Girlfriend in Tacoma

Feb. 6, 2008 at 8:36am

Becoming *That* North End parent

(wearing big glasses, a hat, and trench coat)

So there I was, having picked up the kid after a seven hour stint with apple tech support.  Yes, I am serious, no that was not a typo.

Errands needed to be run, and it was rainy, blustery, nasty.  The kid, at the post office, said, "I'll wait in the car."  Ummm.... Having read a recent post about kid left in car, I was hesitant to say the least.  Here I was, talking about lazy people in a disdainful way, and here I am, leaving kid in car?  --I could just envision the bloggerazzi coming through with camera phones, snapping my negligence.

Yet, her six year old jaw was set mulishly, so I went, meh.  I only have three things to mail, and stamps to pick up.

In typical Proctor PO fashion, the staff was running short, and as I stood in a rapidly growing line, the new staff person encountered difficulties which the existing staff person slowly coached him through.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see training in action.  However, when my kid is in the car, I get...twitchy.  Eventually, I got helped.  Then on to errand number two, and the same woman behind me at the PO was behind me in (the long) line at the bank.

I twitched.

She handed me her business card and I had to laugh; it was a perfect Tacoma moment of connectedness.

Her massage therapy studio is behind one of my favorite spots to eat (Babblin' Babs' Bistro) and I think I'll have to giver her a try.  All that twitching made my muscles sore.

(and my kid is fine. :) )

comments [14]  |  posted under errands, living, parenting, Tacoma


by jenyum on 2/6/2008 @ 9:14am
It's hard for me to envision leaving my kids in the car, because one or the other would invariably be screaming at the top of her lungs within about 2 minutes. I had to institute a "you scream, you stay inside for a week" policy finally, last summer. I think the neighbors thought I was locking them out, or something. They'd be outside for 30 seconds then be at the (unlocked) door, pounding on it, screaming bloody murder. (Because they wanted their turn on the "good" swing, or their shoe came untied, or the boys next door won't throw the ball back over the fence, or some other unimaginable tragedy.) I think it's all part of their evil plan to make me "that parent" in spite of myself.

I once left A napping next to her dad upstairs to go to the grocery store. I came back to find that she had looked around the house, then gone outside, screaming her head off for mommy. (rather than waking up daddy, right next her.) My neighbor came and got her and came in and woke Jason up.

by jenyum on 2/6/2008 @ 9:15am
Oh, I think this didn't show in the feed because it's tagged "Tacoma living" instead of "Tacoma." You might want to add a Tacoma tag.

by jcbetty on 2/6/2008 @ 9:24am
heh. My neighbors get dog noise, but not so much on the screaming. My A is more about being annoyingly clingy than screaming. --thanks for the feed tip! :)

by FunkomaVintage on 2/6/2008 @ 10:13am
not only is it a bad idea to leave such a small child in a car..even in the n.end...but it is illegal. I know you just had a singular moment of wrong-headed-ness, but please take charge of your mini-me !

by jcbetty on 2/6/2008 @ 10:22am
I am aware of the law (and I occasionally speed, too, and notice people on bikes without helmets and people with dogs not on leashes.) --bad judgment, yes, but I weighed out options: drag child kicking, screaming, pissed off, out of car for what I thought would be a one minute trip (there was nobody in front of me in line, only the two at the windows being helped) -or leave her happily locked in with Shrek book?

I chose--yes, unwisely, for I would have twitched alot less-- to leave her in, and happy, at her request. In the future, I will remind her of the law. :)

by FunkomaVintage on 2/6/2008 @ 9:00pm
I've spent a lot of time at the proctor PO...and I'm sure you will choose wisely with a little child. Frankly, I did use the ol' It's The Law! to get my kids to remember who's the boss.....or we just went home for a nap (me, not them!)

by ensie on 2/7/2008 @ 1:48am
Funk - thank god you're here to save us from our wrong-headedness and keep us in the North End where we belong :)

by FunkomaVintage on 2/7/2008 @ 10:10am
I have witnessed the destruction of working peoples lives and the displacement when non-natives and newcomers move in to a neighborhood (or continent) to "experience" it, & to "clean it up". You know... sanitized for your protection. Those of us who are white trash, working class, and your servants, don't need to be "discovered". We already know who we are.
Feel free to move around town...just saying....I have noticed a major attitude from many newcomers of how Long time Tacomans are somehow sorely in need of culture, of sophistication...brought to us by New we Need !...High priced drinks, and fancy schmancy restaurants.
If you have a loving attitude, then you aren't part of the jerks that have moved to Tacoma and ruined so much of what makes Tacoma special. I don't care for "lifestyle tourists".
And if someone is gonna admit to child neglect, and since I'm an officer of the court, well.....I have faith that said person will be thoughtful and will not repeat said mistake. We all make mistakes.
And forgiveness and understanding was offered in all my posts. Wasn't that the point of pointing out said faux pas?
oh, having lived in the N.end for about 20 yrs, I know first hand it aint all it's cracked up to be !

by jcbetty on 2/7/2008 @ 10:38am
Points well taken.

I bristle at the word "neglect"-- I prefer to think of my actions as "consideration of child's wishes, weighing out all options."
Coming from an era when laws were considerably more lax, I suspect I look at the leaving of a happy child in a locked car, without fear of heatstroke, etc, et al, as a calculated risk a bit like riding a bike without a helmet or walking a dog without a leash. Not smart, I'll admit, but there are worse things in the world.
...and, I like to think that Tacoma is a great place where the original spirit of the town can coexist with progression and growth...

by jenyum on 2/7/2008 @ 10:55am
Respectfully, I think you're making enemies out of people who could be allies when you look at new Tacomans this way. A lot of people are moving here because they are forced out of wealthier areas, not because they're looking to colonize the city. They are too busy working all day and commuting back and forth on I-5 to be spending any time trying to mold the city to their liking.

