Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Capitol Hill. Population: Me

Last Saturday I stood in my friend's father's ultra-modern-chic kitchen, cooking my famous spaghetti sauce and praising her recent decision to pack up her things, leave her job and her vintage studio apartment on Capitol Hill and move to San Francisco to be with a boy she didn't even know a year ago. To others, it may seem impractical, but to me, it's the exact kind of bold "fuck it" move I wish I'd been adventurous enough to make in my twenties.

"I mean, I graduated college and I moved to Idaho and I bought a house there because I thought I was going to live there forever," I managed to spit out through my laughter. It's funny to me now because it's so ludicrous. I can see now that I'm just not the type of person who will ever want to stay in one place forever—at least, not in the foreseeable future.

My own impending move is proof of this. Just over a year ago I moved to Alki Beach and fell crazy in love, vowing never to part from its laid back atmosphere and unbelievable beauty. I was, and still am, enamored with that beauty. I've seen quite a bit of this great country and I believe nothing compares to where I live. Whenever I was having a bad day or suffered one of 2011's many emotional setbacks, I could take a short walk and see so many beautiful things I couldn't feel sorry for myself anymore.

And this is what I see when I cross the West Seattle bridge, my favorite view in the world that pics don't do justice:

I will miss you most of all.

I loved that it was fairly quiet, a little beachy oasis mere minutes from the city. I loved that I could be downtown in fifteen minutes but come home to my little piece of paradise. I loved everything about it.

But reality has set in. Yes, I'm close to downtown, but the commute is a bitch. I work a few miles from home, but I never know how long it will take me to get there because the West Seattle Bridge can be a nightmare. Then there are the trains in SoDo that fuck my world up on a regular basis, including one I have to beat every single night or sit there fuming for twenty minutes while it gets loaded. And when the viaduct is closed for some huge construction project that's going until seemingly the end of time, I can forget about going anywhere in a timely manner.

If I want to go downtown and have drinks (which, let's face it, I do often—I may as well take advantage of the fact that I am 30 and childless) I have to spend $60 in taxi fare just to get anywhere. Frankly, it's bullshit. That, and a variety of other factors, led to a decision to let our beachside apartment go. It was a tough decision, but as soon as it was made, I felt the overwhelming sense of relief I do when I know something is right.

West Seattle was an incredible place to spend our first year in the city. It was a great way to slowly immerse ourselves into city life and, quite frankly, it was a fabulous place to be broke. Running along the beach is always free, as is sitting in the grass with a good book on a sunny day.

 But we're not new here anymore, and we still have a lot of exploring left to do. There are restaurants I want to try, bars I want to drink in, coffee I have to sample and bookstores I need to browse. So I set out to find the impossible: an affordable living space on Capitol Hill (Seattle's most populated neighborhood) with all the amenities my spoiled ass is accustomed to, like a dishwasher.

I found the apartment complex doing a random search for "Seattle rentals." I was instantly enamored with the close proximity to a Trader Joe's, there's an Anytime Fitness on site, pets are allowed, and it's just far enough back on Capitol Hill to be a few blocks away from all the ruckus….but still close enough to walk to all the ruckus. In fact, I could walk pretty much anywhere. Better yet, the rent prices seemed to be in a range that wouldn't make us pee our pants.

I fired off an email with the subject line "I would like to live here, please." The apartment manager replied right away to tell me that, sorry, all she had were studios. She also told me that the rent prices listed on the website were incorrect (and not in my favor). My hopes of a spacious two bedroom were dashed. I looked at other places, but wasn't having much luck.

Just when I'd resigned myself to living in a hole-in-the-wall and hauling my clothes to a Laundromat, I got an email from the manager. Someone was moving out of a one bedroom with den unit, which is apparently a very rare occurrence. The rent, while still a lot higher than our current rate, was just low enough to get me to show up for a building tour. I was enamored, both with the building and the apartment manager who's a burlesque dancer on the weekends and more hip than I could ever hope to be. I was really sold when I saw the view from the rooftop deck:

OMG, you guys

It's a fabulous apartment. At last I will have two bathrooms again to store the ten million towels I own. I will have a lovely balcony view, a place to put guests (I thought no one would want to stay with us once we downsized from a house to an apartment…how wrong I was), and a walk in closet.  I mean, just, yes.

But this time, I am older and wiser. I am not going to declare that "this is it." I know I will not want to live on Capitol Hill forever. I know there will come a day where I grow tired of the hipsters, tired of the endless crowds, the lack of parking, the noise and the constant commotion. But that doesn't diminish my excitement. It just makes me excited to appreciate every single day that I will be immersed in the depths of the city I love so dearly, taking it all in.


Stevie said...

I lived on Capitol Hill for four years. I miss it every single day!

Also, my brother is the manager of that Trader Joe's. You should stop in and say hello :-)

Andy and I are up on Capitol Hill all the time. We'll have to meet up for drinks and/or dinner soon!

Peabea said...

Congrats sound very happy with how life has been so far, and it sounds like it's just going to get better. I've found that 60 hit us before we knew it so enjoy every it seems you do. Happy for you guys.


Anonymous said...

Is there overnight parking for me? And should I bring my own air mattress? Cause I'm really, actually spending July 4 there. That was not a joke on your FB.



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