So I’m back from Seattle, back from Conifur. This was more of a foodie heaven con than most I’ve been to, thanks to shaterri and his willingness to shuttle me around and to show off places he likes. In addition to Ray’s Boathouse mentioned in my last entry, we also hit Salty’s on Alki for a Saturday Brunch, Shaterri’s favorite bakery (“The Essential Bakery Cafe”) for Sunday breakfast and, Sunday night, the Dahlia Lounge, a place I’d heard of that specializes, appropriately, in Pacific Northwest cuisine.
Something you often hear in various fandoms is “PCD,” or “post-con depression,” when you’ve come down from the frantic high of just being running around the damn con for three days and are missing that level of energy and camraderie. I used to get mild-to-moderate PCD, particularly after SoCal cons, in the early ’90s. Sometimes that was for the con, and sometimes it was for the area. I haven’t had that feeling much in years, though; between “seeing” people online regularly, generally taking it easier at cons, and–yes–just getting older, cons aren’t frantic stretches from which the reality of normal life seems a let-down. They’re vacations, to be sure, breaks from that reality, but I usually return feeling somewhat recharged and relaxed.
This time isn’t an exception to that–I took this con very easy, to the point where the con itself was almost irrelevant. Beyond getting to say hi to the folks I mentioned in the last entry, I didn’t do very much con-related: attended a few panels, went to the art show, caught a couple of performances, blah blah. I do feel recharged, tempered only slightly by having to have woken up before five this morning in order to catch the 6:45 flight back.
But I have a more acute sense of melancholy upon returning this time than I have in many a con.
So it’s not PCD in a normal sense–it’s not about the con, it’s about the area, the people. I’m reminded of coming home after a convention out here, where I am now, over a decade ago and writing in my journal (which was then a collection of text files I kept privately–yes, I’ve been doing this a long time), “I need to move to California.”
Overstated, to be sure; I arguably did pretty well lingering in Florida another eight years. Yet that stretch left me with copious “what ifs” about what might have come from following any of the opportunities I’d had over the years to risk such a move. (While not everyone I knew who came out here pre-dotcom is sitting pretty now, more of them are better off than I than are worse off than I.)
So I certainly don’t need to move to Portland or Seattle. About a year ago, I wrote about seasonal affective disorder, and I know more than one person–including my mother–who’s convinced, without ever having been near the PNW, that they couldn’t live there because it’s “always grey and rainy.” And there’s something to that; according to climatologists, Seattle has the dubious honor of showing up in top ten lists like “least number of clear days,” “greatest number of cloudy days” and “least percentage of possible sunshine.” (In addition to the PNW, upstate New York and Pittsburgh consistently suck.)
I’ve never been able to decide if I’m a sufferer myself; it’s easy for me to get mopey about a grey day, but, hell, I get mopey on clear days, too, and the appeal of sitting in a nice heated room sipping hot chocolate and looking out at cold weather is mysteriously heightened in an area like that. (You can fake it in Florida if you sit around Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, but your sun room won’t cut it.) And, as Portland’s tourist bureau trumpets, the rain in the PNW makes the area very lush.
So is this a roundabout way of saying that I’m planning to move to Seattle? No–but it’s a way of acknowledging that the attraction to the area, which started at a Conifur years ago, isn’t fading at all. I’ve liked the Northwest each time I’ve visited, and I definitely need to visit more.