There's this odd rivalry between people who live in downtown Seattle and people who don't. We kind of disdain each other. I'm a proud Eastsider myself (the "Eastside" is basically everything not downtown Seattle). You'll notice that I titled my blog "Sleepless in the Seattle Metro area" not only to avoid trademark infringement, but also to make it more clear that I do not associate myself with Seattle more than necessary.
I think the most common characteristic I associate with Seattle dwellers is extroversion. All other things the same, if there are two similar people and one lives in Seattle and the other doesn't, the Eastsider probably is more introverted. At least, that's the way I see it. People who live in Seattle pay extra and spend far more time commuting for the ability to live in a denser urban environment. I suppose there are introverted people who like big cities, but I hate cities for the same reasons that I'm an introvert, so there's next to no appeal whatsoever living in the city. Really the only thing that is appealing to me is the fact that more things would be within walking distance; living right in the middle of a residential area makes it pretty difficult to get to anything besides work or more houses and apartments.
Everything else about living in the city sounds awful to me. I hate commuting, travel time, and traffic, so Seattle is already not the place for me, since I work on the Eastside. Add on top of that a pretty significant level of discomfort at being surrounded by people and it's a recipe for psychological torture. I don't care about the docks or the shops or the museums or the stadiums or the bars or the restaurants; I find cities to be suffocating and dirty and unnerving.
So, Redmond is perfect for me. It's essentially a small town that happens to have relatively simple access to two big cities. It would take a lot to get me to leave. I can't imagine what would get me to actually live in Seattle. I come from Lincoln, Nebraska, so I'm sure I'll continue to adapt to the Seattle area over time, but the thought of someday getting to a point where I wouldn't mind living in Seattle seems somewhat ridiculous. There were a few condos in Bellevue that I considered; Bellevue is the second-largest city in the area. Those would have been a little more tolerable, as Bellevue doesn't seem as large or as dirty to me as Seattle. I'm comfortable enough walking around in Bellevue. It's high-density enough that I don't think I'd want to live there, but it doesn't creep me out. But Redmond is far more appealing. No scary big buildings. Lots of trees.
Currently listening: Moby—South Side, NERD—Lapdance