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The dark truth about that sun-shiny exuberance

Really, trust us: No sane person would live here

By Ron Judd Executive Editor

Look, we all have those weeks. The mental wheels aren’t quite true. Critical faculties are a half-bubble-off-plumb. Or maybe we’re just tired. 

Such was the case last week, when yours truly quoted many Whatcom County newcomers who said that after a solid breaking-in period, they still see our corner of the state as a Wonderfully Great Place to Live — in spite of its many obvious, intractable problems. 

Being an affable sort I accepted this as an informed opinion, which it is. But after a week’s digestion and subsequent dyspepsia, it seems worthy of a second opinion. 

As someone fortunate (and old) enough to have been once deputized by Emmett Watson, the late Seattle metro columnist, as a full-fledged member of the exclusive late-20th century organization Keep the Bastards Out, I feel compelled to dispense a bit of tough love about our relocation sex appeal. 

Shall we just get to it?

It’s constantly dark. Moss routinely grows on the north side of 100-watt bulbs. If you’re considering planting roots in Whatcom County, you might as well keep on going — straight north to Juneau and go full-moose-morose. In the winter, it gets light around 9 a.m. and starts getting dark again at about 9:35 a.m., give or take an hour. Who wants to live like that? Certainly not folks already doing perfectly well for themselves in godforsaken places like Arizona and California. 

We’re in full-on poop panic. You could look this up: In the county seat of Bellingham, people will either need to just start holding it in, or we’ll have to build a new sewage treatment plant — estimated cost: Approximately $2 gajillion. You and your grandchildren’s children will still be paying for it when it qualifies as an Excremental Site of National Historical Significance. 

More, more, more poop: Every sidewalk and trailhead in the entire county is littered with waist-deep piles of carefully knotted, exorcist-green plastic bags filled with dog sausages. For many local retirees and old younger people, this has become the grandest puzzle in the universe. In spite of thousands of hours and histrionic speculation consuming 6.6 hexagigabytes of cloud storage space on nextdoor.com, no one has solved the riddle of the random Northwest-corner poop-bag dropper, literally ruining the lives of countless tens of local folks who came here to Get Away From All That. 

It’s a freaking blackberry jungle. In summertime, one cannot turn around in this place without getting a half-inch-long poisonous thorn rammed up in the space between your thumb and thumbnail, which is no space at all. Hence the problem. The evil killer vines grow along driveways, in your yard, in your garden, and eventually, under your house and up through your shower drain. It’s a question of when, not if, you step on one barefoot and drive it up into your bone structure.

Wait! There’s more! Don’t even get us started about the morning glories and Steller’s jays. 

It’s the City that Fresh Asphalt Forgot. Certain areas of Bellingham — not to self-servingly mention a spot along the columnist’s regular car/cycle commute route, but the intersection of 36th Street and Samish Way, just west of the Interstate 5 Exit 252/Samish Way overpass comes to mind — contain actual Oregon Trail wagon-train ruts, faithfully preserved for 27 generations. Do you really want to live in a town that’s underwritten by the local front-end repair place? 

Rampant general dysfunction and angst. Nobody agrees with anyone about anything. Want proof? Ask someone somewhere about something. Or tune in to the local subreddit. 

You basically can’t eat dinner out past lunchtime. All-night diners in Whatcom County close at 4:30 p.m. (For those of you keeping track, that’s three hours after sunset in December.)

It never stops raining. Sure, it’s a cumulative couple inches a month. But not unlike “Grey’s Anatomy,” it’s the soul-crushing consistency that matters. 

It never stops blowing. Small cars left outside homes in Lynden, Sumas and Everson during Nor’easter winter storms are routinely recovered in geologic soil layers, decades later, in Burlington, Skagit County.

Bombs away. Odds of a local resident walking outside and eventually being strafed by a marauding, angry, killer owl: Right around 100%.

Location, location, location. After decades of civic planning by the Port of Bellingham (motto: Where Tax Dollars Go To Die — or to Dublin), the prime slice of waterfront real estate in green-leaning Bellingham is occupied by a garbage company headquarters and a toxic sludge basin. No, seriously.

Slip slidery: The county has one snowplow for every 100,000 residents — mirroring the checker-to-customer ratio at the Meridian Home Depot.

Two words: murder hornets. Either we put them on the map, or they, us. Same result: Unceasing reign of terror. Nobody walks around without a tennis racket in a side holster.

Something about a train. A BNSF cargo train ambled into Bellingham, laden with coal cars and garbage containers and driven by a horn-happy engineer, in 1973. It’s about halfway through. 

That’s all for now. Please share via the usual wet-blanket channels.

Ron Judd’s column appears Wednesdays; ronjudd@cascadiadaily.com; @roncjudd.

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