Official "Seattle Freeze" Discussion Thread (Olympia, Republic: versus, privacy)
Seattle areaSeattle and King County Suburbs
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I'm sure middle Tennessee has little or no public transportation, but Seattle is one of the major cities of the country full of countless major corporations and as a major city, in relation to other cities of similar size such as San Francisco, the public transportation is truly lacking. It's funny, considering how environmentally friendly Seattle and Seattleites pretend to be, yet nobody uses public transportation and everybody drives an unnecessarily large gas guzzling SUV for no reason. They usually claim it's for the snow. Yeah, they buy a car for the two days per year it snows.
What you're missing there is that while Chicago is next to a massive lake, the greater Seattle area is cute in half by a lake for the whole length of it. It is also very hilly. Were it not for what the Army Corps of Engineers did a hundred or so hears ago Seattle downtown would be strikingly steep.
Making public transportation in Chicago is easy since it is flat and has topography that is much more amenable to public transportation. Seattle also had a choice between funds for highways and funds for mass transit in the 60's. They did choose highways at that time.
Plenty of people take the bus here. Also, people tend to live close to where they work. There are some less than smart people who still insist on commuting. We have a gas tax that they pay for that.
I always thought that Seattle's public transit seemed mostly-adequate for the city's needs.
Chicago is a much bigger city = it needs much bigger public transit systems. Seattle has improved its public transit over the last couple decades as it's grown, with the bus tunnels and the Sounder. If it ever gets to Chicago size, they'll probably improve it accordingly.
You're not saying nobody uses it? Didn't you say:
"It's funny, considering how environmentally friendly Seattle and Seattleites pretend to be, yet nobody uses public transportation..."
Yes, it's lacking, especially compared to places like SF, Boston, NYC, Chicago.
But you could also compare it to places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, and then it looks stellar.
Also, Seattleites almost NEVER make eye contact with you. It's the strangest thing to me now that I've lived in Chicago. Here in Chicago, every freaking girl I pass pretty much looks me right in the eyes and me back at them. It's like we're scoping each other out. My girlfriend, born and raised in the Seattle area, noticed this immediately when she came to visit me in Chicago. She claimed how every guy seemed to make eye contact with her. In Seattle, this never happens. It's like people are afraid of strangers, OR have absolutely zero interest in any of the people around them. I think this is largely due to the lack of public transportation and the west coast being a major driving region which limits human contact and interaction:
Seattle, like all of the west coast, has a much bigger car culture than Chicago. Of course plenty of people drive cars in Chicago. The traffic in Chicago is waaaaay worse than Seattle (and don't let any Seattleite tell you the traffic is bad in Seattle. It's not. They obviously haven't been anywhere where traffic truly is bad.) But the terrible public transportation in Seattle makes everyday encounters on foot with both strangers and acquaintances much less common. This is how it is on most of the west coast though. I was born and raised in Southern California. You can't get by in Seattle without a car. I'm sure some people do, but it's not easy. In Chicago, I easily get by without a car. I use the bus, the L and my bicycle. Not only that, but I get everywhere just as fast, if not faster than a car in the city. Seattle ain't like that at all.
I can't tell you how many single serving friends I've made in Chicago on the L, on buses or just walking down the street or browsing shops. That NEVER happened in Seattle. I think when a city has bad public transportation, people want to just get to and from where they're going in their car without any interruptions and any small talk on the way. Cars/driving is just much less personal. I believe this is a big factor of the "Seattle freeze" but I don't think it applies just to Seattle. West coasters just simply aren't as accustomed to engaging strangers in public besides in restaurants and shops.
I don't know that the eye contact thing...and the talking to strangers thing has anything to do with having bad public transportation or car culture.
Ever been to NYC? People there often do not make eye contact, they rush to their destination, and rarely talk to strangers.
Does that mean that NYC has a car culture?
How about London...ever ridden the tube there? Most of the time if you attempt to strike up a conversation with anybody on the tube they will look at you like you are bloody mad.
