Walking Around Seattle

June 2010

Every few months I come to Seattle for a few weeks. It is such a contrast to Merida that for the first week or so I feel like a foreigner. Here are a few sights I saw that aren’t notable if you are here a lot, but for me, they were strange. In another week or so, this newness effect will wear off and I’ll be just like the rest of them.

The New iPhone 4

The day before yesterday, the new iPhone was released. I happened to be driving through an upscale shopping area, University Village, where there is a big Apple store, and saw the lines. This was in the early afternoon and there were several hundred people lined up for blocks in either direction to get their new phones.

There was one line for people who had pre-ordered and another for people who hadn’t. They took five people from the pre-ordered line for every one from the non pre-ordered line.  The people I talked to in the non-pre-ordered line had been there since five a.m.

Happy customer with new iPhone4

Happy customer with new iPhone4

Next on line being greeted and escorted into the store

Next on line being greeted and escorted into the store

Most of the people on the line were men between 19 and 45. Almost all were white, except for a few Asians. There were two baby carriages and several people with their pets. A lot of people had come on bikes. Apple was serving Jamba Juice, bottled water, and Molly Moon ice cream.
“What’s Molly Moon ice cream?” I asked one young man. He looked at me disbelievingly and said, “That new gourmet ice cream from over in Wallingford.”
Brent and Ara

Brent and Ara

Brent and Ara have each just bought iPhone4s and Brent is setting them up with data from his computer. In the lower right, you can see a “4″ next to a “3.” The physical diference is that the 4 is a bit thinner. Brent is excited about the new features on the 4. “It’s faster,” he says. I asked whether that was the only reason he’d bought it and he said that the battery life on his old phone was getting short, that charging the old battery was diminishing in effectiveness. (I never knew that could happen.)  Planned obsolescence?
Brent and Ara had been in the line since seven a.m. (pre-ordered line), and bought their phones at noon.
A young man I talked to in the un-pre-ordered line said that sitting there was “like a day at the beach.” The weather was unusually nice for Seattle (it wasn’t raining) and with that Molly Moon ice cream and all, who could ask for a better way to spend the day?
A crankier guy said, “I’m tired.” I asked whether he was upgrading, and he said, he’d never had an iPhone, and waiting in this line “was just something to do – I had nothing else to do this morning.” So I asked him why he was still there – it looked like he had quite a way to go.
“Well,” he said, “after a certain point, waiting for hours, you just have to commit. I’ve been here since five a.m. when the line opened.  But it’s okay, my wife has brought my daughter down a couple of times to visit.”
To talk to this guy, who was in the unpre-ordered line where they had some chairs, I sat in an empty chair next to him. You could see the tension in the group around him untilI assured them that I wasn’t busting the line.
Pepper and her person, Barb, were in the pre-ordered line. Barb said that she was getting the phone as a gift for someone.
Pepper and Barb

Pepper and Barb

Nick Smith from Oakland

Nick Smith from Oakland

 Nick Smith is visiting from Oakland and wasn’t buying a new phone. He just came down to the Apple store as a tourist. I asked him why so many people were all excited about the phone.

“I guess because it has video chat. There’s a little camera right in the phone. Also it has a good GPS feature.”

He said that he didn’t need it, and was happy with the phone he had.

Stan is on the pre-ordered line with his friend Angus. He’s buying the iPhone4 because “it has a better screen and a better processor.”

Stan and Angus

Stan and Angus

 Several people told me they were buying the iPhone4 because “it’s the latest thing.” They weren’t concerned with new features. The recession is not visible in Seattle, or at least among this part of the population.

Un-pre-ordered line

Un-pre-ordered line


Taken from my car - the end onf the non-pre-ordered line

Taken from my car - the end onf the non-pre-ordered line

 The people at the end of the non-pre-ordered line, several blocks from the beginning of things, were grouchy and disorderly. No sun, no snacks, no visual contact with the mecca, the Apple store.

Since the day after the phone was released (yesterday), the news is that the phone has a design flaw. Apparently, if you are right-handed and hold the phone in your left hand, you cover part of the antenna (or one of the dual antennaes?), reducing the reception. If you put the phone down on a surface, it has five bars, but if you are holding it, you only get three. My god!

A young guy interviewed on the news said, “I’m sure Apple will make good on it. I’m not worried.”

And he is probably right. This company has generated a huge fan base because they are reliable and trustworthy and genuinely produce superior products. Years ago, Apple Mac computers were appreciated mostly by the less technically savvy of us because their interface is so intuitive. But now, Apple has become the darling of the tech population as well.

According to my site statistics, many more people who access gorbman.com have Mac operating systems rather than Windows or any PC system.

Apologies for the blue pictures. I had my lighting set wrong and I don’t have photo fix software with me.


Hairless Cats as Service Animals

This is Sam and her service cat, Baby Charlie. I was in a restaurant on Queen Anne Hill with my friend Richard when Sam walked in. She says that Baby Charlie lowers her blood pressure. She takes him everywhere, even when she rides her horse. Baby Charlie sits in front of her, clinging to the horse.

Sam and Baby Charlie

Sam and Baby Charlie


The Three of Us

Baby Charlie is very cuddly.

Baby Charlie is very cuddly.


sea 339


Sam says that Baby Charlie is a Temple Cat and the breed is Egyptian.

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
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7 Responses to Walking Around Seattle

  1. Jonna says:

    Jeez! You kind of had me with the iPhone line since I really want an iPhone 4 to replace my iPhone 3. However, I don’t think the need is so urgent that I’d sit in a line for that long. But then the friggin “service cat”, those people send my blood pressure up. I’m so glad not to live in the US anymore where there are nut jobs that get some other nut job doctor to give them a script that lets them call their cat a health aid – oh, and that they have to do all this because the rules on animals in public are so strict. Eh, I’ll even bet that she has a hairless cat because they have no dander and her “disability” won’t effect someone else’s allergic reaction.

  2. Kathe says:

    Jonna, the hairless cat and her owner got my hackles up a bit too….

  3. suk says:

    I am very happy with my iPhone 3GS 32gb, white cover, fast enough & I paid big bugs so I am not going to change to 4g.

  4. suk says:

    Hi, I love Seattle in July. Water & I went to visit last year July . We had a great time. Weather was just right & we enjoyed great seafood. We thought about but small condo but we can’t handle long rainy winter. Now my friend moved to Tacoma pham D working at military post so maybe next year we will visit her around July. Have a great time, SB

  5. Shoshana Powell says:

    Beryl, I have been enjoying your writing so much! Please let me know the next time you come to Seattle. Hopefully the baby will be here and you can meet him! Love, Shoshana

  6. Rainie says:

    Great people description and photos. Very insightful. I always enjoy your take on everyday life.

  7. Love the reactions to the hairless cat. That’s one freaky looking feline – all cold eyes and giant ears. The way some people feel about their pets is like others feel about their religion(s). It´s just crazy.

    These are very entertaining posts though and inspiration for my upcoming visit to Vancouver, which is like Seattle in some ways.

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