Dear Uptight Seattleite, I moved out to West Seattle last fall and I must say I like it. There's less traffic and cool independent coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as great parks and the city's best beach. Lately, though, I think everyone hates us West Seattle residents. I don't know why, but everyone is really set on tearing down the Viaduct, which we use to get ANYWHERE IN SEATTLE, and now the city wants to build a jail down the street from me. I just want to know: What did we do?Western Wendy
Dear Wendy, I admit that West Seattle does seem a bit distant. Like a vision at the end of a long tube, a vision with rounded corners like the old stereoscopic prints you can find in those vintage shops in the Junction. The tube part of this image, I think, comes from the fact that there's only one road to get there. Access to West Seattle is as fragile as a hollow stalk that could snap in the slightest breeze of bridge traffic. And to get there, you have to pass the Nucor Steel Mill, which is eerie when it's lit up at night, as if you're entering a science-fiction doomscape. But did you notice how smoothly I slipped in a reference to "the Junction," a term known only to those conversant in things West Seattle? So perhaps you've overstated your notion that mainlanders harbor some sort of animosity toward you. I've been to the Junction for breakfast at that one place at least three times in the past decade or so. I had the wild mushroom scramble all three times. My other experience of West Seattle comes indirectly, via news accounts of the shootings you have there. Which brings me to your concern about the jail. While I am—believe me—sympathetic, surely you agree that a jail would be less of an imposition on West Seattle than it would be on some neighborhood on this side of the water. You can't say it would be a good fit with MY neighborhood, for example. Ha, ha! Now that's just silly. Dear Uptight Seattleite, I'm confused about how to drive on the connector from I-90 West to I-5 North. It's that part where two lanes from the east merge with one lane from Safeco Field, which merges with three other lanes from the airport or something. It's not that one lane disappears onto James and another onto Madison; it's more that, despite signs that indicate that the left lane is going to end and everyone should merge, and that the right lane is also going to disappear, some people STILL insist on accelerating past the drivers in the middle lane, thus attempting to take advantage of Seattle drivers' passive benevolence in allowing them to cut in at the last moment onto I-5. What's the right thing to do with these probably-from-somewhere-else (cough cough Joisy-tahds) drivers to indicate the correct behavior to use? I've seen the straddle, with one wheel in the middle of two lanes for a blocking action, and the weave, sort of like a car-on-car defense.Dis Connector
Dear Dis Connector, What? Dear Uptight Seattleite, God, I'm so irritated. I just want to paste some text into Microsoft Word, but it insists on trying to reproduce all formatting and hyperlinks and pictures and anything else I may have incidentally highlighted. Why does Word do so many things I don't want it to, and is unable to do the very simple things I do want it to?Word Smitten
Dear Smitten, Since I'm a Mac man, you might expect me to squeeze off a few easy rounds of constructive criticism at Microsoft. But have you noticed that it's a lot less fun to knock local icons lately? I think this may be related to our terrifying economic death spiral. It wasn't that long ago that people were chuckling about WaMu's "Get ready for the whoo-hoo" campaign, but now this seems like an endearing piece of a rapidly disappearing world. "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks"—even that all-time classic doesn't feel so good now that we can easily imagine a world without Starbucks. In light of the new reality, maybe you should try to see Word as that awkward, overeager friend who's at least trying to be nice to you. When things don't make sense, and each news cycle is more sinister than the last, Word provides a thread of continuity with the past. Or at least to that moment three seconds ago when you were highlighting the text you wanted to copy. Or just clear all formatting by first pasting your selection into a plain-text editor like Notepad. Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.