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP
💡 Study up on the Duwamish peninsula’s history (West Seattle)
🍿 Watch Mean Girls over brews (Ballard)
🍿 Watch Office Space on a rooftop (Downtown)
👋 Take a walking tour of Georgetown and learn its history (Georgetown)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership.
DON’T FORGET TO PUT US TO WORK
We’re taking your votes on which of your questions about homelessness you’d like us to investigate, and you’ve got until 10 a.m. today to make your pick. Already chimed in? Head over to GeekWire, which put a different (and fantastic) set of your questions up for a vote.
See you tomorrow. — The Evergrey