Am I too Bizarre for Portland?
An existential disaster from Nob Hill
The day was completely Portland. A light-weight drizzle that no person appeared to note pressed sodden, golden leaves into the boutique-lined sidewalk of Northwest twenty third Avenue whereas a girl in fashionable rainboots perched precariously on a ladder, fastidiously situating letters onto the marquee of the Fireplace pub that learn: “Love Wins Again!”
I used to be exploring Portland’s Nob Hill, aptly named after its sister neighborhood in San Francisco for its victorian houses transformed into classic shops, tea outlets, and lazy-day cafés stuffed with individuals chatting over closed laptops in the course of a Friday afternoon.
In an effort to discover a neighborhood the place I really feel comfy sufficient to signal an precise lease (an enormous deal for this nomad!), I’m exploring all elements of Portland, and stylish, crunchy Nob Hill was an important place to begin, particularly since I wanted to restock all of my eco-friendly, natural, tremendous hippy, plastic-free lotions and shampoos.
Seeing “home” by new eyes
The factor is, although I grew up simply eight miles from PDX which is, by the way, one of the best airport on this planet, I don’t know a lot about Portland. After I was rising up, these eight miles felt just like the Berlin Wall. No person ever needed to drive over the Columbia River from suburban Washington to a world with site visitors and (gasp!) revenue taxes.
One of many first questions lobbed over frothy beers in pubs around the globe, although, is: “where are you from”? And irrespective of what number of instances I fielded that question throughout a yr and a half of touring the world, I by no means fairly perfected my reply.
You see, I’m actually from Vancouver, Wash. However even when I actually present this long-winded reply phrase for phrase: “I’m from a town in the state of Washington on the border of Oregon that is called Vancouver but is not Canada. I repeat I am not Canadian”…50 % of individuals will nonetheless assume I’m Canadian for the remainder of my life.
I significantly have an American buddy who — two years after spending many evenings out with me — was flabbergasted to study that I’m: A) not Canadian and B) there’s a Vancouver within the good ol’ US of A.
I attempted replying with “Washington State” for some time, however many individuals overseas hear Washington and, understandably, assume D.C. I did reside within the nation’s capital for 3 years, so generally I simply roll with it, as a result of no less than I can discuss concerning the neighborhoods, websites and flavors of Washington, D.C. with confidence.
As a result of once I go together with the best and apparent reply of “Portland, Oregon,” individuals then ask me concerning the metropolis and I don’t have a lot to say since I haven’t lived within the Pacific Northwest in 15 years and there was that entire Berlin Wall state of affairs once I was a child.
I normally find yourself laughing with my fellow vacationers about Portlandia, the hilarious satirical present concerning the well-intentioned however over-the-top do-gooders and hipsters of Portland. After which I poke enjoyable at myself as a result of, as a very good Northwest woman, I’m a well-intentioned however over-the-top do-gooder.
Portland actually is bizarre — ly good
Portlandia is hilarious as a result of it’s fairly rattling near house, a indisputable fact that was unattainable to disregard as I waited for a significantly tattoed man with a blue mohawk to clear the sidewalk earlier than maneuvering my Prius right into a metered parking area.
My first cease was Kiels, the place a lovely lady who regarded like a kind of ass-kicking anime characters together with her blue eyelashes and bedazzled cheekbones, patiently helped me purchase extra face lotion.
I’ve nice guilt about face-lotion purchases, you see. It’s the one constant buy that I make that also comprises plastic. However this pint-sized feminine with a face stuffed with glitter brightly pointed towards the recycling bins within the nook of the shop the place a bearded, bespectacled man in a white labcoat leaned with folded arms.
He nodded reassuringly and defined that Kiels companions with an organization that focuses on recycling “difficult” supplies and that the corporate really pays Kiels a small quantity for every recycled bottle which, naturally, they then flip round and donate to charity.
All around the world, I’ve been handled with tolerant exasperation for my pledge to go plastic-free (or as shut as I might be) — however not right here! My solely concern in Nob Hill was that I felt a bit misplaced with my lack of tattoos, hairspray or face decals.
My subsequent step was Lush, the place I wanted to replenish on bars of physique lotion, shampoo, and tablets of toothpaste — as a result of, significantly, individuals, toothpaste tubes can not ever be recycled.
Right here I used to be helped by a girl who really managed to tug off facial tattoos and look drop-dead attractive. She even chased me down twenty third Ave. once I forgot my mint-flavored tooth tablets on the counter as a result of I used to be so distracted by making an attempt to not stare at her.
Wait, am I too bizarre for Portland?
Thus far so good in Nob Hill. However I used to be beginning to fear that I wasn’t bizarre sufficient for Portland. However then on the Jewish deli, I proved myself to be a lot bizarre sufficient.
A dedication to going plastic-free typically means no takeout, however I actually wanted to get on the highway to go for the Oregon Coast earlier than that well-known Portland site visitors clogged up the bridges, so I used to be glad to see the deli the place I assumed I might purchase a sandwich wrapped in recyclable paper.
When the proprietor requested what facet I would really like with my egg-salad sandwich and supplied some mouth-watering choices like coleslaw and macaroni salad that will absolutely require containers, I defined my plastic-free standing, crossing my fingers that she had compostable or paper cups and lids.
No cube. However she did sympathize with me and, in return, I sympathized together with her when she mentioned that she has been trying to find a cheap, eco-friendly resolution with no luck. It shouldn’t value extra to be environmentally aware however, the actual fact is that it simply does.
After I noticed the bucket full of massive, dill pickles behind the counter, I bartered for a number of further pickles as an alternative of a facet and she or he sweetly wrapped these pickles in paper and set them apart for me whereas the road cook dinner whipped collectively my sandwich.
Every little thing was effective till the cook dinner simply couldn’t perceive that I didn’t desire a facet. Simply the pickles. After some confusion, I walked out the door with just some moments left on my parking meter, unwrapping a kind of pickles to eat on the best way.
I used to be laughing to myself on the confusion of the cook dinner and questioning if perhaps, simply perhaps, it’s me that’s too bizarre for Portland when, as I chomped right into a scrumptious dill, the tattooed man with the blue mohawk walked by, this time along with his little canine who sported dainty rain booties. He gave me the strangest look as he took in my roadside pickle, which I almost choked on as I took in his canine’s sneakers.
Because it seems, I feel me and Portland could be an ideal match.