I don't spend much time out at night with the hipster crowd, and my kids go to public school with the rest of the economically displaced, so I guess I just don't see much of the attitude that you're talking about.

The city will grow, it's more or less inevitable. It can happen with planning and intention, or we can just ignore that and it will look like Spanaway in another ten years.

by ensie on 2/7/2008 @ 12:39pm
If no one had taken an interest in Tacoma it would still be the type of city it was 20 years ago - neglected and falling into decay.

Tacoma is a great city and it's authenticity should continue to shine through, but injecting new blood into town has improved it over time. There's nothing wrong with a mixture of old and new blood in a city, and you're making huge assumptions about people who want to get to know their city better.

Jen is right about a lot of people being forced out of wealthier areas. But what's wrong with assuming that people live here because they love Tacoma and choose to be here, not just that they live here because they can't afford to live anywhere else? That they want to know the ins and outs of every neighborhood weather they live in that neighborhood or not?

Your attitude that working class types are the only "real" Tacomans is ridiculous. There's room for everyone in Tacoma, in every neighborhood. If people have a bad attitude, then that's their problem. However, judging from your comments, they're not the only ones with the bad attitude.

by FunkomaVintage on 2/10/2008 @ 5:48pm
I was living in Tacoma 20 years ago.....I bought a house on n.13th and fixed it up. The attitude I don't like is the attitude that somehow Tacoma needs to be saved.By outsiders coming in with pity. For 2 decades I've watched and listened to people come to town and love it and then proceed to change it into ...what, a bedroom community? An art colony? (I like that one!) The attitude has been for years and years that there is something wrong with Tacoma. No, there isn't. So, it was kinda decayed here and there. But rich people stayed. And not-so-rich people stayed.
I object to any attitude of Oh, those poor Tacomans. They are living in filth. Let's change them.
That's what I object to. Always have. Always will.
There is a definate attitude in Tacoma especially among the newcomers and many old-timers that Tacoma is to be pitied. I don't think Tacoma and the people who live here need to adopt the "shame".
I have seen umpty posts here and there about how the news media loves to show crime in Tacoma (because there certainly isn't any in Seattle!)
quote -->If no one had taken an interest in Tacoma it would still be the type of city it was 20 years ago - neglected and falling into decay.

by jcbetty on 2/10/2008 @ 6:22pm
While I agree with many of your points, I can remember walking through Tacoma in the late seventies with my mom, and in the eighties, with my girlfriend's mom, and I can remember how little existed.

I can remember being scared.

I can remember how many of the people I went to grade school, junior high school, and high school with left Tacoma to go to cool places, like Seattle, Puyallup, or even Kent.

I worked in IKEA in the nineties, and I remember people from Kent pitied me. KENT, the land of big hair, monster trucks, and strip malls. I would bring a select few out for "playdates" and show them "my" Tacoma, driving through Ruston Way, grabbing a beer at the Spar, nice cheese and wine at Queen Anne Thriftway, driving through Old Town and Proctor to Point Defiance Park, and then to my home of ten years near there.

They would be impressed.

Now, I see some of those same Kent people as Tacoma denizens. I have seen those who left years ago come back again.

And now, I have choices in dining, from the "vintage" goods like Frisco Freeze, to the newbies like Asado or Masa. I can shop, spending my money locally, whereas before all the really cool stuff had to come from a mall. Now, *because* of this new energy, caucuses are brimming, neighborhoods are alive, and Tacoma has a new vitality *and pride* --and alot of that is due to those willing to give that pitiable place a chance. And they also embrace the fact that our city is *real*, that we have a sense of seedy underworld-liness.

I totally get where you're coming from. There were those of us who loved our city despite its reputation--and some of us were even quite happy to be in Lakewood(and recognized there are things to do there, too.) There have always been places to go, things to do, places locals loved. Now, however, there's an energy and vitality here that I don't think would have been possible, were it not for "interlopers" believing in the place.

Let's face it. Back then, there was alot of filth. Back then, nobody ventured near the Hilltop (I lived in a house on Yakima and S 15th in '91-- trust me, I know these things.) --I believe there are two options in life: to be viable and vital, and to thrive, or to accept stagnation, and to die.

I think, thanks to "interlopers" we're finally coming on top of any perceptions of filth and squalor, and we're pointing our fists to the sky, with a loud, "yeah, bitcheZ--how you like me now??!!!???" to all the Kent doubters out there.

I can't see how that's a bad thing.

by tacomachickadee on 2/10/2008 @ 7:03pm
Well said, Betty. Tacoma has always been a great place, and it's great to see it blossom to a place where it's not just us who believe it. While I'm a "replant," I was definitely drawn back to Tacoma as a teen thanks to multi-generational family roots and have heard the stories of generations. I enjoy walking the "memory" spots with my dad as well as introducing him to all that's evolved since the time he called Tacoma home. We've had ups, we've had downs. We have history; we have a future ... we are Tacoma. We are Gritty Tacomans ... and we are proud of that, celebrate that, and are eager to continue this journey, this search and hope to hand over a still-fabulous if not more-fabulous Tacoma to our children.


musing her way through arts, culture, dining, shopping, exercising, and parenting, all while wearing a pungent, truffle-like aroma.

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