Saturday, March 26, 2011

Becoming a Portlander

So I've lived in Portland for over a year (17-18 months) and when people ask "How do you like Portland?" I always seem to give a "It's nice" level answer. It's pretty, it's got so much, it's nice to be near family, blah blah blah. But nothing committal. 

I just haven't found my groove as it were. I always have "blamed" it on where in town I live. I'm a 30-45 minute car ride away from the City Center (which is a 45-60 minute ride via public transportation). And the neighborhood I currently live in isn't conducive to walking out the front door and experiencing Portland. 

Adjusting to any new town or city isn't easy. There are things that set you apart from "locals'. Things here and there that people consider initiation into being a Fill-in-the-Blank-er. So here I am 18 months into living in Portland and looking to become a Portlander (without being eligible as a cast member on Portlandia). 

A few months back the Willamette Week (an alternative newspaper in town) published their Finder magazine which includes "100 things you must do to be a Portlander" (by Matthew Korfhage, AP Kryza, Aaron Mesh, Becky Ohlsen and Chris Stamm).....Warning to readers. The Willamette Weekly can and is not PC, it is sarcastic, crude and airs on the side of asshole-ish. So if you are easily offended you might want to stop reading here.

So here we go. What they think I need to do to become a Portlander (and my thoughts on their suggestions)

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100 Things You Must Do to be a Portlander

1. Throw away your umbrella - I don't think so. First I've heard this from people about Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. I've seen locals using umbrellas in all these places. And truth be told - a hat messes up my hair, a hoodie is not appropriate for my job and I don't want to look like a drowned rat to or from work. So I carry an umbrella with me at all times. Guess I'm just destended to not be a Portlander from the start.

2. Apply for a job at Powell's - I don't remember if I applied at Powells or not when I was seeking employment upon arrival. The cool thing I heard recently though is Powells prefers to higher people with higher education degrees. So if the gig I have fails at least I know I'm not over qualified for them. :)

3. Sell books at Powells - Haven't done this yet either. 0-3 so far. I tend to either not get rid of books, give them to friends and/or donate them to the Goodwill. 

4. Get a Multnomah County Library card (it's free) - Everyone in Portland reads! That's not a gross over generalization or blanket statement. Men, women, upperclass, homeless....they all have books and they'r always reading. I love that about Portland. Unfortunately I haven't gotten my butt up and around to getting a library card. I have plenty of books at home for now.

5. Get thrown off the MAX - No thank you. I have no desire to cause such a disturbance that I am thrown off the MAX! I have a trimet pass anyway. 

6. Thank your bus driver - Politeness for the win!! I do this every time whether I get off through the front or back doors. Nothing wrong with being grateful. 

7. Call a Radio Cab because TriMet doesn't run early enough to get you to the airport in time for a cross-country flight you booked before thinking about how you would get to the airport - Um.....? No? Yes I've called a cab (although not Radio Cab). Not to or from the airport.  And even if my flight was that early I know there are friends/family who would help me out. 

8. Learn how to pronounce Couch - For those of you who don't know...it's pronounced Kooch. *pause* Okay. Done giggling? Couch was a Portland founding father, blah blah blah. Yes I know the proper pronunciation and no I don't giggle over it. 

9. Cancel your social plans because it's raining too hard. - I don't think I've canceled on anyone because of the rain. There are days when it's raining so hard I decide not to venture out doors but I wouldn't cancel on friends due to the weather. 

10. Get a Netflix account, then get a Movie Madness account because you feel guilty.  - I have no idea what Movie Madness is. I'm assuming a more local version of Netflix (?) So another "no".

11. Join a food co-op or produce delivery service - Nope.

12. Eat meat surreptitiously. - Not going to happen.

13. Realize too late that city parking tickets double after 30 days - and keeps going. - Nope. Don't drive so I don't have to worry. 

14. Stand with a gaggle of misdemeanor offenders in the obscenely long metal-detector line at hte Multnomah County Courthouse. - Not yet.

15. Go to a strip club to play pool - Not that I don't have plenty to pick from but it hasn't happened.

16. Grow a half-beard. - I think that even though this hasn't happened to me, it's not going to count against me either. 

17. Get a haircut drunk - Never! No matter where I live!

18. Attend a themed pub crawl, like Santacon in December or the Urban Iditarod in March. Never do it again. - I had someone suggest I do this next year....Doubt it will happen.

19. Work off a hangover with an afternoon of Skee-Ball at Avalon Theatre and Wunderland Nickel Arcade  - Not yet and I'm not really a big fan of arcades....

20. Flirt at the Doug Fir fire pit. - Nope.

21. Watch the sunset from Mount Tabor - No objections to this, just hasn't happened

22. Forward a Portland-related story from the New York Times website - Of course I have! Forwarded them to folks living here as well as soon-to-be visiting friends. 

