Keep Portland Weird

It’s been more than a week since returning home.  I’ve fully unpacked (short only a mouse, which I believe I left somewhere in Wyoming) and become reacquainted with old bad habits (note how long it has taken me to write this).  But I promised you 20 posts and by my count we’ve only hit 15.  So, with my excuses exhausted and little else to do in this oppressive Jersey heat, let’s get to it.

So, where were we?  Ahh, right – I was standing on the edge of the beautiful and boundless blue of the Pacific.  After taking a plethora of photos and leaving my grammatically incorrect mark in the sand, Paul and I celebrated our cross-country venture with seafood.  This was followed by a drive into Portland to fix our long-standing A/C issue.  I naively thought this would take an hour at most.  Instead, we spent over three hours dealing with the incompetence and bureaucracy of Hertz before exchanging our blue Sonic for a red one.  After checking for, and then blasting the A/C, we found the closest Walmart and called it a night.

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My Latin was never very good. This should read “pax tecum”. Translation: Peace be with you.

In a rare turn of events, I had more energy than Paul the next morning, so I took the wheel.  After securing lodging, I drove aimlessly around Portland before seeking out, you guessed it, a cemetery.  I hadn’t gotten my graveyard fix in a while, and this one was a doozy: the Grand Army of the Republic cemetery.  Tucked away in a small corner of a larger complex, the cemetery paid tribute almost exclusively to Civil War veterans. Of note in this particular boneyard were Salmon Brown, son of the infamous John Brown, and Hartwell B. Compson, Medal of Honor recipient.

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The remainder of the day consisted of catching up on sleep before heading downtown to meet up with a college friend of mine who’s out here for the summer.  Between my talk with him, as well as my own observations, I was led to an inescapable conclusion: Portland is weird.  Let me count the ways.

Sun-powered compost machines disguised as trash bins line the city streets.  It is nigh impossible to distinguish between the homeless (of which there are many) and those who are just aping their style.  Fluoride is not added to the tap water – people have voted repeatedly to keep this so.  Donut shops will use anything from cocoa puffs to bacon as toppings.  A sample of ten random passersby provides a greater diversity of hairstyles, tattoos, and body piercings than entire neighborhoods in some eastern cities. This city is more than just a hippie haven – it’s as if a group of people actually took that “Imagine” song to heart.  While this is certainly not my scene, I am rather impressed such a place not only exists but seemingly functions as a major metropolitan area.  So, yeah, keep doing what you’re doing guys – though you might want to rethink the whole fluoridation issue.

The city's unofficial motto

The city’s unofficial motto

Correction: In my last post I referred to Oregon as the Evergreen State.  I’m afraid I provided you with incorrect information.  Oregon is actually nicknamed the Beaver State.  I can only guess how Duck fans feel about this.

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