Of course I had to read this book. Not only is it set in Seattle, but it was written by a Seattle-hating Californian transplant and reportedly offers a devastating portrait of the city’s “charms.” Now I’m here as your fact checker, to tell you what the author got right and/or wrong about my adopted hometown. (I’ve been here for over 25 years—I don’t count as a transplant anymore, do I?)
Claim 1: Seattle is full of five-way intersections cunningly placed to bamboozle non-natives.
True, but it wasn’t malicious. The city winds around giant hills and bodies of water. Deal with it. Jeez.
Claim 2: There are only two hairstyles for women—long gray hair and short gray hair.
This is obviously false, as there are many women who are too young to have gray hair and many women with gray hair who color it assiduously.But it’s true that there are still large numbers of women with gray hair, and I’ve been told that long gray hair is totally unacceptable in some parts of the world. Well, my long hair isn’t gray yet but it is definitely headed that direction. Deal with it.
Claim 3: Microsoft is a creepy hero-worshipping cult.
Claim 4: Microsoft transports its cult members around on a private shuttle system called “The Connector” that’s just for them.
True. I see those things everywhere. But to be fair, city bus service to Redmond stinks.
Claim 5: “Chihulys are the pigeons of Seattle.”
True, oh so true. You can’t spit without hitting one of Dale Chihuly’s glass thingamabobs. And recently, the city tore down a little amusement park called the Fun Forest and built a Chihuly museum in its stead.That’s right, they replaced a fun place to take your kids with a big building full of shiny, highly breakable objects.
Claim 6: Seattle mothers are narcissistic helicoptering freaks.
True, but only in the private schools. While I was reading the book I was sure, totally sure, that the school that plays a central part in the story was modeled after the hoity toity private school my kids used to go to. It all sounded soooo familiar, in an unpleasantly exaggerated but not untrue way. After I finished the book I did some googling and learned that actually, the author’s kids go to a different but apparently similar hoity toity private school. In contrast, public schools are quite different, except for the ones near Microsoft.
That’s all I can remember. I read the book several weeks ago and my long going-gray hair weighs down my brain. If you have any other “is this true?” questions about Seattle, or heck, about anything, post them in the comments below. I promise to answer candidly.