Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Seattle Freeze?

Have you ever heard of the Seattle Freeze? Hmm… how to explain. I know, I will use a hypothetical situation. Let’s meet Larry.  Hi Larry! Larry came to the Emerald City on vacation to make the pilgrimage to the Folk Life Festival and who knows, maybe even find a little hippie love. While on the plane he met this all too good to be true female named Beatrice and they hit it off instantly. Beatrice is a Seattle native and she told him about all of the local spots he needed to hit and the spots to miss. Spots to hit: the Troll, any coffee shop besides Tully’s and Starbucks, the flower shops at Pike Place Market and the water, any body of water really, they’re all great. Spots to miss: the space needle, the Seattle Duck, any Starbucks or Tully’s and the Super Mall. Anyways, Larry had found it a bit saddening that Beatrice hadn’t offered her services as a tour guide since she appeared to be such a pundit of Seattle. In any case, Larry was just excited to know that when his plane would touch the Sea-Tac tarmac he already had a friend. When the plane landed, Larry and Beatrice parted with a very hopeful goodbye. Larry didn’t want to seem too forward in getting her information so he casually looked at her luggage tag and committed it to memory so he could stalk her on facebook. Before the festivities of the festival, Larry decided he would try out a coffee shop at Beatrice’s suggestion. He found himself at Cafe Ladro on Queen Ann and was just about to order a super cool and hip “mocha” (Larry is from Milwaukee) when be still his heart, he saw Beatrice walk in with a group of friends. Before Larry knew it, both of his arms shot up in the air and he ran over towards her. This is when it starts to get a little cold boys and girls. When Larry had finally made his way over to Beatrice, his arms were up in the air from his excitement, but hers were crossed. He was beaming and the best she could do was slightly raise the corner of her lip. Larry tried to recreate moments on the plane by saying the exact same things in the exact same tone with the exact same expressions, but Beatrice just looked at him with a cordial smile. Before Larry could even ask what their plans were for the day and if he could possibly maybe join in, Beatrice looked at her wrist where her watch should have been and said she and her friends had to go. The conversation ended with a not so hopeful goodbye, and like sheep in a herd, Beatrice and her friends shoved their way through the door. Larry didn’t know it at the time, but he, like so many before him had just fallen victim to the Seattle Freeze.

Given the recent change in weather, I feel it very appropriate to talk about the Seattle Freeze. It saddens me to think this sort of thing actually happens, but I have met a few Beatrice’s and even more Larry’s, and I hate to even think that I, Jessica Jee Spencer might even have been Beatrice a time or two. What is it about us Seattle-ites that make us behave in such a manner? Why hot, then cold? I know it wasn’t my upbringing and I am sure it wasn’t yours either. My parents are the antifreeze of Seattle. Once you make contact with them, you are friends for life. My dad cracks the jokes and my mom remembers tiny details that you sometimes forget about yourself. I like to think through osmosis I have inherited some of these traits, but it’s the longevity that concerns me. Could the Freeze be something innate in certain types of people? Or could it actually be attributed to the cold weather which makes us closed off? I think for me it’s a combination of things. Let me break it down for you. My life is like a cell and I am the nucleus. There are things in the cell that have different functions. The primary part in my cell is God, because without that Part, all other functions would undoubtedly fail. Other functions include family, friends, food, work, praying, sleeping, studying, scrapbooking, etc. All of these have found a way to co-exist quite harmoniously so you can imagine that my cell becomes fearful when foreign objects try and break the membrane of my cell and infect it. It could be a good infection like the flu vaccination (ie new places, friends, jobs), but why risk it when everything is such a well oiled machine, right?  This is how I contribute to the Seattle Freeze. I think we all have our own cells, it’s just that some of our membranes happen to be a little bit thicker than others. Fortunately, I have inadvertently surrounded myself with people who have thinner membranes than me which has pushed me to slowly (I emphasize slowly) peel off some of the outer layers to my cell. Like everything in life though, I am a working progress.

Food for thought: Perhaps if we all shed off a few layers of our cells, then maybe Seattle would be a warmer place to live.

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