I don’t know why the Oregon Beef Council would decide that Belmont, the epicenter of Southeast Portland specialness, was the perfect place to erect a billboard 10 feet off the ground reading “We love vegetarians. More meat for us!”, but it’s been tagged twice in a week, the second time with “meat is MURDER”. Everything about this, from the Smiths quote to the fury of the two remaining conservatives in the area, is hilarious. Listen, if you wanna eat your meat and drive a ridiculous tank, and you can live ANYWHERE in Oregon, why would you choose Boho Belmont or Hippie Hawthorne? It just seems self-defeating.
Since Portlandia aired, comedy in Portland has been dealt a blow- we can no longer make fun of precious, childhood-fetishizing, fixie-riding hipsters, our most visible attribute and most reviled population segment, because it’s been DONE, darling.
In desperation, I have been casting about for new jokes about our beloved city- to this end, here is a list of things that have NEVER been said about Portland:
Self-starter, type-A personality workers keep stores open all hours of the day and night- you never stop by an independent store at 3PM on a Tuesday to find them closed for no adequately explained reason.
One disadvantage of Portland living: you can’t find a coffeeshop in this town to save your life.
Everywhere you go, in every shop and residence, you can hear Dolly Parton singing “Jolene.”
Local waiststaff are frequently taken to task for being unnaturally clean and polite.
All of Portland has a crush on Zia McCabe of the Dandy Warhols, even buildings and those brass fountain otters downtown.
Portland is George W. Bush’s favorite weekend getaway city. Find him walking down to Saturday Market from the Governor hotel, which he thinks he can stay at for free, because he was a Governor.
Portland drivers are passive to the extreme, and are often overtaken by wild rabbits on the highway.
Like pumping your own gas, it’s illegal to make your own breakfast on Saturday or Sunday, leading to long, hungry lines in front of every local restaurant on the weekends.
Write me with more things that have never been said about Portland, ever!
My friend Sul witnessed me riding my bicycle around and around in the parking lot this morning, trying to hit 10K so I could take a picture in the daylight. She laughed at me and threw an empty pop can at my head, and I deserve it. Still and all, I hit 10K today.
Every Summer, there is a visible increase in bike ridership in Portland. Every year when the Tour de France starts, there are more bikes. This year, with gas topping four-bucks-fifty, there are still even more bikes.
In general, this is a good thing- for one, for the first time since the Carter-era gas shortage, car fatalities have gone down nationally.
On the other hand, I read that bike commuters are bad for the planet, because we live longer and use more resources, and if we really loved the earth, we’d all ride scooters and smoke.
Despite this, I like when there are more bikes, except when it inconveniences me- like when helpful wags wave at me manically as they approach in the wrong direction in the bike lane, or when the Portland police take it upon themselves to set up “sting” operations, like the one at the traffic circle in Ladd’s Addition on Monday. (In Little Rascals style, a bike who had been stopped at the Stop Sign Which Seems Superfluous circled back to the entrance of the Addition to warn the morning bike traffic that we’d better stop for once, which was very nice.)
This morning, a new commuter pulled up and we had the following conversation:
Nice Lady: Hey, I saw that you tripped the signal at 21st and Division! I thought we had to wait for a car!
Me: Oh, no, if you see a tar circle on the ground, pull into the outer third and it should trip the signal.
Nice Lady: That’s great! How long have you been bike commuting?
Me: (Bashfully) Well, several years anyway- I just hit 9000 miles on my odometer!
Nice Lady: Oh my gosh! Well, thanks so much!
Me: Um…Excuse me, but isn’t your helmet on backwards?
I joined a Pedalpalooza event for the Bowie vs. Prince ride on Friday night. The idea is that a bike ride cruises around and occasionally stops to drink and dance to a biked sound system. I decided to express with my outfit the question, “what if the harlequin from Scary Monsters was really just a big-boned gal in a bike helmet?” The fantastic DJ Rhienna was also in attendance.
It was fun, although the music that started as very Bowie and Prince and quickly devolved to generic hip-hop, and I had hoped to see more awesome outfits. I did see 300 hipsters, 1000 cans of PBR, and about 80 helmets! There was a Screaming Lord Byron in attendance, and inexplicably, a Michael Jackson.
Strange things yelled at me on my bike:
1. Hey, do you have twenty dollars? Well, do you?
2. Hey! Your face!
3. Hi Virginia Jones! (not so strange, really)
300 people in the Safeway parking lot-like a flash mob, but more shambly and random.
We visited the bran’ spankin’ new Eastside Voodoo Doughnut, for those of us too drunk or lazy to go downtown to get one. Thank you, Jebus!
In the end, it is clear that Portland’s sympathies lie with the Thin White Duke and not the Purple One, but it was close. Prince is still the universal #1 artist that drunk girls request at parties.
It’s Pedalpalooza in Portland.
Pedalpalooza is a fortnight of bike-related events that I had forgotten about until I left Harvey’s on Saturday at midnight to be greeted by a peleton of naked bikers. The two road comics I was working with were very impressed by the display, as I commented, oh, it’s naked bike ride time again already. Craigslist Missed Connections was also pretty active the next day, although suitors had to be fairly observant about bike makes, colors, and models, since “you were naked, so was I” did not really narrow the field.
In a fitting St. Patrick’s day occurrence, I rolled onto my first new green “bike box” at SE 7th and Hawthorne today.
It’s a cheery, acid astroturf color, and it’s designed to remind cars not to flatten me on my bike. I also reached 8,000 miles on my odometer today, almost two years to the day of my 2,000th mile!
Tomorrow, the day after St. Patrick’s day, is always an exciting day for a bike commuter, and if the weather’s clear, I can report on the number of visible vomits on my regular route.