Cheri's Hypertext Monster

11 Aug 2021

My Theory of Cities

I have a theory of Seattle. Perhaps it’s a theory of cities in general? My theory is that most people don’t stay in a city for more than 10 years because as neighborhoods change (and we’re always changing) you lose more and more of the places you love, and eventually you reach a point where the memory-places outnumber the real ones, and you just… lose the connection.

Here are some of the places my neighborhood has loved and lost…

The bright red storefront of Bedlam Coffee

A pine fence surrounds outdoor seating at Mama's Mexican Kitchen

Of course, you get new places…

Cheerful outdoor seating beneath leafy trees at Bangkrak Thai restaurant

But the old ones never leave you…

Tula's Jazz Lounge, a blue brick building with a demure neon sign.

Is it weird that sometimes I prefer the memory over the reality? But to be a city person is to roll with the constant changes, to evolve as the world evolves, to embrace the new as it arrives every morning.

I love this place, but sometimes it makes me feel tired. I want things to stand still, just for a minute. This feeling makes me feel old, and I don’t want to feel old. Perhaps we each get a starter Seattle, the official version, the one that existed when we arrived. And when it’s gone you wonder… is this really my neighborhood? Or did it move on without me?

When I was new here, people were leaving, bemoaning all the change. To me, it was all shiny and new and perfect. My neighborhood.

Still… three young people were selling coffee outside the old Bedlam building this morning. They wore masks, selling it in the doorway in these Covid times, waiting expectantly for customers. Maybe I’ll go and buy a cup. Introduce myself. Welcome to the neighborhood.

Here we go again, Seattle.

Let’s get acquainted.