Dear Uptight Seattleite,I moved from Anchorage, Alaska, to Seattle three months ago. In that time, at least three different bugs have flown directly up my nose. To date, not one has been successfully recovered. Is this how you welcome new residents?Bugged in Ballard
Dear Bugged,If these bugs flew in and have never flown out, they must have died in your nose. Shall we explore this fact a little more closely? No? OK, then let's look instead at the issue the way YOU phrased it: Is this how we greet new residents? You apparently conceive of Seattle as a magical place where residents tell bugs what to do and they do it: "Hey, bugs! That guy's from Alaska! UP HIS NOSE!" Well, Bugged, you should hold on to both your nose and that sense of magic, which is bound to make you more receptive to the possibilities all around you. If you do, I feel certain you'll be successful in whatever endeavor brought you here. Those bugs were in fact harbingers of success. But getting back to MY question for a second—the one you were trying to avoid—the answer is that I don't know. If anyone out there does know what happens to bugs that die in our noses, please write in.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I saw two bike messengers get in a fistfight. I couldn't tell what the issue was, but they were tapping each other on the shoulder and one guy was egging the other one on, going "Are you gonna hit me? Go ahead!" They were both really mad. Probably because they were both wearing little European bike hats and tight pants. 14 minutes ago.Sophie
Dear Sophie,Deb noticed that a pair of eagles may be nesting on that big green metal sculpture thing in the middle of Union Bay. They're apparently perched out there most evenings, motionlessly eyeing the evening traffic coming off the 520 floating bridge. You might expect me now to relate this to your letter in some roundabout way, Sophie, but no. I just wanted to pass along that news about a possible eagle nest, and didn't know how else to work it in.As for what you witnessed, Sophie, that was raw male energy, which can be expressed positively or not-so-positively. It's a single life force emitted from one of two orifices in the male ego: the light hole or the dark hole. One hole plus one hole equals a whole lot of guys out there spurting at each other every which way. But however foully their emissions may blow, I counsel compassion for bike messengers. They've lived for so long on the brink of extinction that they must be forgiven for being a bit on-edge. With what bravado they darted through downtown traffic in the '90s, mocking gridlock and conventionality with their youthful agility and tattoos! Did their tattoos and dashing good looks feel to some of us like a reproach to our paunchy conformity? And is there therefore a malicious pleasure in seeing them reduced to brawling by the side of the road like drunken hobos? First, I would never use that kind of offensive terminology. Second, I hope never to proffer such a dark-hole notion as that. Third, eagles!Dear Uptight Seattleite,Have you seen those Pemco ads on the sides of Seattle buses? They charmingly make fun of Northwest types, but they never have any REAL Northwest profiles, such as "Northwest Profile #56: The passive-aggressive bus driver" or "Northwest Profile #87: The Aurora Bridge jumper." Why is that?Bold Brash Bostonian
Dear Bostonian,I've got a technique to filter out all advertising from my environment. It's a kind of mental app that I developed through experimentation with breathing patterns and visualization exercises. So I had to make a special effort to seek out what you're referring to. But once I cultivated a more mundane mindset—the kind most people have, capable of receiving consumerist propaganda—I saw that those ads are indeed everywhere. While I myself choose not to derive entertainment from advertisements (some of us still like these crazy things called "books"!), I can appreciate that some people find them amusing. But I think the people behind the Pemco campaign will find that trafficking in cartoonish stereotypes is a creative dead end.Questions? Write firstname.lastname@example.org.