CHS Crow | Ben, Azul & Mike (& Alfred) — ‘People in Seattle are from all over the place’

This week, the crow learned her editor will allow interviews with dogs *if* it’s a bonus fourth interview. What did you learn?


BEN, 31

Are you a Seattle native?
Originally, from Southern California. I moved to Oregon in ’96, went to college in Eugene, then I moved up here about two years ago.

What brought you to Seattle?
I failed love story. (laughs) It was such a failure!

Ouch. We’ve all had those, for sure! Do you live around here?
I live over in Bellevue, actually.

What brings you out to Capitol Hill today?
I like to come over here on my days off, to hang out.

Any favorite local haunts?
I’ve been hanging out here at Big Mario’s lately. Bimbo’s is good in the afternoon for burritos and beers and what-not. Unicorn is a great spot—they just opened up the Narwal downstairs. Everything else I’m kind of saving for later—there’s at least 20 or so bars around here…

How does this area here compare to Bellevue, in terms of going out?
There, it’s kind of sparse and interspersed. In town, there’s only a few bars; in downtown Bellevue there’s a ton of places to go, but it’s all really expensive. I like to come down here because the bar tabs are a little bit cheaper; it saves me some money.

Since you spend a lot of time here, would you ever consider moving to the Hill?
Yeah, absolutely, but rent prices are high—something like $700 a month for a tiny studio … it’s pretty cheap to live in Bellevue, and it’s nice and quiet—it’s a suburb. And I can commute to work.

What line of work are you in?
I work in the service industry. I’ve been working in restaurants and what-not since I was 15. Then I did some other stuff for a while, but I got a great job at Wild Ginger—it’s a good place to work.

I was a waitress for years and years, and I’ve often thought of writing a book about how it prepared me for virtually every job I’ve had since, even in completely unrelated fields. It’s about multi-tasking, keeping people happy, occasionally doing the Heimlich… What’s something you think you’ve learned from the service industry?
I’ve learned a lot about working as part of a team — people are counting on you, and it’s important for everyone to pull their weight. You have to do your end. I remember being a 20-year-old slacker and not wanting to do anything, but now I look at it like, “I have work to do, I’m going to get it done, whether or not anyone is watching.”


AZUL, 38

Do you live on the Hill?
I live in Belltown, I’m just waiting for a friend who works nearby, then we’re going to go out somewhere.

Do you have any favorite hangouts in the area?
I really like that Oddfellows restaurant; it’s a nice place.

What line of work are you in?
I’m a civil engineer.

Wow, so you design bridges and stuff?
Yes, and I’m also an environmental engineer, so I do a bit of both.

Engineering seems like a very male-dominated field…
Tell me about it! It’s awful.

Has it ever been difficult to be a woman in engineering?
Yes. I’m originally from Panama, and in my country I believe it’s easier, since there are more women engineers than there are here. In the U.S., I feel like more men are thinking, “You’re a woman, what are you doing [being an engineer]?”

That’s interesting. In the U.S., there’s a stereotype—not necessarily true, of course!—of “machismo” among Latin American men, whereas we like to think of this country as offering more gender equality…
Not in the engineering field! There’s more of a balance of men and women in engineering there.

How many years have you lived in Seattle?

How do you like it here?
I visited almost the whole United States, and I would never change Seattle. I think it’s perfect. Here, you can be relaxed all the time, and people are very nice. And it’s so beautiful here.

The weather doesn’t bother you? I imagine it’s pretty different in Panama.
Here, it’s not so hot, and I don’t mind the rain. The weather doesn’t bother me at all.


MIKE, 19

What are you up to this evening?
Just chillin’, enjoying the scenery…

Did you have work or school earlier today?
Yeah, I’m currently with YouthBuild—I’m working on getting my G.E.D., and then getting a job in construction.

Do you live around here?
Yeah, not too far from here.

Are you a Seattle native?
Yes. Born and raised. Never left!

You don’t run into a lot of Seattle natives —you guys are like unicorns…
True. People in Seattle are from all over the place.

Did you grow up on the Hill?
Pretty close — I grew up in the Central District.

If you have a free afternoon, where do you go to hang out around here?
The park [Cal Anderson], right over there. Especially in summer, on a day like today.

Any favorite places to grab a bite in this area?
Mario’s, actually. Their pizza is delicious. If not, Dick’s Burgers.

What do you think is the sexiest place on the Hill?
There’s a club over there (indicates) called Purr, I like that place.

The name alone is pretty sexy, I think! What do you get up to in your free time?
I go to the gym, play basketball, sometimes get on the football field…

Is there anything you particularly like about this part of town?
I like that everyone’s friendly. It’s easy to talk to people around here.

What about any dislikes?
There’s nothing in particular that I don’t like. It’s a cool place.

Any other thoughts on life on the Hill?
You come to Capitol Hill, be ready to party!



Do you live around here?
In fact, I live on First Hill, with my friend Derek.

How does Derek spell his name?
My goodness, I couldn’t begin to tell you, madam! But I’m quite certain that his name contains vowels … You should’ve asked him when you had the chance.

You’re right; I forgot. I hope he won’t be offended if I got it wrong—there are, like, twelve different ways to spell Derek—or possibly Derrick or Deric or … Anyway, have you always lived in this ‘hood?
Why, certainly not! I moved here when I was eight weeks old.

What brought you to the area?
A crate. I say, travel is getting more and more uncivilized these days; very uncivilized indeed. If one wants anything to chew on during the ride, one is expected to pay for it oneself. It’s almost as dreadful as flying coach.

Okay, you moved here when you were eight weeks old, and yet…why, in my imagination, do you sound like a elderly British man?
Perhaps because I was named after Alfred, the butler in Batman.

Have you ever … what’s the verb? Butled?
There was a time…I was very young, I needed the money. Don’t judge me…

What do you like best and/or least about this area?
There’s a lot of trash, especially food waste, strewed around the neighborhood. And there are some real bitches around here.

Alfred! That sounds very misogynistic. Besides, you don’t have anything nice to say about the area?
Oh, goodness—those are my two favorite things. The bitches are simply delightful, especially a certain Pek-a-Dane I’ve got my eye on.

Great Dane/Pekinese mix. Grandfather wouldn’t approve, certainly not, he believes in maintaining the old Sheltie bloodlines… But I don’t care— I love her, even if she doesn’t have papers!

Are you and she in a relationship?
We’ve sniffed bottoms a few times, but I’m not sure if she likes me “in that way.” Alas, I fear she fancies a certain Rhodesian Ridgeback, who, incidentally, is a pompous ass.

What do you like least about this neighborhood?
The bloody gravel in the dog park tends to get wedged in my feet, and they get red and raw; it’s simply dreadful. And it’s all but impossible to get into the trash cans around here. When is the City Council finally going to do something about that?

More CHS Crow:

Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.

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4 thoughts on “CHS Crow | Ben, Azul & Mike (& Alfred) — ‘People in Seattle are from all over the place’

  1. I enjoyed reading Azul’s part. It’s nice when you interview a diverse cross section of the people who live on the hill, instead of just 22-year old’s that are baristas, students at the Art Institute, and waiters.