Ask an Uptight Seattleite

When irritated by someone in a public space, it is not advisable to confront them directly.

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

I was on a flight from Denver to Seattle the other day, and I'm pretty sure you were right behind me, talking to the pretty divorcée. Seriously. It had to be you. You were, like, a nutritionist from Bastyr or something, and you didn't shut up for two hours. It drove me so crazy I had to take notes. Does any of this sound familiar?

"The world we're living in is really undermining our core values."

"There are a lot of choices. And the choices bring power."

"The question becomes, how much is enough? As consumers, citizens, whatever. And that's really a tricky thing."

"Taking full responsibility for informing yourself. Going to the primary sources."

"Oh yeah, I'm sure technology will solve all our problems." (Said with "sarcasm.")

"It's a flow between what's inside of you and what's out."

"I'm not just a consumer, I'm a producer."

"If I were going to coach you on developing a more sustainable lifestyle . . . "

"I prefer relating to people in a more communal way."

"I've always had a deep curiosity, just a different way of thinking. My family just has these very conventional lives—about success, money, whatever."

"Everything has meaning, everything has purpose."

"It's all a gift."

"All those challenges are opportunities."

"Absolutely. Humor helps a heck of a lot."

"These women who all wanted to date me in a hurry, the once attractive guy who's nice, who's not fucked up. "

"It's monkey see, monkey do."

"We're disconnected from that lore."

"I really care about this stuff. I don't like to see people getting hurt."

"Everything that goes into the economy comes from nature. But in nature there is no waste, no toxins."

"It's helped me to work so much with other people just by understanding myself."

"My sister doesn't really think about how things connect, what her power is."

"Culture is so important for what sets, like, your blinders."

"I'm a very heart-centered man."

"That's what we're here for, to help each other get out of our old ways."

"Next week, I'm going on a 10-day silent meditation retreat. In the middle of the New Year's hype. "

It was you, wasn't it??

Irritated Flyer

Dear Irritated,

Well done! Your response could not have been more appropriate. When irritated by someone in a public space, it is not advisable to confront them directly. Instead, you should take notes, type them up, and send an e-mail a week later to someone who may or may not be the person who was irritating you. Wonderfully Seattle! Since you are so clearly not in need of my advice, the answer to your question is perhaps not relevant? Just an idea. See you at the retreat!

Dear Uptight Seattleite,

I recently noted a query regarding the allegedly troubled relationship between Seattleites and "the Eastside," and have a question about the words we use to refer to these two groups. Most locals will agree that an "Eastsider" is one who hails from the area roughly bounded by the mouth of the Sammamish Slough down to about Kennydale. And Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Yakima, Spokane, and Pullman are in what we call "east of the mountains." But the residents of that bioregion also call their area "the east side," and call where we live "the coast." How can we be clear about all these places while maintaining respect for every group's right to refer to itself as it chooses?

Seattle Native (But Not a Native American)

Dear Native,

Mmmm, "bioregion." I love that word.

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