The little lost souls have misplaced their hotels again. I see them wandering the streets, staring at maps and casting confused looks. Most of the people they ask for help are other tourists. I step in, and am able to guide them to safety with my knowledge of the city. I love it.
I’ve never lived in a tourist destination before. There are people who visit Minneapolis, but it’s too cold for flocks of excited visitors. Other places I’ve lived have been too small to have been major destinations. Seattle, on the other hand, is practically flooded with people seeking to explore our sights. They bring an exciting energy to town, and it’s wonderful to be able to visit with people from all over the world without leaving the city.
I’ve had Earl Grey and crumpets with a pair of Australian ladies who needed a table to share in my favorite crowded tea shop. I’ve discussed the similarity of our weather and Ireland’s with a British National in one of our local pubs. I’ve even had some lovely conversations with fellow New Yorkers who decided to visit the other coast.
These people have told me a lot about what they’ve been seeing here, and I’ve learned more about Seattle by talking to them. They share their enthusiasm for this city as well as their puzzlement about it. I try to help them understand, although I don’t always understand Seattle, either. After all, I’m a transplant here, too. It’s fun to hear stories about how this place differs from their homes.
I’ve also gotten plenty of tips on places to go see. I have an invitation to lunch from the ladies from Perth, should I ever be in their neighborhood. I hope some day I can take them up on it. In the meantime, I’ll just savor the memory and enjoy the company of the rest of the visitors. We have so much to talk about, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of them when they come into town.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
114. Next time you visit somewhere—even a different neighborhood—interact with the locals and share your unique perspectives on a place. What can they tell you about the area? What can you tell them?