As recently as two years ago, the idea of fleeing my neighborhood on this weekend would have seemed sacrilegious. But time flows faster than normal on Capitol Hill these days, as decades-old edifices get gutted and rebuilt from the inside, a new, hideous, aluminum monstrosity rising from the ashes. A neighborhood that was once known as the cool, gay, artistic part of town, that I used to call Seattle’s raging heart, is now the kind of place where some asshole thinks it’s a good idea to stage a Heterosexual Pride Parade.
And the bros. So many bros. Enough to nearly ruin a Flaming Lips set at the Capitol Hill Block Party two years ago, as the dickishness of the crowd threatened to overwhelm the pure joy radiating from the stage.
So, I’m done. I’m fleeing. For the first time since shortly before I moved to the neighborhood in 2007, I’m skipping the Block Party entirely. I’m in Portland, having driven more than three hours to see a band that played yesterday, in the middle of the street, literally around the corner from my home. Instead of seeing Wye Oak on Pike Street, I’m seeing them at the Doug Fir.
Am I sad? Of course. I wish it made sense to stay home. I wish I could enjoy my neighborhood, the way I used to, but the changes have made it intolerable. This weekend, I’m in Portland. Two weekends from now, New York. The weekend after that, Boston. My summer has turned into an unintentional tour of all the places I’ve loved, or think I probably could, even as I’m preparing to pay off my mortgage. I don’t know what the outcome will be.
For now, for this moment, I’m happy to wait. To live in the swirly sounds of Wye Oak’s Shriek, far away from the disaster area that I call home.