*Which is ironic, considering the fact that, in Portland, we don't SEE the sun nine months out of the year.
Portland, Oregon is a weird and wonderful, caffeine-infused, skinny jean wearing bastard and I love it like Warren Jeffs loves young girls: passionately, inappropriately, and with whispered apologies to the thing I will most likely offend and ultimately destroy. But while I love urban downtown Portland, the suburbs? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, some of them are lovely. Sellwood is classically elegant, West Linn and Wilsonville are thriving up-and-comers, and Hawthorne is just one vegan, organic, free-trade coffee shop away from being a 'Portlandia' sketch. But I admit to getting a little twitchy when I have to cross over the river and through the 'hood, and Gresham? No. Just. . .no.
But while the thought of inhabiting a quirky brownstone on NW 23rd street or a spacious loft in the trendy Pearl District fills my fecund heart with glee, neither option is terribly conducive to raising short people, so hi-ho, hi-ho, 'twas off to the 'burbs I go.
I chose my suburb for the following reasons: (a) It is consistently named "Best School District in the State of Oregon". Yeah, you heard me. . .the entire damned state. And considering my inability to add anything requiring more than ten fingers and that my knowledge of history in based on what season of "Buffy" it was when some major political shit went down, I was counting on the public school system to pick up the slack so my kids wouldn't be wearing a Taco Bell uniform and a hair net when they're forty. (b) My house is walking distance to two amazing natural foods stores and a plethora of restaurants. Now, this might not seem like a good reason to relocate but you need to understand that I watch a lot of Food Network programming. And after every show, I need to eat. . .copiously and immediately. This is why I don't watch 'Breaking Bad'; it would not end well. And (c) My suburb has a rep for being full of rich, classy bitches and I thought "Hey! Maybe some of that shit will rub off on me!"*
*Which obviously has not happened. . .as evidenced by my effusive use of the words 'bitches' and 'shit'.
People get a very distinct look on their face when you tell them you live in my part of Portland. Generally it's that cool appraisal paired with a smug grin as they're picturing you diving all Scrooge McDuck in your pool of ducats.*
*But don't be fooled by the rocks that I got; I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block...
In truth, I am your typical paycheck-to-paycheck single mom who tries to "pass" in my community every day. Honestly, most days I'm amazed that the border patrol doesn't pick me off on Country Club Road when I come tooling by in my hoopty ride, but maybe they figure I'm with the Merry Maids. My community is very wealthy, very safe, and very, very white. Like. . .albino white. . .like, Robert Pattinson glistening in the sunlight white. Par example: last week my friend Brandon and I were standing in my yard talking and I noticed my neighbor being all scowl-y and skulk-y and shooting Brandon the stink-eye.
"Umm, Martinez?" I asked Brandon. "Is there any reason besides your Boston Red Sox cap that my neighbor would be going all George Zimmerman on your ass?"
Brandon rolled his eyes. "Jen, when was the last time anyone saw a Mexican in this neighborhood that wasn't pushing a lawn mower?"
Touche, my friend.
Living in my community every day you gradually become blind to the fact that we have as much diversity as a snowglobe. Kind of like when you make microwave popcorn and you sit on the couch and eat it, then you fall asleep watching 'The Kardashians' and wake up six hours later and go out to get the mail and come back in and you're, like "Wow. . .it really smells like microwave popcorn in here" but you didn't notice before because you were in the house eating the popcorn and 'The Kardashians' were on and when did Rob get so fat and seriously, Khloe needs to cut her losses and move on and where did Kendall get those shoes? And. . .wait. . .what were we talking about? Oh yeah. . .we're white. Very, very white.
And there is no crime in my 'hood. Zero. Zilch. At least none of any significance. In fact, a few weeks back some dude walked into the store where my friend Nathan works and asked him to call the cops because some guy went all 5-1-5-0 on his face outside of a nearby bar. Nathan called the po-po because he's all upstanding and shit and when they showed up to take the beat-up guy's statement they sent five police cars. Five. Which basically constitutes our entire police force.*
*And did I mention the cops in my 'burb drive Range Rovers? Because. . .yeah.
I guess they weren't too taxed from a day of citing people for excessive air-kissing or wearing white shoes after Labor day to send out the SWAT team for this guy's stolen cellphone. You don't know what kind of back-up you'll need to take one drunk guy's statement in an organic grocery store. Vegans be cray-cray, yo.
In much the same way I turn a blind eye to the glaring lack of melanin in my community, I am oblivious to the lack of crime as well. That is, until our local paper comes out and I have the opportunity to peruse the police blotter. I present to you, some excerpts from last week's issue.
She should see what they're saying about her daughter on Instagram. #whore #nudeselfies #lowselfesteem #daddyissues #sixteenandpregnant
First of all, there is nothing delightful about scarecrows. Nothing. Scarecrows are just oversized, handcrafted clowns and seriously? Fuck clowns. Secondly, are extra patrols REALLY necessary when someone has gone out of their way to rid the earth of scarecrows? I think not. And thirdly, we have no farmland in my 'hood, so WHAT KIND OF TWISTED MOFO HAS MULTIPLE SCARECROWS ON THEIR PROPERTY!?!? I think the 5-0's time would be better served checking this dude's basement for roofied coeds and jars of lotion.
Oh, never mind. That's what was in the basement. As you were.
See, there's her first problem. Everyone knows you don't "invite him over to get his stuff". You sell the electronics on Craigslist and leave the rest on the lawn. Pfft! Amateur. . .
Someone was obviously absent the day Dick Van Dyke taught us all to "Stop, Drop, and Roll".
Has Martha Stewart been in the area? Because we all know about her penchant for yard decor and criminal malfeasance. That bitch's fingers are stickier than a Vietnamese whore in a peanut brittle factory. But still. . .it would be interesting to know what she could do armed with nothing but a ceramic mushroom, a hot glue gun, and a dream. . .
Honestly, I'd be less terrified of seeing some dude who looks like 'Lil Wayne skulking around my Ford with a crowbar than some poor man's Yanni reenacting his "Live At The Acropolis" tour in my cul-de-sac. That shit ain't right. . .
So, while it would be nice to expose my short people to something more ethnically diverse than Taco Bell, you can see why I live here. In summation: great schools, good food, no crime, rich people, and thanks to the work of one good man with excellent night vision and a flatbed truck. . .no scarecrows.
Now, if we could just do something about that pesky yard gnome outbreak. . .