I’ve moved to nearby downtown Seattle. I was staying in a satellite town in the suburb of Renton. Nice town. Quiet. Has it’s charms like a downtown Farmer’s market once a week, a few independent coffee shops and stores nearby it’s downtown bus transit center. Several Park and Ride lots within it’s area. Lots of Vietnamese Pho restaurants, and 3 Asian supermarkets nearby (UWajumaya in Renton, Ranch 99 in nearby Kent), and nearby Southcenter Mall (which has a Filipino supermarket). Dim sum in Ranch 99 mall. Cantonese Roast Pork in UWajimaya. And a big-ass Chinese buffet that I goto splurge on Xmas (ever seen the move Christmas Story?).
But I can’t sleep here. I rented a room in an isolated neighborhood that borders a electrical substation on 120/360 degrees of it’s view, but you don’t even see it b/c you’re on high ground and the many trees. During the spring, all kinds of woodland animals walk thru during the twilight. Rabbits eat the vegetable gardens. The neighbors keep chickens and roosters for their kids. And the raccoons haven’t figured out how to break into the standardized garbage bins of the neighborhood yet. But you might one see wade thru the river under the Renton Library.
There is a Walmart in town, the only one just south of Seattle. And the only IKEA in area is in nearby Kent. If you’re looking for things to show visiting relatives, the Museum of flight in Tukwila is interesting for the family. The Gene Coulon Park borders a lake and in summer you can picnic at, or eat one of the 1 or 2 eateries there, and a view of a Boeing factory on the other side.
Physically, everything is very nice here. But there is something wrong that you can’t taste, feel, or see. It causes spontaneous muscle contractions at a much more frequent pace than other places I’ve been in, more frequent mood changes, more frequent headaches, and the muscle contractions happen right on the edge of REM sleep, causing bleary eyed days the next morning from the lack of sleep.
Then there is the unnaturally frequent amount of cars driving past the house I’m renting a room in. It’s most pronounced at night, in the suburbs where there should be no cars between 10p and 5a. I’ve observed subjectively that the house I stay, averages a car an hour between those hours. I don’t think they are unmarked police cars, or security guards. I suspect private detectives. Plus, for such a nice neighborhood, between Jan and Oct, I have seen 3 incidents where the cops were responding to a house in the neighborhood and another 2 times where marked police cars driving past my house. Which is extremely high occurrence in only a few months, for a suburb, and not a inner city. Just as oddly, as I work on my laptop in Starbucks or other public places, it seems inevitable there is going to be someone who starts a conversation within earshot, about a subject exactly what I’m working on, on my laptop, to the point that it is practically cliche as I exit my door.
I expected less of a homeless problem here. But the ones that are here, panhandle more in public places than in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Oakland, or Portland. But from New York in the 90’s, it doesn’t bother me much. If it weren’t for the fact that 50% of them are white, so I keep getting the nagging feeling that they are all plainclothes officers. Which seems rather high, I guess, if I ever actually paid attention to that sort of stuff. Really, I’m not expert, so what the hell do I know?
If you seem unaffected by whatever I was going thru, this might be a nice place for someone to live. Convenient. Pleasant.
Living in a shared house with strangers
You’d think that it was all crackheads, but not in this house. It was rented by 3 white males, 1 hispanic male, 1 black male, and me. With one blind muslim interspersed during my stay there, with a “Turkish” looking nurse. And one white couple with car with Oregon plates. It was rented to us, by a Asian couple Kevin and Yu.
John, the 6 foot, 280lb, white self-claimed shut-in, liked to play phrase games with you. I would say to someone else in house that I was only planning to be in the house for a few months and weeks later, he’d be yelling at Juan the supposedly new Hispanic roommate about making noise and “I thought you were only supposed to be here for a few months”. Which is weird b/c Juan didn’t have Washington plates on his blue sports car when I first moved in. He had no plates at all. He changed plates over the next week or 2, with John’s statement, makes me think Juan was planning to stay longer. And for the first 2 months, when I bathed at 1a or 2a in slow hot water, to relax the cold from my bones, I always heard him exiting the room to use the rest room within a few minutes, as to rush me out of the bathroom, which I obliged.
Juan, the Hispanic roommate, liked to hangout in his car. And walk around w/o his shirt on, while insisting on exchanging platitudes w you. Which made me wonder if he was a male stripper, in town for his show only.
Ben the other white roommate, I dubbed the silent but likely potential, serial killer. He was quiet. Outwardly docile. But I saw flashes of intense expressions on his face that made me wonder if I had imagined something. The Turkish nurse said he stammered. In the few conversations I had with him, I detected none. He frequently was printing something, so I thought he was a student at nearby RTC. I never bothered to confirm my speculation. He too, liked to walk around w/o his shirt on, in kitchen. Which kinda pisses me off b/c even though I wouldn’t walk around flaunting my nakedness b/c I’m overly modest, I really couldn’t retaliate by doing the same thing b/c quite frankly the sight of their nakedness only produces disgust at their ostentatiousness, while my nakedness will inevitably produce the quip that they will never be able to unsee such a disturbing sight.
Two separate black fellows stayed in that house at 2 different times, but in same room. The later one was nice acting, but rarely around except on weekends, and his car had Massachusetts plates. The first one apparently had 2 cars b/c both disappeared when he left, a dark blue van and a gold Jetta. He cooked beans all the time. He didn’t draw out conversations, but kept showing me ads about working at Centurylink, which was weird.
On the other hand, the 3rd white roommate Tim was always eager to elicit conversations, but was too eager and friendly for my NYC wariness of a house rented by separate rooms. He had a chessboard in shared kitchen which I started exchanging moves in a game with him, in absentia. I wasn’t there to make friends, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be friendly. But for some unknown reason neither wanted to actually ask about, John always knocked over the board in mid game, when no one was around. And my gut sense told me that when children do this, they plot to replace the board the way they want. At our age, it’s mostly a plot to start an argument. After the 3rd game had been interrupted in same way and Tim insisting on playing thru, I started declining to make moves in absentia, on the chessboard, and limiting my interaction w Tim, as well. Strangely, as I was followed by a man from Bellevue Factoria mall my first months there in winter still, back to my home, he got out of his car and made a complaint that he didn’t like the living arrangement of us there, claimed to be a neighbor and wanted all of us out. And in my opinion, on the spot, he contrived a particular dislike of Tim. I never saw this other person again, while I was there. I can’t even recall his face anymore.
John said once that none of the roommates knew each other at all, and some just got here. I frankly didn’t believe him, and afterward decided limit my interaction with anyone who stayed in that house.
The last roommate was a white woman, who had a boyfriend. I didn’t know if both stayed there. I already gotten a new room elsewhere, so I wasn’t going to make waves. Janet, the boyfriend said her name was. They showed up w a white Subaru with Oregon plates.
My occupation of my room in that house, actually seems to amplify some physical symptoms I had been suffering from, for last 5 years. That more than anything, is the reason I had to find new shelter somewhere else.
A new house
After Renton, I rented a room in a house divided into separate rooms, in Seattle. It’s filled with a bunch of Chinese who speak mandarin to each other. I smile when I see them, knowing my English only speaking Asian face, was probably quaint for them. And lo and behold, on the 2nd day, one of them is taking their shirt off in front of washer, for me to enjoy their pasty physique. The saying was “whoever you hate, will end up as your in-laws” not “whatever annoys you, is going to follow you around”. Where is Murphy when you need someone to name a new law after?
Your mileage may vary
These people aren’t uncivil. It just feels more like a new poker table where you have to spend time figuring everybody out, than a shelter from the outside elements.