Before I launch into this vignette of the bizarre quotes that people have uttered in my presence, I preface it with the fact that while these are quotes I’ve heard in Seattle, I tend to be the girl who gets that person talking to her a lot. Because I don’t mind talking to strangers or learning something new about people, I’ll take a little credit for inviting a little bit of the weirdness to come my way, whether I realize it or not. This is entitled “Part 1” because I’m confident I can get another entry of this written if I let enough time pass here. That said, this is a compilation of Seattle phraseology I’ve heard in my first few months here:
“Are you vegan or vegetarian?”
As if eating meat is not a viable option. This phrase has been a reoccurring theme in my short time here, and every time the words fall out of someone’s mouth, I respond by taking a second to blink blankly at the person speaking to me, waiting quietly for him to tack on the carnivorous option to my dietary needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with people who are vegetarians. Vegans, I can’t quite wrap my head around as much from a health perspective, because I feel like they must be missing a lot of essential nutrients on a daily basis. But whatever, to each his own.
That said, I’m usually chill unless someone starts pushing an agenda on me. I don’t have the willpower to ever stop eating meats and cheeses. I’d sell my soul on the black market for a good steak or cheeseburger, so when people give it up as if it’s not a big deal, I can’t comprehend it. And a world without cheese? Why even bother living? If you’ve ever been to my home, you know I’m never without an abundant cheese drawer. The best discovery I’ve made in recent weeks is the grocery store I go to has a $5 and under fancy imported cheese section that I now beeline to slobber over as soon as I walk into the building. Like maybe the five minutes it would take me to get my shopping done before perusing the fancy cheeses would cause me to miss out on that aged Gouda I’ve been eyeing.
So when asked if I’m vegan or vegetarian, I always respond, “I eat animals daily.” Sorry. But not really. I don’t have the willpower to apologize for my meat eating vice.
“Are you the devil?”
I was recently in a bar, and as usual, something happened, and I ended up talking to complete strangers. This time it happened to be in the technology nerd heavy area called Belltown, so everyone’s had a weird conversation or two there. I have a cream colored phone case that says, “Speak of the devil” with little red horns and a red tail sweeping across the top. When I’m pretending to be a polite member of society who isn’t dependent on technology, but in reality who may as well have her iPhone glued to her hand, I flip my phone screen side down so I’m not getting distracted by anything that pops up on it (see the previous paragraph on the lack of willpower theme running through this blog).
My phone is upside down on the table and this guy looks at me and goes, “What does that mean?
I explain that it’s a common idiom. Then I start to feel awkward when I’m trying to explain what it means, as literally, I’ve rocked this case for about a year and only received compliments, and not once had anyone cross my path who didn’t know what it meant. After my convoluted explanation, the guy looks at me and says, “Are you the devil?” I used my go-to, blink in disbelief, stupefied stare on him.
I wanted to yell, “This is Kate fucking Spade. Please don’t question it.” But I thought that would be a bad idea. Then I thought I should say “Yes, just call me Lucifer,” but figured there would be more follow up questions that I wasn’t really down for answering. Plus there’s gotta be some bad juju that comes from posing as the devil. So I resolved to do the only thing I knew how to do, politely explain that I am not, in fact, Beelzebub, and excuse myself from the conversation.
“What’s your spirit animal?”
I laughed out loud at this one, and responded, “What’s yours?” Clearly if you ask that kind of a question, you have to have an answer yourself.
“Well I was told I was a crow, but I’m not sure I believe it.”
To be fair, this was a friend of mine who followed up by explaining that everyone at her job asks her that all the time and was wondering what people’s answers were. I told her to give me some time, performed a Google search, and informed her that I was an elk according to the internet.
But I figured if I was one spirit animal strongly, it would show up on multiple tests. So the next time I was a snake, and the time after that I was a honey badger, so I gave her the three choices and told her that I still don’t have a spirit animal. I figured that’s the type of thing that must appear to one in a dream or something. Probably not accurately found via Buzzfeed quiz.
“Do you want a banana pepper?”
Normal quote in a farmer’s market or grocery store. Not normal while sitting at my neighborhood pub. He proceeded to not only pull out a bag of banana peppers, but lined up about 5 different kinds of peppers on the table in front of my group of friends.
I wondered what possesses someone to try and make friends with banana peppers, but then I realized that it worked well once my friends started talking to him and learned that his friend worked down the road at the local market. Still a weird place to offer up your food to complete strangers. My paranoid, “trust no one” instincts wondered if there was a new tactic of slipping someone a roofie in local produce.
He ate one because he needed to prove himself, and I felt better about it, plus I was with a group of eight so I figured one of them would go down before me. So we all tried the local produce and the guy who worked there informed us about where his stand was that we should go to in order to get fresh and local fruit and veg. Weird pitch for sure to get new customers, but I respect the fact that he’s constantly marketing his business.
I walked home with my group of friends later that evening, thinking of how quintessentially Seattle that moment was, and the fact that no one batted an eye must mean people here embrace that as a part of the norm. I secretly hoped to myself that no matter how long I live here, there will never be a day where I simply blindly accept the times strangers offer up local produce in a bar or accuse me of being the devil.