A friend who moved to the Twin Cities a few years ago to take a fabulous job has always spoken well of Minnesota.
But the other day he mentioned that he and his wife might well come back to Spokane when it's time to retire. For a variety of reasons.
“We like the Northwest,” he said.
I have been thinking about that. I know, of course, that Spokane is in the Northwest. I have seen maps.
But I wonder how many of us sometimes think of our inland stomping grounds as somehow distinct and apart from “the Northwest” and the Seattle/Portland images that label can conjure.
OK, I'm not saying that just because of wet weather, voting-pattern differences and a bigger population the West Side gets to dibs the regional name while we're left to define ourselves as some overlooked nowhere.
Nor do I believe that ignorance about our geography among those who live in other parts of the country should bully us into quietly disappearing.
That's not my point. But you might agree that, for better or worse, things are different over here.
I doubt that anybody on the West Side refers to their region as “the Coastal Northwest.”
I guess, to stake our claim, we could stop using the clarifying “Inland.” But something tells me that would just emphasize what we already know.
When many people think of “the Northwest,” images of our area are not the first to come to mind.