Melancholia (a rant, a sigh, a tear)

On Saturday, we went out to our car at 8am to go to the breast cancer walk with our 2 year old and discovered that someone had smashed the window in overnight and gone through the contents of our glove box and center console, although there was absolutely nothing of value to take – they only took some snacks we left in the car for the kids. This is a recurring problem both in Seattle and especially in our neighborhood, and the police feel their hands are tied by laws that state they’re to bring the perps in (when they catch them), fingerprint them, and release them. Earlier this year we caught a blatant daytime robbery on camera including the criminals’ faces, vehicle, and license plate number. To date, as far as I am aware, the only step the police took to arrest the men in question was to impound their van, and that was only after I hounded them repeatedly and went to the media.

I dutifully posted the details on Nextdoor (a community web site). Later, I responded to others’ comments with the statement that nothing would happen to the losers that did this because the way the laws are now, the police cannot imprison the criminals responsible, so they will just keep doing it, knowing there are no repercussions, so I guess we may as well just get used to it.

I received this reply:

Dick Hall  from Columbia City East 1d ago

‘losers’–no kidding. probly lost out on pre-natal nutrition, one or two loving parents, any single good role model, magnet school or after-school activity; probly never heard a bedtime story, been to gymboree, been anyone’s number-one focus or reason for being. never rode in a baby jogger or new suv, eaten organic or artisanal anything, touched a quartz countertop or had any conception or way to dream of anything after franklin or beach. surely lost out forever on the obscene housing market that’s our golden ticket to chatting here.

wonder what laws might have to change to change any of that? maybe bernie sanders knows.

all the wealth and comfort just up the hill from the comparative squalor in which (i’d guess) they live, and of all the baubles and trinkets they dumped outta yer toy bins they took food.

may as well get used to it. losers.

This affected me far more than it should because I feel that, in general, I am a very compassionate and generous person, and that when I die, that is the one adjective I hope people use to describe me, more than any other, is kind. For a stranger to imply that I was entitled, heartless, and lacking in empathy both saddened and angered me.

Later another man replied and said he grew up poor, and for this man to equate poverty with crime was thoughtless. He went on to say that, like it or not, there are losers in this world.

“Dick Hall” – who, remember, I do not know but who is a nearby neighbor that I could potentially eat at the same restaurants with or bump into at the grocery store – had this to say:

Dick Hall  from Columbia City East 1d ago

so… Mr. Dickerson… i am… just a guy who’s been given a lot… lots of love, and attention, and advantages; good life, education, a mortgage… who in my time in se has known little kids living with none of it, growing up without any of the things i first mentioned or a lot of things… including birth families. one kid was having a lot of trouble twenty years ago, and if he never cracked a side window it’s kind of a miracle; if he did, i’d like some consideration given to what every day was like for him when he was a little boy before anybody inconvenienced by it calls him or anyone who came up like him a loser. a thief? if he stole, by definition, and subject (at least in theory) to punishment (in lieu of love and resources). a loser? easy to say for anyone who’s had what i’ve had… and on their part an easy contempt that i find… cruel, and inflammatory.

if the spd said 40 years ago that if you live in mt. baker you have to expect crime, it’s because of the close-range disparity between the beautiful boulevard i always love being on at the top of the hill and what look by comparison like ghettos in some places near the bottom. no hate–it’s a plain observation of a sharp contrast zillow would make clear. the one time i chased a would-be robber from the bomb-proof basement door he was trying to smash in it was on a house next to me that had just been flipped and come to look conspicuously like a lot more money than any other house around. “endless statistics have been gathered… which seem to show conclusively that property crimes are largely the result of the unequal distribution of wealth,” clarence darrow said a long time ago. i don’t see what adding the word ‘loser’ to that deterministic macro reality does that’s not really… really… ugly.

that’s who i am. peace.

So basically more insults about me, more about what an enlightened, openhearted, and compassionate person he is, and then closing with “peace,” which is completely the opposite of his first comment, which was sarcastic and abrasive. I guess he has peace for the guy who grew up poor, but the entitled bitch in Mt. Baker only gets his contempt.

I am still carrying this around two days later, still feeling sad and judged and angry. I have run into a lot of this in Seattle – bleeding heart types on their high horses who are happy to tell you what an awful person you are in the anonymity of the internet, but will smile and act like your best friend in real life. And perhaps this is only because I have spent the majority of my adult life here, but nonetheless, it doesn’t jibe with the frankness (that some consider meanness) of the east coast.

I have so far refrained from making any reply to Dick Hall, but I badly want to say, “Dick, why don’t we meet in person? You know nothing about me, who I am, or what my life is like. You don’t know how or where I grew up, or what my stances on anything are. You feel compelled not just to judge me, but to judge me publicly and loudly, which implies that you feel you’re above me. Personally, I feel that on the day one discovers that a criminal has cost her both time and money – and also, again, reinforced her frustration with the crime in her neighborhood, which she has a reasonable expectation to feel safe in – she should be given some latitude in her anger and violation, and be allowed a few choice words to describe the criminal who has violated her personal property before she is expected to find the compassion in her heart to forgive this criminal and reflect on how terrible his life must be. Apparently, you do not feel the same way. So I would very much like to meet you in person so that you can hurl the insults you feel appropriate my way, all the time remaining Zen and peaceful and forgiving of everyone and everything. I must apologize in advance, as I likely will not behave the same.”

After all this went down, TWO people posted to say we should just leave our doors unlocked, and we won’t have to worry about getting our window smashed.


ARE. YOU FUCKING. SERIOUS. How about I leave my front door unlocked, too, so I don’t have to worry about burglars waking me up when they come in to steal my property? Should I lay prone and silent with my legs open if someone attempts to rape me? I mean you have to be goddamn kidding me! This is not a solution, this is apathy because property crime in Washington is the highest in the country and no one here seems inclined to do a good goddamned thing about it! I don’t even have words for how angry this makes me, how absurd and inane this is, or how badly, how very badly, it makes me want to move somewhere else immediately.

So basically, between the car break in, the judgmental jackass (gosh hope he doesn’t see this, he’ll have a whole new soap box rant for me) on Nextdoor, and the suggestion that we should just accept the crime in Seattle and essentially aid the criminals in committing it, I am just done. Anyone who knows me knows that I have never considered Seattle “home.” Other than my husband and children, I have no family here, and it took me about 7 – 10 years to make a group of reliable friends. I have certainly been happy here at times, but there was never a moment where I thought, “This is my home, this is where I am going to live, raise my children, and die.” I have had best friends here come and go, and I have spent a lot of time lonely. When you couple the above occurrences with the onset of fall and winter, the gray skies and daily rain, and my mood problems in general, I actually feel desperate, trapped, the way I haven’t hear probably since the days when I lived in Tacoma. As I finish my fourteenth year here, I can’t help but hope that it will be one of my last.

Julian and I have spoken many times about moving: where, how, when. We were talking seriously about it when I was diagnosed, and of course decided at that point that we should put any major life changes on the back burner until we’d made it through this. Unfortunately, this sense of feeling trapped and desperate is not helping me cope especially well with my health.

Those of my friends back east will read all this and cheer, “YES! MOVE BACK HOME!” and those of you in Seattle may shake your heads and think, “Wah wah wah, Kate’s back on her anti-Seattle trip,” and that reaction is valid and understandable, especially if you love Seattle, which I know many of you do. And I’ll get through this and feel content enough here again once I do, but in the meantime: melancholia. And frustration.

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