Sunday, May 26, 2013

Treatise on the Seattlewolf (Not for everyone. For hipsters only!)

(With apologies to Herman Hesse)

There was once a man named Harry, called the Seattlewolf. He went on two legs, wore clothes, recycled, drove a Prius and was a human being. Nevertheless, he was in reality a wolf of Seattle. He had learned a lot of what clever people learn. What he had not learned was to find contentment in himself. The cause of this apparently was that at the bottom of his heart he knew (or thought he knew) that he was not a man but a Seattlewolf. Clever men might argue the point of whether he was really a wolf or whether he had just learned to drive in Boston and liked to question authority rather than simply leaping to obey it. 

And so the Seattlewolf had two natures, a human and a wolfish one. This was his fate and it may well be that it was not an exceptional one. There must be many people who have a bit of the dog or the eel or the sea urchin in them without experiencing any extraordinary difficulties on that account. In some cases, having the nature of a sea urchin can help deal with things like life in a cube farm. In Harry’s case, however, the wolf and the Seattleite did not go the same way together but were inconstant and deadly enmity. When there are two who are in one blood and one soul then life fares ill.

Now with our Seattlewolf it was so, that in his conscious life he lived sometimes as a wolf and sometimes as a Seattleite. For example if Harry paused to worry about the oppression experienced by the dwarves in Latvia or waited a couple extra turns for other drivers to go ahead at a 4 way stop, his “No, you go first” wave was followed by the wolf baring its teeth and laughing at him. At the same time, at times when Harry was overcome by frustration and passed a fast lane camper hard enough to make their ears bleed, the Seattleite in him chided him and considered switching to decaf mochas or chai.

It still remains to elucidate the Seattlewolf in relation to Seattle’s infamous fast lane campers. To take his own view of the matter, the Seattlewolf stood outside of convention and when in his car, was primarily dedicated to getting from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. Besides this, he was secretly attracted to the world of mellow, calm drivers, to their lack of stress and healthy blood pressure. Now what we call the Seattle driver is a type of person who is always striving for balance and complete safety from risk. What the Seattle driver strives for in the main is to have all lanes of every road moving at exactly the same speed so that everybody crosses the finish line at the same time: the fast, the slow, the brave, the timid, the skilled driver and the hapless spazz.

Seattleites seem to thrive on being scolded and the Seattle driver seems to rejoice at being scolded by ads sponsored by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, an agency which seems to specialize in producing inane safety ads with juvenile tag lines such as “Click it or ticket” and “Drive hammered, get nailed”. Perhaps it is staffed by the children of the geniuses of the 1950s “Duck and cover” atomic bomb safeguards. In any case, Seattleites seem to think funding it much more important than ephemera such as bridge repair.

Harry, on the other hand, always snarls and turns off the radio when Washington Traffic Safety ads are aired. He knows that speed limits around Seattle are determined by taking freshly lobotomized 10 year olds around in cars and setting speed limits 10 mph lower than speeds at which they can safely operate a car in that location. What he finds astounding is that so many drivers still insist on driving 5-10 mph under those speed limits.

How can the Seattle driver survive in a world in which getting from point A to point B may even be a job requirement and yet most drivers seem to have the goal of doing everything but that? The answer goes: because of the Seattlewolves. Because it’s hard to say “Well, I just couldn’t help it, everyone was going slow” when you see someone going faster and actually getting someplace ahead of you. One fallback of the determined Seattle driver is to point at the person ahead of them and say “He was going 20 mph faster and we’re both here now!” To which the Seattlewolf driver would reply, “Yes, but I had more fun.”