Friday, January 25, 2013

The Seattle Freeze Explained With The Aid Of Traffic And James Joyce

(With apologies to James Joyce)

My theory…the theory which is mine…is that the Seattle Freeze is irrevocably interconnected with Seattle's bad driving habits. To wit: the seeming constant need of drivers to drive the speed limit in the passing lane and find wingmen or wingpersons in the adjoining lane, to travel through the drizzle with. Not noticing  that the passing lane camper has formed what could essentially be called a moving roadblock, he and/or she drives through the rain with a happy smile. Meanwhile, the person not in the passing lane but in that adjacent lane is sitting there fuming, thinking "Why won't you just go away and let me drive alone in peace?" He and/or she then has all sociability forcefully drained from him and/or her and  forces a smile in situations where sociability is required, for example, the  workplace, roller derby or a nearby grocery store. But there is no energy for social activity left and thus no follow through.

For example, imagine a person named Leopold Bloom careening slowly down the road at 60 mph in the passing lane. Imagine for the sake of argument and/or literary reference that this is happening in Dublin, Ireland. Immediately to Bloom's right, Stephen Dedalus is driving reluctantly to work.

3 gulls and a young crow fly overhead. Shamrocks abound by the side of the road. A dog barks.

Bloom, perceiving a person whose acquaintance he would like to make, begins driving alongside Dedalus, waving in an overly friendly and obtuse manner at him.

Dedalus, not wishing to drive in formation but being even less willing to appear unfriendly, maintains a constant velocity with respect to Bloom. This goes on for 10 miles, causing a tremendous traffic backup which results in 7 explosions of road rage and a spilled coffee.

Fortunately, there are no fireworks in the sky.

When Dedalus arrives at work, he begins conversing by the water cooler with Buck Mulligan. He HAD been planning to invite Mulligan out for beer after work but his social abilities have been utterly drained and after some superficial conversation about a lovely woman he met in a bar the night before who did NOT slap him, the two separate. Now imagine them back in Seattle. Thus begins the Seattle Freeze, which is probably foretold by Shakespeare in his will.

(Sorry, I'm listening to Ulysses on audio book on the way to work now and it's seeping into my brain. Carry on! I still like the general theory...)