Friday, February 23, 2007

A Modern Seattle Children's Story

"Jet City Pie in the Sky"
collage by
d. o'brien

Once there was a little city on Puget Sound named Seattle that had big ideas and wanted to be like other cities that also had big ideas too. It has heard about these other cities from books and from watching the magic light box that was real fun to watch because it had lots of pictures. It would show pictures of other cities building beautiful buildings and things like roads and little trains to carry everyone who lived in the city around so they wouldn’t have to use their cars. It seemed quite efficient and real nice.

The people that lived in these other cities would listen to the mayor and other leaders of their city who would tell them about all the good things that they were going to build for them in the city. It was only natural that these leaders should make these decisions since they had been chosen by the people to be their leaders. In fact the people expected them to do just that and trusted them to make all the big decisions.

These other cities prospered and people would like to live there because when the people set their mind to doing something, even if it was a big job and cost lots of money, everyone pitch in and helped out. They knew that it may cost a lot of money, but they figured that it was good for the city to build things that over the long run would benefit everybody, and make their city better and a neat place to live.

These other cities would have big events and invite people to come and to dance, and party, play sports and enjoy themselves and spend lots of money while they were there. People like to go there and have fun because the cities were so nice and everyone was very genuine and treated them really well.

But Seattle had a problem because everyone that lived there apparently hadn’t actually visited many other places and most of the city leaders just wanted to talk talk talk all day about what it would be like to be like the other cities. The inhabitants of Seattle were also penny pincher's at heart and known for being very cheap. They could never see that money they spent on their city would make it better to live in in the long run. The endlessly complained amongst themselves about having to pay taxes for things the city needed.

Because of this no one wanted to every spend any money and the leaders were really afraid to ask for money and that was also because there was a dragon that lived in the hills near Seattle called the Eyman who would come out of his cave every time he heard the people talking amongst themselves about spending money to fix things or buy things the city needed.

The Eyman would make lots of noise and roar and everyone would run for their lives and hide. When the coast was clear again everyone would be even more afraid to talk about spending money on anything at all or doing anything that improved the city.

The Eyman would just laugh at the Seattle people in his cave where he lived with his evil friend Dori. Dori had a big bull horn and he would yell insults at the people in the town from the mouth of the cave through the bull horn so that they could be heard all over. He would warn them that the Eyman would come down and eat them if they every started even thinking about spending money to fix anything in the town, even if it was old or needed fixing. So lots of things in the town like the roads and buildings and the big smoky buses that everyone was force to ride, if they didn’t have a car, started to fall apart.

There also happened to be a big huge concrete fence that someone long ago had build in front of the town and it was so high big and ugly that no one in Seattle had ever been able to get around or over it to see what was on the other side. There was a rumor in Seattle that there was a waterfront and an opening to the sea on the other side of the fence. But when people would talk about there being a waterfront or sea on the other side of the fence most people would just laugh and say it was crazy talk.

Some very brave people in Seattle even dared to talk about tearing down the big ugly fence because there may be a waterfront or a sea and other good things on the other side. But lots of people had gotten used to the fence because it had been there so long and they actually liked it.
"Boy if they tore down that big ugly fence lots of bad things would happen" they would say. "Plus Dori would come out of the Cave before we even took one stone away from the fence and yell at us through his bullhorn and eventually the Eyman would come and eat us up".
So the fence just stayed there because most people were afraid to change things or didn't understand why it needed to be removed anyway.

But, mostly the leaders, were afraid of losing their nice jobs, or being eaten by the Eyman if they said anything about the situation. So they did very little to change peoples attitudes about building things, fixing things, or getting rid of the fence.

Oh, they would act interested but mostly they were only happy talking and talking and talking and going to fancy parties and gallery openings where everyone talk a lot about things like art. Which most Seattle people didn’t really know much about. But it made them feel important and cultured when they acted like they did.

The people would talk and talk and talk about whether it was a sin to like to watch sports or race cars racing around a track. They thought people who liked sports and things like race cars were not as smart as they were and they would laugh and them and then return to talking about art and what brand of coffee tasted the best or how nice the fence really was or they didn't know why anyone would like to get rid of such an object of civic pride as the big ugly fence.

It seemed they had a hard time having fun expect at the Norway festival that happened every summer in a section of town called Ballard. They would usually drink lots of strong drinks that made them feel light headed and want to throw up. When they felt better they would eat smelly fish which were a delicacy at the festival.

The leaders and the people who live in the town just ended up dreaming about what it would be like to live in those other nice modern cities as they just continued to talk talk talk about it and take votes on everything because the politicians were afraid they'd make the wrong decision all the time. They also liked to have lots of meetings where they invite the citizens to come in, especially poor street people who lived in Seattle, to give them advise on all important civic projects. Even though the street people didn't really care and just wanted to complain that their needs were not being met.

Things never really got done when all was said and done because of all the talking and meetings and the fear of spending money because of the Eyman and his friend Dori with the bull horn. In the end they remained a little city of small mined people who felt unhappy all the time and didn’t have much fun ever.

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