January 6, 2010

Life After High School

Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world.
She took the midnight train going anywhere. –Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey

I mentioned before that I used to live in a small city with a town mentality and moved to Seattle for a sense of self reinvention, amongst other things equally as important, but not my primary concern. It’s been two and a half years since I made the trek across the mountain pass in an SUV drawn U-HAUL and I still have a hard time accepting the fact that I live here, am staying here, and at this point have a right to call myself a Seattleite.

And yet here I am still boggling at taking an interstate to work every day, even the fact that I justify using the interstate in order to leave it at the second exit is something I never thought I would do.

And this, mind you, is just driving on I-5. Taking the bus downtown in the early hours of the morning watching the Space Needle travel in and out of sight, exiting at Westlake Station and joining the hoard of bodies grabbing their coffees and entering skyscraping office buildings—well, I’m sure you’d understand that I have a hard time describing my sense of awe. It was even worse when I traveled down there to meet up with a friend for lunch on their lunch hour.

Even worse when I worked at Pike Place Market over the summer. If there is anything more symbolic than the Space Needle, it would be Pike Place. So seeing the Needle in the morning and spending my day in the market? I tried not to think too hard about it so I wouldn’t implode.

Also, I can see the Space Needle from my bedroom. It’s tiny and partially obscured by the building next to my apartment complex, but I can still see it, and I grin wildly every time. (I can’t imagine how ridiculous I would be if I lived in New York and could see the Statue of Liberty on a daily basis.)

I’m wondering how long it will be until I stop caring that I’m here. I would venture to say never, considering how I’m still ridiculously sentimental over I-5 (of all things), but I felt the same way about UW once. Ambling through Red Square to Odegaard, sitting in the Quad during cherry blossom season, working at the HUB, and hearing the bell at Denny ring every half an hour…towards the end of my colligate career I forgot the sense of impressiveness UW gave me the first time I set foot on campus.

I took for granted what I was doing in my life when I know of so many others who are struggling to not quite make it back in my home town. They didn’t have the ambition or the drive, or maybe even the want to move out of the basement, to make anything more than minimum wage, and spend their days pretending to be in a metal band and popping people in the newest rendition of Grand Theft Auto, arguably the closest they’ll ever get to experiencing a life grander than what they know. It’s not as if they couldn’t where they are, but maybe it’s where they are that coddles them into being nothing. That doing something more or being something more than a dreg scares them into remaining at the bottom of the cup.

So I sit here, writing, not to be smug, but to be thankful. For who I am, what I am, and the opportunities I decided to take a chance on. For, most of all, realizing what I needed, even if it came calling in a parade of the worst transit design known in America, wrapped in a torrential downpour, and tied off with landmarks that still leave a twinkle in my eye. My life isn’t for everyone, and there are better lives than mine that I can’t wish to aspire to, but for now I need this city, it’s an addiction, and I hope it enthralls me for years to come.