009. Farewell to Yet Another Adopted Homeland. Leah Mueller

Goodbye, Pacific Northwest. I’d like to be polite (because I know you need that) and say this break-up is my fault, but it’s not me. It’s you.

Goodbye tent cities along the freeway, on the sidewalk, and underneath bridges. New tents pop up every day, reminding me to pay rent or die.

Goodbye rain that starts in September and ends in July and is replaced by fires that threaten to burn down entire forests.

Goodbye clusters of pissed-off motorists, chasing too little road with too many cars. Everyone wants to get both hands inside that money pie before it disappears.

Seriously, goodbye I-5. How many years have you stolen from me with your knotted-up traffic?  How many times have I seen those red lines across my GPS screen, stretching for miles? How many points added to my husband’s blood pressure as he lumbered to and from work in an overcrowded bus? 70 miles roundtrip, because he couldn’t afford to rent an apartment in the city of his birth.

Goodbye, Jeff Bezos. We could live with Bill. He’s a corporatist, but he pays his staff. Bill is like a well-worn REI sweater. He is old Seattle. You are the face of new Seattle the way Donald Trump is the face of the United States. You couldn’t exist without your grasping facile citizens.

Goodbye surly humans who live in the rain all year and despise other humans.

Goodbye exorbitant utility bills. I can’t believe it costs me $200 a month to use electricity and water during the summer, in an area where no one ever uses air conditioning or waters their lawns.

Goodbye smug, neoliberal citizens who think you got a good deal because you paid only half a million dollars for your 2,000 square foot house in Tacoma.

Goodbye jackasses who believe all you need to do to be compassionate is put a rainbow flag on your fence. When it comes to bombing innocent citizens in other countries, however, you’re not quite as tolerant.

Goodbye cell phones everywhere. I almost became a robot myself. I’m afraid I might be too set in my ways. I panic when I think about living in a town filled only with land lines. What if I miss something?

Goodbye chronic bronchitis. Goodbye pain in my 60-year-old knees, my shoulders, and my back. My torn hamstring. The damp ache that sinks to the marrow and never leaves. The rapacious black mold. The ice-cold bottle of hand lotion beside my bed, useless for massage.

Goodbye Pacific Northwest. We used to love each other. You’ve changed into someone I no longer recognize. I understand why you started to bathe more frequently, then began wearing spiffy outfits and drinking craft cocktails. But you run with a ridiculous crowd and never come around the old neighborhood. Your real friends miss you. I miss you too, but I’m moving on. I’ll understand if you forget to write.

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