Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Defense of Trees

or, Ah crap, just move already; I'm tired of emailing you and want to have coffee in person.
by Bethany Maines

So I’m trying to persuade my one-time college roommate, and old fiend The Hobo (not her real name), to pack up her stick and kerchief and move back to Washington State after graduate school.  The Hobo happily attends the illustriously ivy-league institute of Columbia.  That’s right, Columbia, the one in New York.  And I want her to move.  Leave.  Vamoose.  Exit that city stage right.  Yeah… I know what you’re thinking: my odds are not good. 

Manhattan has all night food delivery.  Museums on every block.  Night clubs that stay open till four in the morning.  Better zombie culture.  I’m not sure why that one’s important, but she seems to enjoy it, so who am I to argue?  Manhattan has street vendors, Broadway, fashion, and every movie that does’t blow up LA, blows up New York.  New York has EVERYTHING.

Washington has… trees.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of trees.  And in a grudge match, I would bet on our trees against the trees of any other state in the Union.  (Does your state have Madrona trees?  Coniferous AND deciduous trees?  Rainforest and desert trees?  Yeah… didn’t think so.)  But let’s face it, trees and a fairly decent cultural scene are never going to stack up against New York, New York.

To put it another way, if New York were a man, he’d be Brad Pitt (occasionally the alcoholic, filthy Brad Pitt from Snatch, but still, Brad Pitt).  And if Washington were a man he’d be Jim Caviezel, the dude most well known for playing Jesus.  Just for the record, Jim Caviezel is adorable and was born in Mt. Vernon, Washington (Ok, yes, so was Glenn Beck, but there’s nothing we can do about that).  The problem is that nobody wants to date Jesus except for nuns.  Girls want date dangerous bad boys who make grand gestures.  They don’t want to have a fling with a steady guy who shows up on time and remembers your birthday.

But girls do marry those kind of guys. 

And here’s where I think I’ve got a shot.  As an established Washingtonian I’m in a position to introduce my old friend to Washington’s fun side, it’s sunny side, it’s side that already has connections in the field you want to work in and wouldn’t it be nice to get a job and settle down, not that I’m pressuring you, but you’re not getting any younger and your cat needs someplace larger to run around in than an itty-bitty studio on the Upper West Side. Not that I will be phrasing it that way.  I just want to point out, as subtly and subversively as possible, that the steady guy is worth a look.  Is that so wrong?

And also… we don’t have cockroaches.


  1. Bethany, you are hysterical! I cannot believe this won't persuade your friend to move. I mean, I want to move to Washington now. But then, I'm a tree lover who likes steady guys (well, my steady guy in particular), and no cockroaches. ;-)


  2. Sorry, Bethany, as a native NYer, I'm with your friend. Don't underestimate the lure of the all-night zombie culture. We thrive on it. And the Korean grocery store on every block? You can't live without one! Just ask me--I live in the suburbs now and not being able to get good Chinese food is like living without air. Maggie

  3. It's going to be a tough battle, I admit! But come on... We have actual garage sales here because we have actual lawns. That's got to be worth something, right?

  4. Funny post, Bethany... and timely. My husband was just talking to a man with a job in Washington State. I laughed and said, "Are you kidding? There's nothing there but trees!" Beautiful, sprawling, air-giving trees, of course... which is better than when we once almost moved to Texas and I said, "They have one indigenous tree in this state, and I don't like it." OK, well, now that I've ticked off the populations from Washington & Texas... Hope your friend takes you up. She nothing else, she'd probably laugh a lot!