One Year In…

So, today is an anniversary of sorts. And I tend not to celebrate these types of things, but only quietly acknowledge them in my head. But this year—exactly one year since I fucked off from NYC and moved to the West Coast—has been a most vital and important one, and I feel that it must be paid attention.

See, my plane landed just shy of midnight on Aug. 6 last summer. I ate my last sushi meal in NYC in JFK’s Jet Blue terminal (great terminal btw, only to be outdone by SFO in terms of food, shops, and general all-around awesomeness), to sit on the tarmac for probably an hour and a half past departure time due to New York’s incredible airfield gridlock, or as my friend put it the “one last ‘fuck you’ from New York,” before I set off on my cross-country life-change adventures.

But I made it. My stuff made it. Miraculously not one thing broken or smashed or even cracked for I am an excellent transcontinental mover and packer! I have done it enough times, I should be by now.

If you recall, I wrote a post about Seattle’s differences, i.e. everyone was so nice and it was clean and all that. Well, last week was a huge garbage strike in town and Seattle is so clean, I didn’t even notice it. Seriously. Garbage strike, town does not stink like garbage. Who knew this was even humanly possible?

I still have not seen one city rat. Not a one.

I get asked all the time, mostly by other New Yorkers here for a spell (see? My vocabulary is changing already) or ex-New Yorkers, “Do you miss New York? At all?” and then their eyes gleam with mischief as if some great swell of regret and remorse will come poring out of me, “Oh, all the time! I could never live without The Met! Central Park! Brooklyn! Bagels! Bagels! Bagels! Pizza! Oh, I’m so deprived!”

And I’m here, one year later, to say with complete and total honesty: No.

There is not one thing I miss about NYC proper, except of course my lovely friends and their titillating conversation that borders on obscene at all times. Oh, and my street hockey team.

But that’s it. That’s all I miss.

Life here is so much … easier. Every day used to be struggle: Struggle to get bathroom time; struggle to get into a packed subway car; struggle to pay the bills. Struggle to do your fucking laundry. Struggle. Struggle. Struggle.

Life is too short to be hauling 15 pounds of dirty T-shirts and undies to the corner laundry. It’s even shorter to be worrying about getting infested with bed bugs all the time.

Here are the ways in which Seattle bests New York. Let the games begin!

Food: Oh, I can hear the culinary purists’ shrieks of laughter already. But, seriously, if it’s quality over quantity you’re after, then modern-era Seattle kicks the shit out of New York. Oh, and I had some fantastic meals in New York. I also had a lot of overhyped, overpriced, completely mediocre ones, too. There’s nothing worse than signing a credit card slip for $75 when you had a lousy dish and two glasses of wine. This tended to happen quite a bit in NYC, where mediocrity can go unchecked just because of the sheer number of diners out there. It takes a while to get called out on your shit.

The food I have had in Seattle is amazing for three reasons: Overall, quality, i.e. farm to table, is impressive and beyond excellent. People here take their ingredients and sources quite seriously and it shows. Also, see fresh seafood, like delicious oysters! Oysters! That you can eat right from the sea. Take that, East River!

Two, price. So much cheaper for comparable eats.

Three, because the scene is so small, everyone really steps up their game. Attention to detail is excellent. Also, the wine scene in Washington and Oregon is cranking out some great stuff.

Men: Women of New York, you need not live the deprived life that the city has carved out for you… There are real, good-looking, smart guys out here, waiting, no dying, to meet you. And they are, get this, wait for it…nice! The ratio of hot men to women here is sick. It’s New York odds flipped in the ladies’ favor.

Life: So much easier. Really. Everything, from the aforementioned laundry (I want to make out with my washer and dryer practically every day it gives me such joy!) to just having a decent grocery store nearby was a hassle. There are no mice or roaches in my apartment, and if there were, my landlord would send someone by that very day to take care of it. There is no need for AC. First time in my life I’ve never had to have an air conditioner.

No one’s dog is crapping on our sidewalk. There are no female condoms on my doorstep. There are no domestic disputes, violently and loudly, crashing through my walls and floorboards every night.

The air smells salty and fresh, every single fucking day. Every day.

Oh, the No. 1 reason I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary today? These Guys. They pretty much encapsulate every single thing I loathe about the city.

And so, it’s with this blog, and I realized 78,309 words later since I began this long life journey toward self-improvement and growth and all that crap that I bring to you to this: finding my little spot of peace and contentment. It took a lot of hard work, mumbling, grumbling, action, bitching, moaning, plan-making, decision-making, bed-making and more to get here. And to use a little West Coast earthquake analogy here, living in New York was like two major tectonic plates were grinding away at each other in frustration until something big had to give, and they could just slide into place. The earthquake has happened. The plates are in place.

It’s not for everyone, but it is awesome here. I thought you should know.

Hello, Seattle

So, there it is—I’ve left Gotham, the Big Apple, the Empire State of Mind, to move Westward Ho. Like many other poor, struggling immigrants before me, I spent some time there, living in some squalor, tugging my laundry to and fro, surrounded by feces and other bodily fluids, and finally said, “Fuck it. There has to be something better out there.”

