I’ve decided to coin a new phrase and that phrase is “stubborn as a Seattlite.” To be used correctly, it should purely be used as regards to the weather. Because when it comes to ANY weather, no one on earth is as stubborn as a Seattlite.
Case in point is summer time. Western Washington, in general, is not well known for extreme temperatures. We consider cold to be 60 degrees and hot to be 65. I might be exaggerating, but only by a few degrees, trust me. We also have a lot of humidity. Because it’s not incredibly hot here, most people don’t realize that half of the top ten cities that average the highest humidity in the country are in Washington. In fact, half of the top twenty are too. Bellingham is consistently ranked number one in the country for average humidity, with an average of 79.4%. All the time.
So, while people laugh at our inability to cope with any form of weather extreme, I will say… that the rest of America is right to judge us. So right that I believe we deserve our own phrase.
The Seattle area may be humid, but it’s not hot and it’s humidity that we are all so used to that we generally don’t care enough about it to notice anyway. Muggy is a daily weather condition no matter what time of year, how gray the sky is, or how cold it is. And having air conditioning is laughable in a region where we consider eighty degrees death defying because it’s not often we get that warm. So when we got super humid super early in the year this year, I shrugged it off. It’s not so abnormal to be dripping in sweat after rinsing a cup and putting it in the dishwasher when it’s overcast and fifty-nine degrees, right?
And when the heat wave was predicted, we all laughed because weathermen in Seattle are the highest paid liars and guessers in the country. And they have a 90% chance of being right because it’s not uncommon to be sunny, overcast, cold, hot, rainy, snowy, and dry all in the same day. If I had planned my life better, I would have made Steve Pool (local weather legend) my idol growing up.
So how does all this lead to “stubborn as a Seattlite?” Because today it was eight-five degrees, 80% humidity and only the latest in a slew of days that, regardless of temperature, were over 80% humidity where I live, which is right next door to a protected wetland… Because what part of Western Washington isn’t right next to a protected wetland? And I happened to mention to my husband that Target had mini, portable air conditioning units on sale. And sitting, covered in sweat from moving the joysticks on his Xbox controller, he rolled his eyes and condescendingly said, “So what? You want to get an air conditioner now?”
So, facing a heat wave, during what might be the most miserable summer on earth facing us (summer is only 1.5 months here, don’t judge), my husband still thinks it’s laughable to have AC, because we are Seattlites, and people in the Seattle area just don’t have AC. It’s a fact of life the way birds pooping on you when you take the top down on your convertible is.
And this phrase is versatile. Because while I may have thought of it while trying to convince my husband that regardless of hot or cold or humid or not the rest of the year, when we have miserable summers every so often, he will thank me, it’s not the only applicable use. It can also be used when monsoon season starts (which are the months between January and December) and everyone refuses to carry an umbrella. I will admit to you that we own two umbrellas, which is two more than most native Seattle area people own. But I will also tell you that I have no idea where either one is. One was in my car at some point but I’m not sure where it is now… Though it could just have rolled under the seat. I honestly haven’t touched it in the five years we’ve owned our home, so I can’t be sure on that.
And it works in the setting of winter when it snows, thaws, freezes overnight and then repeats that pattern everyday for three months. And yet no one has snow tires, or chains. I don’t even own a scraper for my car windows! I just sit in my car with the engine on and the heater going until my window thaws enough that I can see below the frost if I drive hunched down, as does most of Seattle. BUT I do own chains. I’ve only used them once, in spite of living in an area that gets four feet of snow each winter (obviously we do not live within the “true” Seattle area). And I didn’t even use them here where I live, but on the pass when I was on my way across the mountains to visit a friend.
Stubborn as a Seattlite isn’t starting to sound so dumb now is it?