Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More Portland weirdnesses

Scandal at Starbucks

Kim and I are walking into Starbucks having one of our usual conversations.

Me: Well, I really think if you look at neutrinos and the Higgs boson as part of a natural yet existential continuum then OH MY GOD! Look!
Kim: Wha….what the hell?
Me: Look at those so-called “petite” scones! They’re twice the size of the ones in Chicago! Garcón!

Hapless Starbucks employee: Can I help you?
Me: Just look at those so-called petite scones!
HSE: Umm, yes?
Me: Look at them – they’re huge! They’re almost the same size as the regular scones!
HSE: Well yes, that’s wh…
Me: J’accuse!
HSE: But…
Me: Are they always that big? Is that de rigeur here in Portlandia?
HSE: Umm, yes, that’s how the bakery makes the…
Me: Scandal! The Kone is being robbed back in Chicago! Okay, granted, my little Chunkers may not necessarily need a Chernobyl-sized scone, but still, that is beside the point.
HSE: But….
Me: Kim! Make a note of this travesty! Letters must be written! We need to coalesce around this critically important issue! Alert the media! Kim….Kim?

I don’t know why Kim keeps darting out of the places we’ve gone into together, but it seems to be happening more and more often. I hope the poor dear isn’t developing some kind of weird agoraphobia or something. Well, I’ll soldier on regardless, and will report back. Courage.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Adventures in Portlandia

I suppose it’s indicative of how hellish my recent trip to Portland was (and not the actual trip itself, but the getting to part of it) insofar as this: when I finally arrived in Portland late that Monday night, in the pouring rain (of course) and went out to the hotel parking lot to find the car Kim’s friend was kindly loaning to me, the words that came out of my mouth when I saw it were:

“Oh there you are, my little friend the Escalade.”

Yes, it’s true.

Then I giggled, that I had said such a thing, outright laughed as I keelhauled myself into the damn thing (note to self: next time bring rappelling hooks), and went on my merry way. The fun was only just beginning. To wit:

Escalade rage?

So there I was trying to follow Kim….somewhere. I forget where. Oh, I think we were dropping off her car downtown to get fixed. Point being, I was tailing her closely, or at least trying to. Until she scooted over into the right lane, and like a good driver, I put on my turn signal to get behind her, but….what ho? The car that was some distance behind her is speeding up! Must be an oversight, right?

Umm, wrong. Because as I again try to get into the right lane, he scoots even closer to Kim’s bumper, so there’s no way I can get behind her. Okay, fine, asshole. I get behind him, and figure I’ll just keep an eye on where Kim’s going.

Which would work, if this douchebag asshole didn’t suddenly creep to practically a stop with no turn signal on, before sloooowly making a right turn into the next parking lot. Asshole! I turn to look at him incredulously as I’m driving past, and this hippie-looking older bearded guy is giving me the finger! What the hell! I thought people from Portland were so nice and laidback! I am incensed, and in true Chicago fashion, am tempted to follow him and beat the ever-loving crap out of him, as we’d do in Chicago. Alas, I need to catch up with Kim – who, in very Kim-like fashion, later tells me that she didn’t notice any of this going on behind her. Sigh. 

This episode makes me deeply embittered, and it would totally derail my interest in moving to Portland, except for this:

Magic Crosswalks

So Kim and I decide to stop for breakfast at Vita Café, one of the 6 billion vegan places in Portland, and after we park our cars, we have to cross the street. Now, Kim’s explained to me this whole bizarre crosswalk concept that supposedly exists in Portland, where people actually stop willy-nilly for pedestrians, but even though I’ve seen it in action, I’m still skeptical. But there’s a crosswalk, and our restaurant is across the street. I close my eyes and stretch one leg out in front of me into the street……

“Umm, Tasha, what are you doing?”

The strains of “…and we’ll all float on okay” dissipate from my head and I open my eyes. There’s a car waiting patiently, while Kim is looking at me a bit strangely. Oh. My. God. Cars actually DO stop here for pedestrians, they DO they do! I look down. My leg is still attached to the rest of my body, not having been sheared off by a crazed driver! Hallellujah, it’s a miracle!

The entire rest of my time in Portland, this same magic continues to happen. There’s a street and a crosswalk, and the second I step into said street, the cars immediately and non-bitterly come to a stop. I find myself walking across streets just for the heck of it. Whee, another street to cross! For some reason Kim finds all this a bit strange, but I say, anyone else from Chicago would do the exact same thing.

(Portlandia to be continued….)