And, like my forefathers and foremothers and second cousins and other idiots before me, I decided to Go West.

grapes of wrath

I don't have a goat.

Oh, I had my doubts about doing it. After all, in America, from the day we spew out, we’re inundated with images of New York City as the ultimate in living, the platinum standard, the cherry on top of that Cold Stone Creamery indulgent creation of all life as we know it! Kids flock there left and right from the Midwest, Northeast and the South—and, of course, Brooklyn West, San Francisco—to begin anew.

jay-z empire state of mind

These streets will make you feel brand new!

I know. I was one of those dipshits. But this isn’t about New York. This is about Seattle.

Let's get some fucking coffee already.

Upon landing here whilst looking for apartments in July, within a day, I think I had a panic attack. In a Starbucks no less (hey, I had to pee). I’d been looking at apartments, and coming from New York, figured that finding good real estate here would be like taking cocaine from a hipster. Alas, no. Apartments here were way tinier and more expensive than I’d imagined. Not New York tiny and expensive, but still.

I called my friend. “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. I think I’m too New York for this place,” I huddled in the corner, lest the Starbucks minions hear my pleas and tell me to take my pathetic cell-phone whining outside.

“How long have you been there? A day?” she says. “Get it together. You’ll find something.”

Smack. New York in your face.

Admittedly, leaving New York is like coming down from a horribly addicting drug habit. You hate it after a while, and you despise it, but you need it—you need the buzz to feel viable and to keep going. I could physically feel my body freak out at Seattle during that visit.

paula abdul, american idol

NYC makes you feel a bit like Paula Abdul, the wacked-out American Idol Years.

“Too quiet. Where’re the people? Is this all the talent out on Friday night? How come I can get a table here? Why is everyone so fucking nice?”

Then I had a fantastic crab-cake dinner and Columbia Valley wine and settled the fuck down.

See, leaving New York for ’Mer-Kuh at any time can be highly disconcerting. I always experience it when I go home for holidays—the big-box stores, the driving, the obesity, the shitty food, the lines for the latest “Meet the Fockers” movie…it all freaks me out.

Cities, like Seattle, are not technically ’Mer-Kuh—it’s not like I moved to Little Rock, Ark.—but they do contain some very ’Mer-Kuh type parts. Here’s what I’ve observed about Seattle in the short week I’ve been here:

Everyone is so fucking nice. A guy almost hit me with his car the other day. Apparently, living in New York impairs one’s ability to cross the street in real towns that depend on the automobile as the primary mode of transportation. Anyway, he was pissed, but instead of going, “Hey, fuck you, Bitch!” He pulled over and started politely trying to explain to me how to cross the street, like I just wandered off the short bus. Seriously. Nice. I just ignored him and ambled away. Hey, he was lucky I didn’t tell him to fuck off. See? I’m changing already.

The short bus. Maybe it’s because the population’s lower. Maybe it’s my neighborhood. Maybe it’s because I live above a store that sells Rascal mobility carts for the elderly and overweight and the lazy, but holy shit, there’s a real short-bus element going on here. I look around and think, “New York would eat you alive.” Granted, these folks were in New York, too, I was just so desensitized for my own self-preservation that I didn’t notice anyone else around me at any given time to retain my sanity. Did that make sense? If you live in New York, it does.

Ditto on crazy drug addicts.

Hot guys. Here’s my week: hot guys at beach, hot guys on trails, hot guys at bars, hot guys in cars, hot guys in grocery stores buying sausages and Rainier beer. Swoon…Holy shit, more hot guys in part of town where men “build things with metal and ride motorcycles,” according to my friend. Good, Lord, one guy rolled up in his Ford F150 with a fucking dog in the front seat and I about came in my pants. “You’re like one of five single straight women who live here now,” my friend said. “I know,” I said. “I’m so gonna get crazy laid.”

Lesbian or Man. Due to the heavy lesbian and nerd population in town, I’ve developed a game over the past week that I call, “Lesbian or Man?” I still don’t think I’m batting .500 yet.

no explanation necessary. moving on...

The Hippy Way. I live here now. I can’t fight it. I gotta embrace the kinder, gentler, free-wheelin’ me. So, now I’m shopping at the local organic market. And I’m buying local produce. And I’m composting. And I’m drinking smoothies. And I fucking like it.

Douchebag Condos! I’ll admit it, after looking at a few shitholes that were a little too reminiscent of NYC, I looked at a new “luxury” condo-like building and I was like, “Sold!” Washer? Dryer? Patio? Amenities? Rooftop Deck? Dishwasher? Hell, yes. Bring it. After living with no amenities for six fucking years, I was ready for a whole shit-ton of amenities. My apartment is still a work in progress and represents an Ikea showroom at this point, but it will get there. Also, I have not heard one fucking noise from a next-door neighbor since I’ve been here. So, suck on that Ahktards.

And it’s so fucking pretty here. Start anywhere. Go any direction. Trees, trees, water, mountains. Oh, there’s a beach? Oh, yeah. We got that too.