I actually wrote this a long time ago, but my left shoulder’s burning from all the fanger-tapping I’ve done today and my eyes feel like that time I used my roommate’s hard contact saline solution (the one with the bright red DO NOT PUT IN YOUR EYE label) because I was stoned and wanted to clear my cloudy peepers before my college graduation dinner with my family. Lesson: don’t put other peoples’ shit in your eyes.
But, back to the subject at hand, I began pondering the under-40 obsession with Portland again after I saw this mixed tape compliments Bitch magazine. Granted, some of the songs are better than medium, but calling your own city a “mecca of greatness” is a little like telling people your GPA.
December 17, 2007
Several recent New York Times pieces present Portland as a utopia of fashion/cycling/food/coffee/art/music/queers/etc., but it’s LIES, all LIES.
The Truth About Portland (in bullets):
- Bike lanes are great, yes, but apparently the Times hasn’t seen the scars on my knees or been to any of the quite touching funerals I’ve held to honor the lives and deaths of every single one of my favorite pairs of jeans. Did the Times feel the costs (financial and mental) of repeat visits to the Community Cycling Center, where the mechanic with a pink cycling cap and full-sleeve aquatic tattoos told me to get a one-speed with fat tires or stop riding home from the bars? Did the Times get scrapped off Alberta Street by a bum after running into a stop sign at three in the morning? I didn’t think so.
- I think the Times might also have missed out on the four months of unemployment I collected between jobs six and seven of 2006. And while the Times and I probably agree that there’s absolutely nothing wrong and there may even be a little right with collecting unemployment, $416 a month doesn’t go very far when your rent is $400 a month. That’s right—a twelver of PBR and a pack of Camel Lights for an entire month’s work trolling Craigslist.
- And I wonder what the Times would think of the Portland art scene after getting stuck in the Portland Art Museum when a caterer burnt a piece of toast in the basement and fire alarms went off and huge metal doors lowered from the ceiling to protect the art but also trapped you and your girlfriend and some tourists on the top floor with nothing to look at beyond each others’ increasingly panicked faces?
- Speaking of art, what kind of strip clubs don’t take passports? The kind in Portland.
- Gays are great if you are single, but moving to a city populated almost entirely by hot, progressive, poly-whatever queer folk with your beautiful but preoccupied girlfriend is the last thing a monogamous relationship needs. Maybe the Times has self-control, but for some of us, PDX is a 24 hour Eden of cute, tattooed apples. NOT COOL.
- And who the fuck decided that it’s acceptable for an entire city to start drinking at three o’clock in the afternoon Monday through Thursday and before noon on the inevitable three day weekend? (Seriously, try to get brunch on Friday and you’ll be standing in line for your Bloody Mary with half the city because nobody in Portland works on Fridays.) Where was I? Oh, right, happy hour. I forgot what I was talking due to happy hour-induced brain damage.
- Is NYT aware of what constant rain does to people? Let’s hear how much you love the city after you’ve walked under an umbrella for 120 days in a row. Actually, you would be under an umbrella, but Portlanders are too tough for that shit so you’re just wet.
- According to some “reputable” news sources, Portland is full up with celebrities, or at least quasi-famous artist types. But when was the last time Carrie Brownstein came caroling at your door? And Beth Ditto? Way too busy being an actual celebrity on that little island Madonna owns to hang with you at the Nest. Same goes for Chuck Palahniuk—doesn’t leave the West Hills, despite repeated invites to what ended up being some very good dinner parties. In fact, the only famous person I saw was Mirah and her ass crack as she bent down to pick up some produce at the farmers market. Sure, maybe Tegan and Sara recorded their album in the neighborhood but how many times did you actually see them, despite casually dropping by the coffee shop/grocery store/tattoo studio you heard they patronized? That’s right—NONE. And who did you see a mere six months later walking down the street your new neighborhood after your beautiful but preoccupied girlfriend became less preoccupied and noticed that you weren’t really resisting the hot, progressive, tattooed queer girls at all, and, upon noticing, followed you to work (job number seven) and punched you in the face and then threw all of your shit (including the teddy bear you’ve had like forever and the art project you’d been working on for six months) out of the house and into the endless rain? SARA FUCKING QUIN, that’s who. A famous person. Not in beloved Portland, Oregon—in North Goddamned Carolina.
- So, New York Times, why don’t you go to Portland for longer than an afternoon in August when everyone is hot and naked and slightly buzzed? If you still like it after seven jobs and constant rain and having to find a new place after the bathtub in your apartment filled up with the entire building’s raw sewage (true story), you’ll at least have earned it. In the meantime, please find somewhere else to write about every once in a while. I hear Madison has a great arts scene.