Their traffic is getting worse faster than ours. They have more tech jobs, but we read more books (at least, we order more from Amazon).
Our dazzling star rookie quarterback has better hair than their dazzling star rookie quarterback.
Sunday’s wild card game is not just Redskins vs. Seahawks, of course. It’s city vs. city. And in this case, it’s Washington vs. Washington (the other one).
“No, the other Washington is Washington, D.C.,” insisted Josephine Eckert, president of the local Washington State Society, a group for Evergreen State expatriates who live in the nation’s capital. “When we say Washingtonians, we mean people from Washington state.”
Oh, they do, do they?
Well, in advance of the sudden-death match that will send only one city’s team on in the playoffs, let us compare and contrast the real Washington . . . and that other one.
According to stats, quality-of-life rankings and people who have lived in both cities, they are very different places. One is a Starbucks-swilling, bicycle-crazy, Amazon-obsessed metropolis with loosening marijuana laws. The other is Seattle.
In stereotypeology, Washington West is flannel-wear, overcast skies and laid-back vibes. Washington East is button-down shirts, sizzling summers and résumé pride. True?
“It’s true that Washington, D.C., is a place where your job is everything,” said journalist Michael Kinsley, who decamped to Seattle in 1996 to start the online magazine Slate (which is now owned by The Washington Post). He returned last year to a Dupont Circle rowhouse to be editor at large at the New Republic. He found, in the Washington that produced Microsoft, Amazon and Costco, that entrepreneurialism was king.
“Everybody’s got the bug,” Kinsley said. “There’s much less emphasis on what you do. If you just say you’re raising money for a small start-up, that’s enough.”
We’re a bit bigger, with about 618,000 Washingtonians to Seattle’s 609,000. And a lot richer; seven of the nation’s 10 highest-income counties are in the Washington, D.C., area, while Seattle’s King County comes in 86th. But who’s smarter? Seattle wins if you count college degrees within the city limits. But the brainy D.C. suburbs make us the nation’s best-educated metropolitan region, census data reveal.
In fact, on many city rankings (often a scientifically dubious exercise), the two Washingtons have very similar profiles. We are the 43rd most livable city in the world, according the 2012 Mercer survey, and Seattle is the 44th. They rank sixth for walkable neighborhoods; the District is seventh. On the Sperling “manliness” index (with criteria including popularity of power tools and frequency of monster truck rallies), they outman us by five spots (40th vs. 45th; Nashville is No. 1, yet the Titans finished 6-10).