Friday, October 26, 2007

Thought of the Day: Seattle Freeze?

Have any of you heard of the Seattle Freeze?
Apparently newcomers to Seattle are happy to find that we are polite, but notice that we are distant and hard to get to know.

I've moved here twice, and not noticed any chill. Perhaps that is a product of my general feeling blindness? Or my outgoing personality? If I want to hang out with someone I just ask, rather than wait to be asked, so that is probably a difference.

It has been asserted that it is our pioneer outpost mentality. Which I guess I can kind of see. The business of pioneering is in my family, so that does make sense. My some increment of greats aunt Kit came to Willamette Valley via the Oregon trail, soon my family even went further north to Fairbanks Alaska- can't get too much more pioneer-like than that.

Anyway, I'm starting to digress mildly, but where was going was that I took a class in college on the history of The West (you know... here) and in it we took a brief quiz and using our answers our professor guessed who was from The West and who wasn't.

One question was, "About a mile after the last exit leaving town your car breaks down, you have no cell phone, what do you do?" Two of us answered "Walk back to the last exit and get help." Everyone else answered on some variation on wait for help." The other person who answered hike back to a gas station was from California.

I've come up with a few reasons why Westies would walk:
1. We're dressed for it- especially in Seattle.
[Digression: Last night I was shopping at Ann Taylor with my friend Czabrina and she was looking at this kind of poncho-like sweater thing- you know the jackets with no sleeves- and it was very pretty, but I think I would look so dumb surrounded by women in trendy sneakers, NorthFace zip-front windproof jackets, and jeans.]

2. The next exit could be distant/how many people are realistically likely to pass?
It could be a while before anyone shows up to rescue you.

3. We aren't scared of the outdoors.
Westerners seem more interested in wilderness sports- we do have more actual wilderness, so we've spent more time out there.

What I'm wondering is: is the4th reason the pioneering spirit. That 'get up and do it yourself' attitude mixed with a little 'mind your own business' pioneer gruffness?
What do you think?

Honestly, I'd rather live somewhere polite and 'frosty' than somewhere rude and... uhm, whatever the opposite of distant and freeze-y is. Coming here from Philly, I am just happy that when you put on your turn signal people let you in, instead of speeding up.


Drew said...

I've experienced the seattle freeze. It's weird, because people out on the street don't make eye contact or say "howdy" when they sit down beside you at the bus stop. I totally understand the western do-it-youselc mentality, and we texans definatly ain't 'fraid of a little outdoors. But the chill from seattle-ites is definately odd. It's something I kinda expect from yankees though, so it wasn't completely unexpected.

qtilla said...

Actually it is because we don't trust Texans... they are like Californians with bigger hats and tighter pants.

PalinDrome said...

I had never heard of the Seattle Freeze until today when I was reading a movie review about a guy and his life-like sex doll girlfriend. The internet is a very small place after all.

qtilla said...

That movie looks great, actually. Let me know if anyone wants to see it!