You’re not from around here, are ya?

“I don’t know what it is with us! I mean, I moved from Michigan to get away from people from Michigan!”
No you didn’t…
“You’re right. I moved to get away from them. All the cool ones are here!”

So speaks M., a barista at my favorite coffee house. She’s yet another Michigan-transplant from yet anotherr small town (a Michigan specialty, I swear) and a graduate from the college I went to.
Had we met back in Michigan, our conversation would have been exceptoinaly brief: a nod and a passing smile, “Oh yeah, I’m from…” and that would probably have been that. Here, though, it’s a reunion, and we spent a good five minutes in rapt conversation, talking about what it was like here, enjoying some proper Midwestern personalities and all the things that we had in common.
OK, it’s not that much, but it’s a strange kind of connection.
These “reunions” are funny, every time. We all move to Seattle to get away, to find something new, but the people I meet are always too willing to engage in a friendly round of nostalgia. Especially us small-towners, who seem to know where you’re from. Ludington? Yep. Hell? You got it. Charlevoix? Been there. Hemlock? Born and (ill-)bred. Chesaning? Too many times.
And so another connection is forged, 1800 miles away from where we were. God I love this city.
Seattle is a city of impromptu reunions. It feels like we’re all from somewhere else. After all, the question is never: “So, were you born here?”
Truth be told, I sometimes think that Seattle exists on a soap bubble edge of reality, like Shangri-La, brought about by consensual imagination. Or Schrodinger’s Cat writ large, it exists in a cloud of quantum probabilities until you come to visit.
Then I get stuck in traffic :)

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