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Sunday, November 23, 2003

Why I Live Where I Live

My apartment is really too small. My once-wonderful view of the Puget Sound has been blocked by a new apartment building (That’s progress!). Laundry day means Sherpa’ing my basket deep into the bowels of my building. The kitchen is really too small. I have a lot of reasons to get a new place. Four things keep me from moving: Laziness (Wanna help move a piano? That’s what I thought.) and location, location, location.

Location is the single biggest luxury I afford myself; it is my most cherished possession. There are a few downtown areas in Seattle that might be an improvement over where I live now. They would only be a few blocks away so I spare myself the hassle of moving. My next move will be to another city—Paris or Madrid where I can be just another eccentric kook and be completely ignored.

On a day like today when it is raining buckets I am deeply grateful that I don’t have far to go to do the things that I do in the course of a day. I only have to cross three or four flooded streets to reach the awning at my gym. The grocery store is two blocks from the gym—not even enough of a walk to get really wet by Seattle standards.

Coffee, food, theater, drinks, and movies (not necessarily in that order) are all right around the corner. A lot of this has to do with the fact that a forward-thinking Seattle mayor decided a decade ago that people should live in the downtown area and established zoning laws to achieve this goal. I don’t understand this idea that government is bad. We are the government, free to change whatever it is about our society that doesn’t please us. Left to the free market Seattle’s downtown would look like...I don’t know, like a lot of U.S. cities where nobody actually lives downtown.

These days just the thought of getting in my car practically makes me break out in hives. The other night I was going to a play on Capital Hill (a mile or two from where I live). Before the play I was meeting some friends for dinner in another downtown neighborhood. As I was walking out to my car I was stressing out over parking at both locations and whether or not I wanted to have more than the two drink maximum I allow myself when I drive. I nipped that little conniption fit in the bud by hailing a cab. I like having that option available.

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