The more I read about the "Seattle Freeze", the more Seattelites sound a lot like me. I always try to be polite to everyone, but I almost never get into real conversations with strangers. I'm not very likely to try and make new friends, and I don't try to become "buddies" with all my coworkers. And to be honest, I'm also pretty bad about not looking people in the eye when I speak to them, at least not for any length of time. I think that goes back to being incredibly shy growing up, but that's for another thread.
I think the "freeze" is just the Northern thing...
I'm from Moscow, Russia, but had spent 10 years living in different parts of CA (and more years in NYC and US South)...a lot of time people act "friendly" in CA freaks the hell out of me. Like people who don't know you and smile at you.... in my home country, it means no good, mostly it means a crazy person is about to assault you. This makes me very uncomfortable. Also, staring into the eyes of someone you don't know--eye contact with strangers--this bothers me very much. People, say, in the gym, try to make eye contact. Why? Why do they want eye contact with total stranger. This causes me stress. In the animal world, looking in the eye means aggression usually. It feels like harassment.
Sorry, the Russian bear in me wants to curl up in the bear-cave and don't bother it, unless you got a good reason. If my neighbor needs help or to borrow something--I'll be glad to help. But don't invade my privacy and make me a part of something I want nothing to do with. I don't want to socialize with my neighbors. If you need something from me--come and ask and I'll help--but don't try to pull me into constant "contact". This is very uncomfortable.
Also, I find that most "friendliness" in places like CA, where I'm living now, is superficial and fake, and if you really end up needing something, the friendly people don't care for you. They only care about their fake, meaningless smiles and "hellos"--which do nothing for me, and only bother me. I think that a truly respectful person keeps their stuff to themselves, unless invited to share, and people minding their own business and going about their own stuff is not a sign of unfriendliness at all.
A lot of things here a cultural differences.... what's "freeze" for some, is "friendly" for others. Say, here in CA, I talked to one person who purposedly designed his house to host parties in front of the house, in unfenced area. To him, it was a sign of being neighborly and friendly. To me this is almost like an insult--I really don't want to see drunk people congregating and have to hear their conversations that have nothing to do with my life, or worse, see them stripping down to swimwear, or inhale their cigarette or BBQ smoke and hear their music. Thank you, not everyone into the same kind of music.
The more personal space, the better.
Also, Seattleites almost NEVER make eye contact with you....In Seattle, this never happens. It's like people are afraid of strangers, OR have absolutely zero interest in any of the people around them.
Sounds like a perfect place. Yes, I have ZERO interest in people I don't know already and who're not likely to have much in common with me. May be I thinking about a book I read... or about art I'm making... or about stuff at work.... want nothing to bother or distract me, thanks in advance for not looking at me and not intruding into my personal space. And yes, I'll give an evil eye back if I'm stared at. It's not a zoo.
People avoid eye contact not because of lack of public transportation (try NYC, or Moscow, or London)--they DON'T want to meet the eyes of each of the million of total and complete strangers they have to encounter on the subway (especially since good percent of those will have serious mental problems).
Originally Posted by SpikeDurden
Also, a huge difference between Seattle and Chicago is the bar scene/nightlife.... My buddies have all had this problem too: bars are traditionally a place where it's acceptable for a guy to hit on a girl. In Seattle, when my buddies hit on a girl, or even simply try to engage in a conversation, they get all their girlfriends to **** block him, or they look at him like he's crazy for even talking to them, and make him feel stupid. I've seen it happen countless times to my friends who are all attractive guys. One of those same friends came to Chicago and hooked up with a girl on the first night...... Seattle girls are... i don't know. More wary of men they don't know? I don't know how to describe it.
May be because females in Seattle are aware of their rights as human beings and simply enjoy going out, dancing and partying without having to be harassed and bothered by males, who feel entitled to disturb them? May be because females in Seattle don't' want to be hit on and want to enjoy personal space, comfort and privacy? Advice: in a bar, make eye contact first--and you'll know if they want to be "hit on". If they avoid eye contact, they don't want.
So your friend hooked up with someone the first time he went out in Chicago.... well, a lot of people consider "hooking up" to be a very disgusting practice (if we mean the same thing, not sure). The less of "hooking up", the better.
Last edited by xani; 06-12-2011 at 02:31 PM..
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