Ask any Seattle native if they’ve noticed these things, and I guarantee you the answer will be yes.
I still remember the days when the Seattle skyline only had the Space Needle towering above it. Now it’s barely visible from anywhere. The explosion of tech companies here led to mass construction of downtown high-rises and skyscrapers. People moved in from all over the world to get a piece of the pie, and Seattle suffered for it. Now it barely resembles what I remember it to be.
Corporate growth has expanded to the neighboring cities as well: obviously, Bellevue expands as Microsoft and other tech mega-corps grow. Renton, Lynnwood, Kirkland, Everett, and even Kent feel the effects of this bloat.
With this explosive growth comes rising costs of living, and consequently, the ejection of citizens who live on normal wages. Those with enough margin are pushed out of the city into the suburbs. The less fortunate ones end up on the streets. The old Seattle — the lively, calm, clean one — is no more.
Instead what we have is a massive change in culture. The Seattle freeze is dying out, there’s litter in the streets like never before, and drivers are more aggressive than they used to be. But more importantly, Seattle looks less White and more Asian.
And I’m really conflicted on that point. For one, I’m excited that I get to see more people who look, sound, and smell like me. But on the other, I’m saddened and frustrated by the fact that these new residents won’t have to learn to navigate living as a super minority. It’s selfish, I know. It’s messed up, I know. But it’s something I lived through, and something that can’t be removed from my memories.
Anyway, there have been two images I like to use to metaphorize (yes, it’s a word, I just checked) the growth of Seattle. They’re quite morbid, so be warned.
One is that of the pregnant woman, complete with stretch marks, whose baby has grown so big and so quickly that the mother has died. The baby continues to grow, however, consuming the flesh of the body surrounding it, and with no sign of release.
The second is similar, except it’s a cadaver with all its holes plugged up and nowhere for the inside gas to go. It’s ready to burst at any second, but there’s no telling when.
My last thought on this is that I’ve personally met a ridiculous number of people who have moved here in the past two years. It might sound like I’m blaming you for these changes. I’m not. I’m not blaming anyone, really. I’m not blaming capitalism, either. Rather, I see this as a stepping stone in the imminent and inevitable end of society as we know it.
On that note, have a good day/night/whatever! Tune in next month when I discuss my thoughts on why that is. I’ve been promising it for a while. I should probably get it out there before it actually happens.