23. Deplore the Mexican food, until you discover a burrito cart - So I haven't discovered a burrito cart but we have found a few restaurants that satisfy us enough....for now (Don Pedro, Por Que No, La Isla Bonita)

24. Apply to grad school and don't go - Haven't applied. Thought about it but didn't even get to the application process part

25. Endure seasonal affective disorder (aka November) - Or you know...September through June...but whatever.....

26. Explain how you're still feeling bad about what happened to Elliott Smith. - Not so much

27. Use Craigslist to befriend somebody with a medical marijuana card. - Not going to happen...ever

28. Discover sliding-scale therapy. - Know it exists but haven't used it.

29. Walk the Eastbank Esplanade. - I've walked along the west side of river but never the east

30. Develop a passive-aggressive method to deter people asking for change and/or your signature. - I probably have but being passive aggressive just haven't realized I've developed it....denial stage still. :)

31. Take a bag of empty bottles to the grocery store return station for that precious $3 - We give them to my sister who does.

32. Sleep with somebody who works at New Seasons. - Haha. No. Haven't done this either. 

33. Experience Starbucks shame - This is not a Portland only concept. But since Starbucks not only gave my younger sister her first job ever, has treated her well and has given her insurance...Starbucks haters can kiss my ass.

34. Hate California - Never going to happen. Sorry folks. I still have my California ID

35. Quit a yoga class - Haven't joined one (yet)

36. Pick a side of the Willamette River (you're either a westsider or an eastsider. You can't be both). - This is soooo true! I was talking to a co-worker (who lives on the eastside) about how I was thinking of moving to the westside to be closer to work...the look she gave me!! You would have thought I just told her I decided to become a cannibal!

37. Gentrify a neighborhood. - Nope.

38. Pick berries on Sauvie Island- Nope.

39. Pretend to listen to OPB- Nope.

40. Embrace soccer. It's inevitable. - Nope.

41. Be outraged that Brandon Roy is dissed by NBA All-Star voters- Who?.That's soccer right? Oh! Basketball...got it!

42. Complain about mild traffic. - Get over it Portlanders. You don't like the traffic go try commuting home in LA

43. Shop for a station wagon - Volvo or Subaru - Haven't.

44. Buy a backyard chicken - No...and I honestly can't see this ever happening. Please if it does commit me!

45. Have an opinion on Oregon pinot - Why?

46. Vote! It's by mail, so you have no excuses. - Of course!!! A few times at this point!

47. Dance at the Fez, the Goodfoot or Ararat- Haven't.

48. Pull a phone number at a dog park.- Haven't.

49. Buy some outdoor gear (You don't have to use it).- Haven't.

50. Accidentally fuck up the compost bin at a Burgerville - I don't know! :S

51. Develop a deep-seated scorn for those tax dodgers in Vancouver - Whatever! I can't blame them for wanting to not pay Sales Tax either! If I lived in WA I'd try to get away with it too!!

52. Pretend you don't recognize somebody is a Suicide Girl- Haven't.

53. Be proud of your black friend. - Oh WW

54. If you've read Chuck Palaniuk, pretend you haven't, or vice versa - Again a town of liars?

55. Get laid off, join the creative class- Haven't.

56. Buy clothes from Red Light and try to sell them at Buffalo Exchange- Haven't.

57. Find a dress at the Red White & Blue Thrift Store.- Haven't.

58. Wear it to the Red Dress Party- Haven't.

59. Get lost in outer east Portland - I live in the OUTER east Portland so getting lost doesn't really happen. Now the west? That's a different story. 

60. Float down the Little Sandy River with liquored-up rednecks.- Not yet

61. Wait in line for brunch - There's no way around this. Portland is OBSESSED with breakfast/brunch. No matter where you go - if it's a weekend brunch you're going to wait. 

62. Crash your bicycle on the streetcar tracks while distracted by the sign warning you not to crash you bike on the streetcar tracks. - LMAO! I want to meet someone who has just to shake their hand. I wish I could say I've done this!

63. Drive over the Cascades at night. - Not at night.

64. Don't buy tire chains, then complain when Les Schwabe runs out during the annual snowstorm. - Snowstorms? Please. Yes, I bitch and moan every winter (I've been through two) but snowstorm? Unless you're commuting outside of Portland you don't need tire chains. And at this point everyone is so panicked from a few winters ago (when it did snow so hard the town of Portland shut down) that they all own snow tires or tire chains at this point.  

