When you are communicating with someone far away and refer to Spokane, do you say "Spokane" or do you say "Spokane, Washington"?
Or, to put it another way, do you assume those in other parts of the country know that Spokane is in the Evergreen State?
We all know that a great many people lack an impressive grasp of American geography. And there are plenty of other reasons why one might tack on the state identifier.
But I sort of like saying just "Spokane." If the person to whom I am speaking doesn't recognize the Lilac City, well, whose fault is that?
Of course, it's worth noting that some of us here in the Inland Northwest don't exactly have an encyclopedic knowledge of cities in the Midwest or along the Eastern Seaboard. So one might argue that adding the state to "Spokane" is simply a courtesy.
But I have another thought. It's this: If you have no idea where Spokane is, there's a good chance you are wasting my time.
I once queried the Washington Post's ombudsman about why, in that newspaper's list of cities' temperatures, Spokane appeared as "Spokane, Wash." but several other similarly sized cities were afforded stand-alone status.
Her answer was ludicrous and unconvincing. Excuse me, but I just don't think there are many who would confuse our city with Spokane, Missouri or Spokane Louisiana. But I thanked her for her reply, because that's what we do here. We're polite. Hell, we're famous for it.
Though perhaps that reputation won't last if many of us embrace a zero-tolerance policy for those ignorant of Spokane's location.