I'm not sure if the habit I'm about to describe is unique to Seattle -- it's possible this happens in a lot of places now, but here's what happens ...
You're talking to someone, possibly someone new, possibly someone you've bumped into a few times. You go on with what you believe is a reasonable conversation, and it seems like they're having a reasonable conversation with you.
Then out of nowhere, the "reset" happens -- the "Seattle Reset" ...
Any conversational context winds up being lost. Personal behaviour returns to what it was before you talked with this person. In many instances, they simply stop talking -- they've "reset", so they don't remember you from that point onward.
It's unnerving, it's deeply anti-social, and it's one of the reasons why I Hate Seattle. (Of course, this is why we're all here -- this isn't a beauty pageant for people who want to give Seattle a big, sloppy kiss.)
What I do know is that it isn't generational -- I've experienced the "Seattle reset" from people who were part of what some Americans call the "Greatest Generation" (I've failed to be impressed) as well as Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and Zed. It happens rarely with people who are from other places, who have lived elsewhere before having made the move to Seattle, but it happens frequently with those who are natives as well as those who have gone native.
Forget the "Seattle Freeze" -- it's the "Seattle Reset" that's the bigger problem. Just as you think you've broken through, that there might be a new friend in the making, the "Seattle Reset" kicks in and it's as if you've said nothing at all.
The "Seattle Freeze" is about people shutting you out, but the "Seattle Reset" is about people who can't manage to keep the door open enough to let you in.
Yeah, someone's knockin' at the door, someone's ringin' the bell, but they're not doing you a favour by letting you in. Things do not end with a cheery Paul McCartney song ending. (Of course, native Seattle people might respond with another Paul McCartney song ending by saying "what's wrong with that" ...)
My question ultimately is this: why do people who manifest the "Seattle Reset" behaviour even try to let anyone in? It seems they're nicely self-absorbed, having conversations on light topics, remaining flakier than a dessicated coconut cake.
I suppose I've realised the truth ...
Just because they're polite doesn't mean they're really all that friendly.