If Loving Portland Is Wrong, Then I'm OK With That.
Having lived in Portland, Oregon on two non-consecutive occasions (once for two months and once for two years), I sort of knew what to expect upon our glorious return for a wedding there last weekend. I say sort of because time and hindsight have a weird way of warping stuff. When the reason you left a place is comprised of a thousand little reasons, time has a weird way of flushing all those little memories completely out of your system. One day you wake up and say to yourself, "Why did I ever leave there? It was a nice enough place, I've got lots of friends there, the people are nice and it's slightly less expensive than the San Francisco Bay Area.".
Needless to say, the second you get back there, all the little things rear their ugly heads leaving you in a constant state of slapping your forehead and saying, "Oh yeah". I won't try to recount all those things now, but there's a few things I should jot down just in case I forget them all again.
The first thing you notice about Portland is how unbelievably SLOW everything goes. And not a Jamaican island, Mexican village kind of slow either, but rather the kind of slow that happens when you ask a senior citizen what they have on their I-Pod. Sure, they'll be friendly as hell when they try and answer, but they'll mostly just furrow their brow in a poor attempt to try and piece together the words you just said. Another good way to imagine it is to picture an entire city trying to figure out what they want on their pizza after smoking three bongloads of hydroponic crippler weed. Sure, everyone'll be laughing, but you ain't gettin' no pizza anytime soon.
Next is Portland's insecurity. The city's collective psyche is constantly akin to small time stock traders going through a market crash. Portlanders believe that if they constantly walk around talking about how great their city is, that no one will panic and eventually it 'will' be a great city. As was once said about the stock market, "If everyone keeps buying no matter what, the power of our delusions determines the size of our profits!".
And lastly is the unfortunate reality that Portland is surrounded by, infiltrated with, and at least on the state level, controlled by some of the most racist, intolerant rednecks you could ever hope to meet. For every super cool way liberal hippie and trucker hat wearing emo-kid, there's 4 or 5 down vest wearing hayseeds just dying to vote against gay rights, crank up the country music and talk about how dangerous the northeastern part of town is (because it's got like 20 black people in it). And whereas this is the case with just about every city in America, Oregon's 'Cletus community' is seemingly much more entrenched in the city itself.
But it's not all bad, not at all. Compared to 99% of this country, Portland's got a lot going for it. It's definitely one of the 'easiest' places to live anywhere. And stay tuned tomorrow for the 'Legend of the Floor Joint' that may be the greatest 'only in Oregon' moment I've ever experienced.