On Saturday, we are moving to Columbia City and we will be commuting by train to/from work every day. It is only 5.5 miles from where we currently live, so why am I so worried? Here is the wiki on Columbia City:
Columbia City is a neighborhood in the Rainier Valley area of southeast Seattle, Washington, known either for being one of the “hottest” neighborhoods in Seattle, or for its rapid gentrification, depending on one’s perspective. It is best known for being a historic district, being one of the few parts of Seattle with genuine ethnic and income diversity (some claim that its zip code, 98118, is one of the most diverse in America and for being an extremely walkable (having a 92% “WalkScore“) and transit-oriented “urban village.”
I have lived in Seattle, downtown Seattle, for 20 years. I accidentally moved to Green Lake for 9 months back in the early 2000′s, but quickly moved back South of the Ship Canal once that lease ran it’s course. I have lived between Madison to the South, Mercer to the North, Harvard to the East, and 1st to the West for 18 of those years (another 9 months on Portage Bay are outside those parameters). That is a pretty small area, if you think about it. I love this neighborhood, the little liberalist spot in a liberal city, little island of misfit toys. Just go to our grocery store at midnight any day of the week, it is a crazy parade of kids having fun and expressing themselves. Speaking of parades, I ran across a marching band of ragtag hipsters playing Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” while walking the boys last week.
I am currently going into denial (I haven’t packed a single thing) and plan on going into shock early next week when I am waiting for the train to take me downtown. The whole move could be a good thing (especially if you follow me on Twitter @SParkerAnderson) and most likely will be a bad thing initially. I love a walking city, I am not sure what that walkscore is measuring, but I can tell you that if you measure how easy it is to walk to a bunch of places I don’t want to be, then yes, it is super convenient. I love city streets, noise, randomness. I will miss that.
I have to start packing my lunch (right now, I walk the four blocks home at lunch time and eat), my gym clothes (right now, I walk home from work, change into my gym clothes, drink a cup of coffee and walk the three blocks to the gym), wear those gym clothes home on the train because there is no way I can pack all the potions, lotions, voodoo ritual ingredients, and two-part epoxies required to keep this ship afloat (plus, there is nowhere in the locker room to safely plug in a heat gun), and also start wearing different street clothes to/from work (I can walk five blocks in a brown Gucci suit, but not any further).
Rick has already started to paint the interiors the same color as our current apartment, he is trying to ease my transition. He is going far above and beyond what is needed, he knows I am scared to live in a neighborhood with lawns and fences.
Am I afraid of getting or feeling (or God-forbid looking) old? I mean, Columbia City is where old hippies all live until they join that cosmic farmer’s market in the sky. No matter where you go in the neighborhood, no matter what time of day, everyone looks like they were gardening only moments before they decided to go to out to eat.
If Columbia City is an organic granola and almond milk breakfast while listening to NPR, Capitol Hill is a cup of coffee as you walk home from wherever it was you slept last night. Breakfast-ly speaking, that is.
I can do this, it will be great.