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22 April 2013
Reason #1298 that I love living in the Seattle area (even though I don't live there any more): You can't out-thank a Seattle-ite. That's one of the first things I noticed when I moved out there in 1993. No matter what you thank them for, they'll find a way to thank you back, over and over again. I shared this one time with a colleague at the Southcenter Waldenbooks where I was working in Seattle at the time. She happened to be a native to the area. Her response? "Thank you for sharing that with me."
I just got off the phone with my credit union out there--BECU. I still have my accounts out there and will have until I die, no doubt. It's the best credit union EVER in my book. I had to giggle by the time I got off the phone b/c of the thank you contest we were having. It was downright funny. They are just so darned nice. I used to get a kick out of my customers in the Seattle area Waldenbooks stores. You could always tell the natives, and the ones who had been there long enough to have been assimilated thoroughly, from the transplants who just refused to get with the friendly and grateful program. The Seattle-ites would keep thanking you until you were both pretty well exhausted.
The politeness went beyond thanking too. Jean Godden, a longtime Seattle Times writer wrote about the politeness level of Seattle folks. She mentioned the 4-way stop phenomenon where you could just about pass out from all the politeness. "You go." "Oh no, you first." It was simply hell if four cars with Seattle drivers got there at the same time. It could take an hour for someone to proceed through the intersection. At least that's how it was when I first got there. By the time I moved away, things had shifted somewhat with all the folks moving there from other places. Some simply didn't assimilate well.
Opening doors for other people was pretty hysterical too sometimes. Men used to look at me askance when I opened doors for them in North Carolina, but they didn't feel at all threatened by such behavior in Seattle. It was simply the norm. If you got there first, you opened the door, not only for your companions, but for whoever else came along while you were standing there with your hand on the door. Then sometimes the door person would switch to someone else who noticed that you'd been there awhile. Usually there ensued a few moments of friendly banter during the changing of the guard. I love that kind of polite friendliness. I loved it even more that I fit right in there in a way I never did in Florida or North Carolina. Florida is getting much friendlier though, for which I'm, you guessed it, thankful.
Beth Mitchum is the author of seven novels, two collections of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, one collection of spiritual essays, and one music CD. She is also the editor and contributing poet in the Sappho's Corner Poetry Series, which now includes: Tulips Touching, Wet Violets, and Roses Read. All of her works are available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, BethMitchum.com, BookshopWithoutBorders.com, and numerous other online bookstores. They are also available by special order through nearly any independent book store. Go to http://bethmitchum.com for more information or to her author page at Amazon.com. First chapters of her novels and memoirs are available at bethmitchum.com. Beth is also the founder and senior editor for UltraVioletLove Publishing and the many websites run by this entity.
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