It has lately been brought to our attention that the work of the Uptight Seattleite may not be entirely his own. In recent weeks, a stream of e-mails, Tweets, texts, and handwritten postcards have arrived at this office, indicating that the Uptight Seattleite, who has been authoring his eponymous column since October 2006, was receiving the assistance of a ghostwriter. That writer, a sometime Seattle Weekly freelancer and regular contributor to the neighborhood blog LictonSpringsConsidered.com, claims to have been responsible for "approximately 100 percent" of the Uptight's advice output. Presented with the allegation and given a chance to respond, the Uptight said he'd been under significant stress recently, due to the demands of an upcoming publicity tour for his soon-to-be-published book, A Sensitive Liberal's Guide to Life (Gotham Books, trade paperback original, $15), and a heavy rehearsal schedule with the Cool Uncles in advance of vintage-car-show season. He admitted that he has occasionally relied on the assistance of the writer, David Stoesz, when he felt that his own responses lacked "élan." After consulting with ethics advisers at the Poynter Institute, a St. Petersburg, Fla.–based journalism think tank, Seattle Weekly has chosen to keep the Uptight's columns active in our online archives. But in the interest of transparency, readers of the column should be advised that we can no longer state with complete certainty which pieces of advice were issued by the Uptight himself and which by his hired surrogate.
—Mark D. Fefer, EditorDear Uptight Seattleite,I have a gripe about people with giant umbrellas taking up valuable downtown sidewalk space. In order to go around them, I usually have to go outside the awning. My hood can take it, but it's the principle! If you have an umbrella, especially one of those PGA/Costco family-sized ones, you shouldn't walk or stand under my awning. My hood—due to its unobtrusiveness and efficiency—clearly entitles me to the right-of-way under an awning.Matt Slinger
Dear Matt,Put more wrist into it. When you step out into the rain, flip your hood up with a crisp motion, taking quiet satisfaction in the adage that there is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Revel in the pattern of the patter on your hood as you deftly step—a free-ranger, a smooth Druid in rubber-bumpered trail runners—around golf-umbrella dawdlers in their water-absorbent Reeboks. Make of your motions such a song of self-contained pleasure as can reach even unto the ears of the hapless souls in your wake. "Hey, that's one Hummer of a brelly you've got there, mate!" your song will go, "Consider stepping more narrowly next time! OK, see ya!"Dear Uptight Seattleite,I walk into a coffeehouse to order an espresso. There seems to be no line, though three people are standing in an informal array seven feet behind the customer at the counter. I walk up and stand right behind this customer, thinking I'm next. Then one of the three stops staring into space long enough to inform me that he and the other seven-feet-away standers are actually in line. How could that be? Is the fellow outside leaning against the telephone pole also in line? To avoid a confrontation, I offer a meek smile and apologetically shuffle to what I assume is the back of the pack. What is the purpose of lining up this way? Is someone ordering a drink now like a customer in a drugstore, consulting with the pharmacist about an embarrassing problem?Barbie Queue
Dear Barbie,Yes, we could plumb the depths of the coffee line. Why does the line in the Fremont Caffé Vita go toward the door while the line at Cafe Allegro goes away from the door? What is the limit on chitchat with the barista if there are people behind you? If you happen to be wearing a Morris-dancer costume, is it OK to strike a jaunty pose while in line, even if this pose takes up more than your usual allotment of floor space? Should you make eye contact with the people sitting under that painting you're staring at, or pretend to be so completely absorbed in the art that you don't even notice them? (Speaking of coffee-shop art, have you noticed that prices have been dropping? I just got a great buy on some encaustic lotuses at Wayward Coffeehouse.)But rather than trying to grapple with the many arms of this spiral of unknowing, let's allow it to spin itself away into the air and focus on something more practical: how you can avoid becoming a victim of the silent pack you describe. The people who, when you walk into a public place, silently regard you without offering any greeting. There's no reason to be intimidated by Seattleites' Village of the Damned vibe; just slouch against the wall, stare into space, and refrain from taking decisive action of any kind. Find out what those unspoken rules are when the next person through the door violates them.Questions? Write firstname.lastname@example.org.