How to Avoid Seattle Freeze: Wear a Hat

Ann Arbor's young professionals flee: Not my fault

[Editor's Note: HD, a.k.a. Dave Askins, editor of The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is also publisher of an online series of interviews on a teeter totter. Introductions to new Teeter Talks appear on The Chronicle.]

Devon Persing

Devon Persing: Knitter of hats. Creator of blog templates and other web stuff. Leaving Ann Arbor for Seattle.

Seattle has claimed another one of Ann Arbor’s “young professionals.” Departing Ann Arbor, headed west in late July was Brian Kerr. This time it’s Devon Persing who’s leaving Tree Town for The Emerald City – no kidding, apparently some residents of the two cities actually call them that.

Why? Maybe because precious stones are as plentiful in Seattle as Ann Arbor’s leaves are in the autumn – that is, really plentiful. Or maybe it’s because trees are as plentiful in Ann Arbor as precious stones are in Seattle. To figure out which city nickname came first would require some kind of research into historical information – you know, the kind of thing only a librarian or information scientist might be able to pull off.

And what do you know, Kerr and Persing are both graduates of the University of Michigan’s School of Information. But they are, of course, very different people. Most strikingly different – to me, anyway – is that while Kerr favors a headgear-less look, even in freezing weather, Persing will put on a hat, even when it’s not that cold, just to make a favorable impression. [To those who read every word I write, I'm known to be a huge supporter of hats in cold weather.]

On the totter, Persing and I talked about where she got the hat she wore during her ride – she knit it herself. And it emerged during her Talk that knitting for Persing is a mostly solitary activity.

Solitary activity has been analyzed as contributing to a phenomenon that has been labeled “The Seattle Freeze.” It’s not weather related. Rather, it refers to the idea that Seattleites on the whole are superficially nice and polite, but basically won’t ever invite you into their homes.

That prompts the question: Is Persing going to make things even “colder” in Seattle once she moves there – what with all that solitary knitting of hats? Will people in Ann Arbor be on average a little warmer, now that Persing is heading off to Seattle to create web templates for LexBlog? The short answer is:  Of course not. For a longer answer, read Devon Persing’s Talk.

Anticipating that some readers may have discerned a pattern to recent Talks – young talent leaving for Seattle [two is a pattern] – I did ask Persing on the totter to comment on whether Ann Arbor as community is to blame, or perhaps even me personally. Her answer is all there in the Talk, but it’s important to note: Not my fault.


  1. September 21, 2010 at 5:39 pm | permalink

    Thanx for a great interview even though I’m so sad to lose another local friend :( All the best to my Orphan Thanxgiving & Burrito pal…keep warm in Seattle :)

  2. September 21, 2010 at 9:47 pm | permalink

    This was so fun. Thank you, Dave.

    I’ll miss you too, Patti! Orphan Thanksgiving sure beat driving to PA that winter, and I will always observe Burrito Tuesday in my heart.

  3. September 22, 2010 at 5:07 am | permalink

    Hmm… you only get featured on the Teeter after you decide to move to Seattle? Maybe that means I should threaten to move back so I can get featured on the Teeter.

  4. By suswhit
    September 22, 2010 at 8:11 am | permalink

    Funny. I just saw this the other day. [link]