Moving toward, not away

This is my last monthly column for the Capitol Hill Times. I've thoroughly enjoyed writing each month for the paper. But change happens and we all must move on. And moving I am to the sweet, quaint and QUIET (shshsh!) little neighborhood of Wallingford.

I think I'm either getting old or just plain tuckered out from all the noise noise noise of the late night, early week-day morning partiers whooping it up, the police, fire engine and ambulance sirens blaring at all hours of the day; and yes, the crack addicts still hanging out on the front steps of the apartment building I live in because it just happens to be a block away from Deano's Pub and Deano's Grocery. It's right behind a well-known crack house. And for some reason, nothing real is being done about any of it.

But don't get me wrong. I really like where I live. I like my neighbors, I like the tenants in my apartment building, I even like my landlord. He's even a Republican, one of those nice Republicans who isn't so extreme but still fiscally aware and responsible, which as I get older and more responsible myself, I realize is an important principle to have.

And I'm still a Democrat. I like having good conversations with my landlord, a person I can actually reason things out with, someone who is skeptical of the Bush administration but still holds true to Republican core beliefs. He's also giving me back my damage deposit, which is more than I can say for prior landlords who are Democrats. But I digress.

That's a bad habit of mine, digression. I've been working lately on progressing instead of digressing and, well, it's working. Progress doesn't mean perfection but it does mean, to me anyway, acceptance. Acceptance of the good and the bad, which Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says is essential to experience life fully. And since I've spent the last three years working on acceptance, I think I've got some perspective now. Thus, instead of running away, I'm running to, with the frame of mind that you're never late until you get there. I read that somewhere.

Back to my point. I like where I live. I like my current pad, with its hard wood floors and the cute little dining area and the deep bath tub with hot water that never runs out. And I'm grateful to be moving on from something I like, to something I will like even better.

I won't be out of sight or out of mind. I'll still keep abreast of the happenings on the No. 1 hill in Seattle, and visit my favorite 8 Limbs Yoga on Pike Street (I love plugging them), and Madison Market and Trader Joe's and Victrola café. But it's time for me to move into a cute little MIL, which means to me just one special word - quiet.

Then again, maybe not so quiet, what with the Summer Nights Concert Series now happening at Gas Works Park, something the neighborhood of Wallingford was never brought into discussion about. I find it strange that a city that usually takes too much time to consider everyone's opinion on something would now go behind the backs of a whole neighborhood to push something through.

Is the pendulum now swinging high in the opposite extreme when it comes to decision making in Seattle? Is there some strange influence from our federal leadership trickling down?

In any case, the crack problem still exists at Deano's. (Am I digressing again?) There's a bunch of talk about tearing down Deano's and the house behind it, but for years now, nothing has developed besides, well, besides nothing. And what is actually being done to help move us in the direction to getting crack off the streets in the first place? Tearing down Deano's won't do anything about the fact that somewhere crack is being made and sold on a regular basis. And adults both young and old have been smoking it on the corner of my block way longer than the three years I lived here.

When I pass by that corner on foot, the older ones look me up and down. The younger ones seem to behave with a bit more dignity and respect, possibly because they still feel like they have a future. As the old saying goes, the disease progresses as one gets older. I keep hearing stuff about these angry, gun toting dangerous teenagers. Who do they have to look up to? Old crack addicts?

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits." I wish these kids had someone like Martin Luther King to look up to now.

I hope to God some of them listen to Tavis Smiley or Bill Moyers or David Brancachio or Oprah Winfrey or even our very own Christine Gregoire. Our angry teenagers won't have a future if nothing keeps being done about the poor, disassociated and shabbily educated people of our country, be they black, brown, red or white.

So I'm moving to Wallingford. It's my way of taking better care of my self, of acknowledging that yes, I do have a future and I want to do my part so that others might, too, have a future. So good-bye for now. I wish you serenity this new year (and in my experience, serenity isn't boring. It's actually really fun).

"When we become more insightful and compassionate about how we ourselves get hooked, we spontaneously feel more tenderness for the human race. Our motivation for practicing begins to's not just for ourselves. It's for our companions, our children, our bosses - it's for the whole human dilemma." From "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chodron.

Brownywn Doyle can be reached at

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