Luke Melia


September 23, 2004

Seattle and New York

Jeanhee and I are chilling at Slapnose world HQ. We helped Kris and Patti get hitched this past weekend, and have been been in Seattle since. Hanging out with Liz and Anthony. Meeting Jeanhee’s aunt, uncle and cousins. I’m taking a seminar at Construx, “Object-Oriented Design and Analysis using UML.”

I like Seattle. Beautiful views everywhere, yummy thai food, good radio, friendly people. The hills are nice here. San Francisco-esque. All the water, too. Love the Space Needle. I even hear that there’s some beach volleyball here. I hate the rush-hour traffic and the automotive lifestyle, but I hate that about most every city save New York. Seattle doesn’t have the glitz and glamour and sophistication of NYC… I must be accustomed to that now, because the absence feels strange.

I wonder what it would be like to work as a developer here. Software is a big industry in this area, and not just because of Microsoft. There seem to be lots of small software companies, and larger companies with IT centers. There’s something I like about being an unusual breed in New York, not a media maven or financial finagler. What drives a person to want to be different for the sake of being different? Is it ego? Any psychologists have an answer to that one?

Seattle is entering its rainy season after a few beautiful months. It will be gray here until springtime. At least that’s everyone’s been telling me. Nobody seems to like it. In New York, some people love the winter and some love the summer. Some love both, and some are misanthropes. Everyone loves the fall and spring. In this city, people seem to be resigning themselves to the rain.

It’s a liberal city, too. New York is left and jaded. Seattle is left and proud. Kerry-Edwards bumperstickers everywhere. “Defend American Defeat Bush” graces the back of many a VW van (including the Badunkadunk), and people happily joke at dinner with strangers about how terrible Bush is as president. Funny that the land of Nirvana is more upbeat and politically positive than the land of Broadway.

In the end Seattle, like New York, and like everywhere I go, is mostly about who I know. Pioneer Square is not much without Kris and Patti nervously dancing their first dance. Ten Mercer is just another pricey restaurant without Jeanhee’s previously unintroduced friends asking each other probing questions over a long dinner. And the little apartment where I write this is just a pretty view of the Puget sound without Liz and Ant making cherry tarts and strumming tunes from O Brother Where Art Thou. (It’s one of the reasons being married makes me happy. Having someone I love with me almost all the time makes everywhere I go seem that much more interesting and… alive.)

And, also, Seattle (Pike’s Place Market, specifically) is the first place I ever saw a “Grapple.” Looks like at apple, tastes like a grape. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a net positive or negative for the city…

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