Today is the day I anger everyone! Good read:

America’s Mood Map: An Interactive Guide to the United States of Attitude

Seattle

Hurricane Ridge
Just climbing a mountain. NBD.

My office in New York works closely with the office in the Seattle area. At our recent Christmas party, one of the New York editors was asking me and another guy who used to live in Seattle what it’s like over there. I explained that Seattleites, to generalize, are incredibly passive-aggressive. “You waste so much time trying to figure out what the person you’re talking to is trying to say.” My boss nodded in agreement. He has an aggressive New Jersey side. He gets things done, but he also has a personal touch. He doesn’t have time for games. I’m guessing he was very frustrated during his Seattle years.

I used to say that someone in Seattle could be having a heart attack on the sidewalk and everyone would just go around without making eye contact. “Well, I didn’t know if he wanted help, so I didn’t want to bother him,” they’d explain I haven’t actually seen this happen. It’s just an extreme example I made up.

On the positive side, Seattleites know how to have fun and kick back. No one I know works 80 hours regularly. They play 80 hours a week. Everyone has climbed a mountain. Probably in the rain. That’s another thing. Nothing stops a Seattleite. Why wouldn’t we go hiking in the rain? And we stop at the Ballard (outdoor) Market on the way home. Even when it snows and the city and its residents are mocked by East Coasties for shutting down, Seattleites put on their warmest REI jacket over their North Face fleece and go out and play in the streets. Seattleites are a loyal bunch. They turn out for the Mariners, even though the team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2001. They love their city.

Minneapolis

Minnesota State Fair
A place where women’s heads get carved in a dairy product.

The Minnesota Nice theory isn’t a lie. People in Minneapolis are nice. They don’t want to be a bother to anyone. A Minnesotan could be at the hospital, having a heart attack, and he or she would try to tell the nurse to see the guy with the paper cut first. “Oh, you go right ahead.” Again, I haven’t actually seen this. But I would say, in general, Minnesotans don’t stand up for themselves. They passively take what’s given.

On the positive side, Minnesotans are self-reliant. They chop down their own trees and heat their homes with fires they built in the fireplace. They are also good at building their network. Sometimes it amazes me that my brother has a guy for every situation. He borrowed an excavator from a buddy to build a sandbox for his son. I mean, who knows someone who owns an excavator? My brother apparently. Since I’m using Domonic as my example, he has also driven all over the Northland, helping friends and acquaintances tow vehicles or do repairs. I admire the no-problem mentality of the Midwest.

New York

High Line Park
Looks like a cold, aggressive bunch, right?

Ahh, New York. Everyone seems to think they have New Yorkers figured out, even if they visited Midtown one. “It’s a rat race.” People are corporate robots.” “People are aggressive and cold.” All myths.

New York attracts a certain kind of resident. They’re driven. They have something to prove. They don’t settle for second best. They’re arrogant. The unofficial city motto is, “I’m a New Yorker. I’m better than every body else.” (And I’m breaking all New Yorker rules by putting that on the record.) What I love about New Yorkers is that everyone here has a dream. They didn’t come here by accident. They’ll work 80 hours a week to accomplish. And then they’ll go home and work on the book they’re writing and go running in the park because they’re training for the New York Marathon. Oh, and they’ve all seen the latest movies and are caught up on the talker TV show of the season.

In order to do it all, they have cleaning, laundry, Seamless, bagel and coffee people. Unlike in Minnesota where you do favors for your network, in New York, you hire your network. You also buy pennants by throwing money at your baseball team. Truth. (Yankees suck.) New Yorkers are the biggest princesses I’ve ever met. They refuse outside when it’s cold or snowing or raining. I wonder if I’ll see anyone besides the guys who shovel the sidewalk in front of the 99 cent store across the street before March.

It’s true that you can live with 8 million people and still be lonely. In general, New Yorkers lack confidence in my opinion. They mask it by being arrogant and/or focusing on career success. New Yorkers are real people with real dreams, feelings and insecurities

I like to think I take a little bit from each of my hometowns. New York wrote over the passive-aggressive and just plain passive sides of my past. I have the self-resiliency from my Minnesota upbringing. And from Seattle, I took loyalty. If I’m having a heart attack, get the f*** out of my way! I’m seeing the doctor before you and your weak paper cut!

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