*Oh, and thanks for covering the back of your ride with that stick figure Duggar family so that I can see your obvious stance on overpopulation as well.
To give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, the other day I saw a waifish young lass standing next to the offramp near Barbur Boulevard. She gazed pitifully at each passing car and held aloft a cardboard sign reading: "STARVING. ANYTHING HELPS. VEGAN FOOD ONLY, PLEASE."
Now, color me omnivorous, but I think history has proven that if a human being truly is hungry enough then anything can be considered "food" be it grub worms, tree bark, or a partially-frozen Uruguayan soccer player. But, as I was feeling all benevolent and shit, I pulled over and handed her the scone from my Starbucks bag.*
*Which I told her was vegan. . .it totally wasn't. Oh, please! This is ME we're talking about!
But while the liberals and the hipsters and their neverending phalanx of Schwinn fixies blocking the streets
may do make me want to kick puppies, I love this city with every last fiber of my being. Portland is like a crazy uncle who lives under the stairs or your tweaky little brother who enjoys setting fires to fuel his hate rage. You just know it ain't quite right, but by God, you'll go to the death defending it because it's FAMILY.
But, while I can bare utter the word "Portland" without a fanfare of trumpets and puffy pink glitter hearts bursting around me, there is one very crucial issue upon which P-Town and I do not see eye-to-eye. Fashion.
Clothing was not always of such great import to me, much to the overwhelming dismay of my mother and sister. As a child, I was a great proponent of the "whatever's clean" method of wardrobe selection; something that brought my perpetually fashion-conscious sister, Holly, to tears.*
*Literally. My mom tells tales of mornings Holly would cling to her leg sobbing "Mommy, PLEASE don't let Jenny go out wearing that!!!" She was five. I shit you not.
When I was married, my Machiavellian ex-husband took a rather sadistic pleasure in dressing me like a lesbian gardener and as I found his attentions endearing at the time, it never occurred to me to question why I was wearing hiking boots and Mennonite dresses with a glaring lack of irony.*
*In answer to your question, yes, I was drinking a great deal of vodka at this time. . .oh, so very much vodka.
Portland is a city for people who live in Seattle orNorthern California and find themselves looking around one day thinking, "You know, this is nice. Pretty trees, and good coffee, but there's just WAY too much personal grooming going on around here." Suffice to say, now that I am single and sober I am a proud fashionista, and as such, find myself appalled on a semi-regular basis by the ensembles thrown together by my fellow Portlandians. A tutu and a wizard's cap? Porquoi? And the animal hats with the long earflaps? Oh, Honey. . .no.
About two weeks ago, my friend Curtis was planning to visit from Central California, and being the fabulous man-whore that he is, sent me myriad pictures of the clothing he was packing for the trip along with texts asking for accessory input
CURTIS: The navy pea coat or the ivory duster?
ME: Which ever one is warmer. It's colder than a stepmother's tit up here right now and the wind chill will cut you like a prisonyard shiv.
CURTIS: Well, then. . .this should be fun. So, what are the hot colors up there this season?
ME: Dude, seriously? It's Portland. Our colors are Gore-Tex and flannel. Trust me, if you're wearing socks they'll accuse you of being "all fancy and shit".
While I've often pondered how a citizenry so culturally rich and diverse can continue to dress like color-blind Somali refugees, all was made manifest to me on my last foray to the mall. It was then that it occurred to me. Portlandians are too goddamned friendly (present company excepted) and to be honest, it can be a little offputting in a retail employee.
PERKY SALESGIRL: Ohmigod, I LOVE your hair. Seriously. I could just rip it right off of you!
ME: Oh, umm. . .thanks?
PERKY: And your skirt is totes adorb! Where did you get it?*
*Want to stab. Want to stab so hard. Stabstabstab...
ME: Here, actually. I got the skirt here.
PERKY: OK, I should totally have known that. But I'm new. Well, not NEW new; I used to work at the Lloyd Center store but there was this, like, totally sketchy guy at Zumiez who was all 'you're hot' and I was all 'Euw, whatever' because, like, HELLO! I would SO never date a guy who worked at Zumiez and he used to like totally stalk me out by Jamba Juice and my friends were all 'you should report him to security' and I was all. . .
ME: May I have a dressing room, please?
PERKY: Ohmigod, TOTALLY! Let me get one for you. If you need anything, like AT ALL, my name's Perky and I am SO there for you. 'Kay?
ME: Umm. . .'kay.
Now, I'm all about quality customer service, but sweet Baby Jeebus in a Hot Pocket, if I wanted to shop with a friend I'd have brought one with me. I was pondering this at great length (and taking advantage of the fact that I was in a small quiet room without my short people) when a brisk knock snapped me from my reverie.
PERKY: Hey, friend. It's Perky. You've been in there for, like, a REALLY long time now. Are you OK? Is everything all right?
I immediately thought of replying with "Just trying to stop the bleeding" or "Hey, can I borrow your little security tag remover? My pliers are jammed" but I bit back my vitriol and thanked Perky for her concern.
Walking back to my car that afternoon, shopping bags in tow, I looked around at the people in the parking lot. All shapes, all sizes, all manner of jacked-up clothing. . .but all smiling. All greeting one another in passing. All stepping forward to hold the door for a stranger. And THAT is what I love about this city Regardless of your age, race, political affiliation, or wardrobe, everyone here is so freaking nice to each other just because they CAN be. And that is why Portland will always be more than just my hometown, it will be a part of my soul.
But, seriously? We need to have a talk about those shoes.