My being back in Metamuville is horrible for this site. No social interaction = happy John = crap content.
In Pittsburgh, I instantly had multiple circles of friends that in several ways crushed my 20+ year circle here. I was about to allow that my Seattle friends are predominantly parents and therefore less accessible, but then I remembered Stephanie in Pittsburgh saying "Let's go out for an adult evening! We'll get a babysitter."
Specifically, I remember thinking, "I have never heard that sentence in my life."
People in Pittsburgh were curious about why I would consider leaving Seattle for a city with no ocean, no mountains, worse weather, worse jobs, and—unbefuckinglievably—fewer days of sun. And I was never really able to explain it to their satisfaction. No matter what angle I used to explain the social repression here, no matter how many colorful metaphors I found for Seattle people having their heads intractably shoved up their own asses, they were confused.
"But you're such a nice guy!" I heard more than once.
"Immaterial. I am not the problem there."
Once, I was chatting with a pastor (something that would never happen in Seattle) who'd befriended me (also something that would never happen in Seattle. I'll stop saying that, but you should mentally place it after every phrase that follows). He was explaining his faith, and I was explaining my lack of same. It was all very cordial, and we genuinely liked one another—despite his not understanding where I think good and evil come from and my not understanding why he thinks they come from an invisible, mind-reading zombie-Jew in the sky. We had a spirited conversation, and soon it drifted into football, food, and Seattle.
"What's the racial situation there?" asked the pastor, a black man.
I considered the question. I thought about d'Andre's assessment that in Seattle, even the brothers are whiney white guys. I thought about the squabbles I've had with young Seattle blacks who'd corrected me on what white people think and feel. I thought about how I had an integrated circle of friends the moment I set foot in Pittsburgh, and how I'd felt the sudden shock of missing that more than I'd even known. But how to explain all this to the pastor?
"Well, I'll tell you one thing," I said. "This conversation would never happen there."
"Because white and blacks ignore one another like they do everyone else. Because this level of trust between strangers does not happen there. Hell, this level of trust between friends seldom happens there. But mostly, it's because no one cares. People aren't remotely curious about things not up their own butt. To ask that sort of question, you have to think outside the butt."
And yes, I told that whole story just to share my perfected metaphor.