Hot! Oh Seattle!

It’s not much of a secret that the Girl from Arizona was once a girl from Oregon. Actually, back in those days I was the Sassiest Girl in America. But that’s a different story.

As much as I love my adopted state, the temptations to return to the Northwest peak around the third 115 degree day of each summer. I believe it was on that day that I booked my ticket to the Northwest. One long month later I schlepped my way to the airport on a muggy monsoon morning. Three hours later people lifted the window shades for the aerial panoramas of Mount Rainer and lakes and trees as far as the eye could see.

“Oh Seattle! I’ve missed you so much!” the woman behind me exclaimed. And soon the whole flight was chiming in. Children nearly jumped out of their seats as they pointed out the sparkling lakes to their parents. Men made random scientific comments on the mountains. The flight was buzzing with an exuberance I’ve never felt at an arrival before. Yes, Seattle is an amazing city. But these people were also very happy to not be in Phoenix anymore.

I guess I couldn’t blame them. The 62 days of July and August are a long haul for even the most weathered desert dweller and I was about to land in the sweet spot of Seattle Summer. The sun broke through as my BFF drove us from the airport to the city. The Space Needle had been painted in its original Galaxy Gold for its 50th anniversary. There was a grand new Farris wheel on the waterfront. King Tut was in town. yahoo ask . So were the Blue Angels and the Seafair sailors. There would be a Torchlight run and parade in a few hours.

But first, we crossed the locks to Ballard for some Taco Time and Red Mill Burgers. We sat by the windows, but not outside. The kids declared it was too bright. There was bacon and meat in front of me. Who was I to complain?

   

As the day passed we continued to indulge in all things Seattle: Top Pot doughnuts, Molly Moon ice cream, Mac & Jack’s brews, Alaska Airline hats and costumed festivals. By 9pm the sun had barely set and we were in our pajamas.

The next day the sun was out by the time we rolled the bikes down Queen Anne to Caffé Fiore. A few brave locals sat in the front of the building while the others caught the shade on the west side. There was more bike riding, Pike Street marketing, fish throwing and crab eating that day topped off by a backyard barbecue. But the backyard caught the full evening sun. My dear friends opted to cluster into the shelter of the living room to watch the Olympics.

The next day, much to the relief of Seattle, it was cloudy. “It’s so nice to have a break!” one woman on the Monorail said. It had topped out at 72 degrees the day before. I had only packed three hipster T-shirts, a pair of pants and one cotton hoodie. I was wishing I had also thrown in a beanie.

When the sun never comes out for a Phoenician, the day blurs. Morning, afternoon and night are essentially the same and so all I really know is that I walked, drank some beer, ate some seafood, and drank some coffee. But maybe more than once, and maybe not in that order.

Thankfully for me, the sun was back the next morning. But Seattle still wasn’t sure what to do with it. As we coaxed the kids out of the pool that afternoon I told them my plane to Phoenix would not wait. Again, the locals spoke. “That too bad!” a man said with a pause to recoup his polite Northwest upbringing. “Well…. Unless you like Phoenix.”

“I do like Phoenix.” I told him. Yes, I have 6 more weeks before I can hope for a cool morning or night. Yes, I miss the friends I’ve known so long we do things in tandem without speaking. I miss a walkable city with at least three coffee shops and pubs on every block. And I miss watching my Ducks down the road at Autzen Stadium.

But give up my sun, my desert, my rocks, my sunsets? My winter barbecues and bocce ball, my Joshua Trees down the road? There was no hesitation in my mind. I was the Girl From Arizona now.

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the GFA