It’s been a bit melancholy to leave the Rainier Valley, specifically Brighton, and 98118. I really enjoyed our 4 years living there and being a part of southeast Seattle. It’s an area that gets short shrift from the political establishment (except for when the mayor runs for re/election) and gets casual racist bullshit from Seattle’s lefty white population up north. Having landed in the U-District when I came to Seattle and having moved to East Ballard, I was only theoretically aware of the dismissive nonsense thrown SE Seattle’s way. It wasn’t until we moved there, of course, that it became clear how much of a privileged bubble much of North Seattle is. It also became clear how large this city is as well. Popular narratives about Seattle tend to focus on a very compact patch of it, all north of I-90, and tend to universalize and homogenize.
The only downside to living in Brighton was that, at times, it felt like living in the frontier. I spend much of my days either working in Fremont or on the UW campus and I hang out on Capitol Hill and in Georgetown. Even Georgetown was a trek from Brighton, owing to the need to traverse the entire latitudinal cross section of Beacon Hill and crossing I-5–certainly not convenient by anything other than a car.
When time came to move, we definitely wanted to stay south of I-90 (or Madison). We found our place on the very west edge of Mid Beacon Hill, the last street before the Hill drops off onto I-5. We are in between Capitol Hill and Georgetown on the Metro #60 bus, which is just about perfect. I’m getting the hang of calling Beacon Hill my home and rooting my own South Seattle partisanship in it. At the same time, it’s just literally up the street from Georgetown. And my affinity for Georgetown is still strong. So I sometimes jokingly refer to my neighborhood as Georgetown Heights.
After all of our unpacking and cleaning and organizing and hauswarming, I went to All-City Coffee the other day, where I do a lot of reading. The following conversation transpired:
Barista0: how’ve you been? We haven’t seen you in while.
Me: I guess I’ve been “busy”. We bought a house.
Barista1: Congratulations! the one you were talking about?
Me: No, we sadly left Rainier Valley
Barista1: aww, we’re not neighbors anymore…
Me: Sadly. We’re just up the hill now, though. Up Lucille and a few blocks over–
Barista0: Georgetown Heights?
Barista1: that’s what some people call it.
Me: *laughs* That’s what I’ve been calling it too.
Apparently, I’m not the only one with an affinity… or Georgetown Envy. On the other hand, my ZIP code is now 98108, that of Georgetown Station.