16 Keys to Newcomer Survival (In Seattle)
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 97 13:43:36 -0800
Subject: 16 Keys to Newcomer Survival (In Seattle)
[A public service... -psl]
Forwarded-by: "Keith E. Sullivan" <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
From: the Seattle Times, Sunday, March 16, 1997
THE 16 KEYS TO NEWCOMER SURVIVAL
by Jean Godden, Times Staff Columnist
Lesser Seattleites must be taking a sun break. Or perhaps they're buried
under a ton of applications from newcomers wanting to enlist and bar the
door to others.
Whatever Lesser Seattle's flimsy excuses, the city has been left without
its curmudgeonly defenders, the ones who urge you to write home and complain
about all our mudslides and washed-out bridges.
As a result, the city is now knee-deep in newcomers, or so it would seem.
How many come-latelys? Can't say for sure, but the highly scientific Godden
Survey (conducted during recent traffic tie-ups) found that at least one
car in every five has an out-of-state license plate.
And they can't all be tourists.
Multitudes have been lured by interesting jobs, matchless scenery, mild
climate and the shameless press agentry of city boosters.
What's needed now is a new version of "The Official Rules for Seattle" to
help newcomers assimilate. Here are some basics:
* Rule 1. Never discard anything without placing it in the proper bin. At
Seattle Times, there is even a bin for "Styrofoam peanuts."
* Rule 2. Never sound a car horn inside Seattle city limits.
* Rule 3. Bicyclists have special dispensation from all rules. They can
weave through traffic, scoot down sidewalks, disregard traffic signals and
monopolize the road, causing motorists to flout Rule 2.
* Rule 4. If you are attending an event at Seattle Center, you must allow
an extra hour to circle the Center while looking for the last free parking
space in town.
* Rule 5. There are three levels of dress codes: (a) denims and blazers
for Seattle Opera openings; (b) jeans and ski parkas for musicals; and (c)
torn Levis and vintage Nikes for rock concerts.
* Rule 6. Motorists must never determine a destination before leaving home.
The rule is to wait 15 blocks or 15 minutes (whichever comes first) before
asking passengers, "Where are we going?"
* Rule 7. It's OK to wish people a nice day, but it's better to greet them
by saying, "How about them Dawgs?"
* Rule 8. When in doubt, wear black: black turtlenecks, black jackets.
A newcomer once asked, "Is everyone in Seattle going to a funeral?"
* Rule 9. Accept gray as the color for everything else from house paints to
* Rule 10. No umbrellas are allowed inside city limits. Unless the rain
is a gully-washer, a true Seattleite will say, "What rain?"
* Rule 11. If there is the barest hint of snow, the merest mention of
snowflakes, the proper response is to panic.
* Rule 12. Shoes should never be polished nor cars washed.
* Rule 13. Don't talk about coffee. Just drink it.
* Rule 14. Your mother told you always to write bread 'n' butter notes
after a party. But it's now OK to post thank-yous on the Internet. (No
doubt there's software for this.)
* Rule 15. Lawn mowing shouldn't be done too frequently or there goes the
neighborhood. Wait until the grass dries out, say, along about August.
* Rule 16. Political activism is mandated by law. If you don't belong to
a pressure group, form one. Names that haven't yet been activated:
Citizens to Visualize Turn Signals, Committee to Pave Potholes before 2050,
and Citizens to Teach Newcomers to Deal With Four-Way Stops.
© 1997 Peter Langston