65. Be forced to disembark public transit because it's stuck in snow. - See above.

66. Hug a stranger at the Oregon Brewers Festival - Haven't gone to a Brew Fest yet so no stranger hugs.

67. Learn how hard it is to be pregnant and vegan - Well. Let's see. I haven't been pregnant and don't plan on being vegan...so I don't think this one is going to happen either. 

68. Take a filmmaking class at the NW Film Center - Haven't.

69. Watch The Big Lebowski with beer at a theatre- Haven't.

70. Mistake Gus Van Sant for a homeless person - I have to admit. I had to look him up. No clue who he was. So I may have....haha. 

71. Adopt a favorite homeless person, the only one you'll give money - I do have a  favorite in the sense of the most creative sign I've seen. I gave him the hot leftovers from my breakfast the one (and only) morning I saw him....but I would never just give one person money only. (Oh the guys sign said something along the lines of "Allergic to Jail. Too Ugly to Prostitute. Too old o work.")

72. Watch your favorite shitty bar get replaced by a condo - My favorite bars are far from shitty and none have been replaced by condos. 

73. Give your house a stupid name, as if it's a real music venue - Never going to happen.

74. Complain about a free concert - Bitch bitch bitch.

75. Britt Daniel - Um? Who?

76. Ride the 14-line Bus of Shame - Now I have ridden the 14-line but it was after a pot-luck and in the early evening. There was no Ride-of-Shame involved.

77. Distrust the police, even though all your interactions with them have been without incident - I've met a number of police offers and they've all been super polite and kind. However, I am an educated white woman. They (the police) have been a little trigger-happy lately if you ask some people. Doesn't mean I'm going to develop a distrust for them. 

78. Visit the Paul Bunyan statue in Kenton - No, but I WANT TO!!

79. Stop thinking the pronunciation of Couch is funny. - Already have. 

80. Get an Oregon drivers license (it's $60) - I was just talking about this with someone. My Cali ID is good until 2015...we'll see what happens then. 

81. Wait patiently in Camas for someone to pump your gas - Okay. So it wasn't Camas. But it was in Washington. We'd only been living in Oregon two months. We were on our way home from Thanksgiving dinner in WA and stopped for gas in the little town before we headed home. We didn't wait long luckily but it was that "Oh yea!" moment when we realized no one was going to come and pump our gas for us. 

82. Join an ironic/drunk sport - Probably not going to happen.

83. Fall asleep in a public place and have nothing bad happen to you. - Haha. I think I can say yes to this one. :) I wasn't feeling well and was on my way home from work. I closed my eyes on the bus and didn't realize when we pulled into the transit center (last stop - where I was to get off and transfer). A nice gentleman came and touched my shoulder letting me know it was time to get off. 

84. Become an Internet reverend. - Whatever. We did this in college. 

85. Take out-of-town relatives for an exciting "sway and dip" ride on the Aerial Tram. Realize there's nothing to do at OHSU unless you're sick. Ride back down. - Yea. You're not getting me on that Aerial Tram. Not going to happen. 

86. Get stuck on a bridge. - Hasn't happened. Yet.

87. Refuse to attend a party ~~ on the other side of the river - No. 

88. Show up an hour late to a show, and be angry it's already started - Is it just me or do Portlanders seem to be self-entitled whinny bitches?

89. See the Vaux's swifts fly into the Chapman Elementary School's chimney on a September evening. - I didn't even know about this but now I want to!

90. Own a Richmond Fontaine record - Nope. 

91. Talk about how much you enjoy Wordstock, even if you've never been - Is Portland also a town full of liars?

92. Take the farmers market for granted - Never. I'm so excited they're opening up again soon!

93. Follow a food cart on Twitter - I do have a Twitter account but I don't think I follow a food cart.

94. Combine your love of found art and recycling at Last Thursday - Never been. 

95. Crash a Wieden+Kennedy office party- Never been.

96. Have a long conversation about Noam Chomsky - Is it bad I don't know who this is?

97. Love Bud Clark - I'm just not allowed to be a Portlander because I have no idea who any of these people are!!

98. Refer to your spouse as your "partner" - There's nothing wrong with using all inclusive language....I don't do this but still....

99. Travel to Cannon Beach or Newport for Mo's clam chowder  - Now I went to Newport this past February for my birthday. And we ate at the ORIGINAL Mo's. My sister and her boyfriend both got the clam chowder (I tried some of theirs) and really it was nothing special. I won't be going out of my way again to eat there. 

100. Get caught in the rain at Cathedral Park; take shelter under the St. John's Bridge. (Bonus points: Fall in Love).  - Haven't been to Cathedral Park, taken shelter under the bridge but wouldn't be against getting a few bonus points (at this point I need all I can get).

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So what do you think? Which numbers should I strive for to become more Portlander-like?

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