Scrambled Eggs, Teen Spirit, and Sleepless While Voting For Donnelly

by Kenneth Rayman on October 1, 2017
Similar to the question about my fascination with Catherine the Great, I’m constantly asked about the reasoning behind me wanting to move to Seattle. Seattle is a place of culture to me. I grew up in the grunge music era made popular by Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but the Seattle music artists I was more familiar with were the Presidents of the United States of America with their song “Peaches” and the Foo Fighters and their Mentos parody video.

I knew of Seattle more, though, from the days of watching the show “Cheers” as a family at night and then the spinoff “Frasier,” set in Seattle, showed constant imagery of Seattle life in coffee, art, and music (little did I understand what high society was and the character flaws of Frasier and Niles that so endeared them to the baristas at the café). The movie “Sleepless in Seattle” showed images of the Space Needle, Pike Place and the weather of Seattle. My parents told me that they found the scenes with Tom Hanks walking into his houseboat drenched hilarious because it “always rained in Seattle.” I began paying attention to the weather maps and when there was an image of a sun over Seattle on Good Morning America’s map, I would point it out to them.

Chris Farley and David Spade explored the state in “Black Sheep” and showed a state full of green trees, clean air, and fun that was a stark contrast to the flat cornfields of Indiana. Even the sports teams had cool names and logos with the “Seahawks” as opposed to the “Colts” and cool player names like Warren Moon and Brian Blades. Little did I know that they struggled to win games at that time, I was more concerned that all the teams in the Midwest stunk with the Bears, Colts, Lions and Bengals all re-building after the 80s, and the Browns (who still haven’t had a winning team in my lifetime).

I didn’t learn of Nirvana until Kurt Cobain’s death; Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam were not allowed to be listened to and it took years before I realized that Dave Growl from the Foo Fighters was the faceless drummer that I saw headbanging in a gymnasium on MTV when I snuck in watching it. But all these things created an image of what Seattle was. And it was reinforced weekly while watching Frasier argue with Roz or debate opera with Niles.

Plus, I was fascinated with the Presidents themselves. I didn’t know what politics were because the history of the country, who they were, and what they did fascinated me only. To me “Republican” and “Democrat” were just words underneath the name of the person. But… there was a state with the name of Washington and he was even on their flag. To kid of 5 years old with that level of interest to read a complete encyclopedia on the institution, and that volunteered to write reports on the Presidents for school credit, I was over the moon.

“Grey’s Anatomy” started another weekly barrage of beautiful scenery of the city and I was old enough that I could choose to move there if I wanted. I fell in love further and had emotion tied to the show that I could understand, unlike with “Frasier.”

It took a few years but I saved up enough to take a week to fly to Seattle and the first view of the skyline from the interstate heading to the hotel made my jaw drop. Actually seeing it and being there was a dream come true. The feel of the city was just as I had imagined it and after four days of touring the city in a bus and a pub crawl, traversing Mt. Rainier, walking Pike Place Market and Seattle Center, and a trip on the Puget Sound ferries, I was riding high on my dream being true.

I knew I wanted to live there after that trip but also that I would need to know what I wanted to do as I couldn’t afford to move aimlessly. Luckily I was given inspiration a year later that brought me to where I am today professionally and I missed it more everyday after that first trip and referred to it as having left my heart behind and as the Emerald of My Heart.

Two years into this dream and there have been ups and downs as any place would have, but nothing could drive me from my Emerald and it’s beauty.