There are many more things I can point to that speak to how magically weird Portland is: the cancer cures being offered at every turn (“Apricot kernels,” whispered the Starbucks guy), my actual sighting of a “go, no you go” situation in the Nice Fred Meyer parking lot, or my acting like a total moron across the entire city every time I bought something (“What? $4.50 is the exact price? Seriously? No sales tax? That’s astonishing! In Chicago it’s over 10%! My god, this is a great state!”).
(As an aside, I was discussing Portland with a dog park friend, and he noted that when he was there he thought the legally required gas station attendant was a homeless person. “No thanks dude, here’s a buck, I can pump my own gas.” “Umm, sorry sir, I work here.”)
But all of that is small potatoes compared to….well, let’s take a look.
The Whole Foods parking lot
Kim and I decide to head to Whole Foods to see if they have vegan donuts, after we were foiled by the long line at Voodoo Donuts even though it’s a Monday afternoon. Hello, why aren’t all you people at work? Anyway.
We buy our stuff and head back out to the parking lot, when I mention that I’d like to stop at the Starbucks that’s just down the street on the corner, less than half a block away.
Kim: Okay, let’s go.
She oddly starts walking towards the Starbucks.
Me: Umm, Kim, what are you doing? We can’t leave the car here – we need to repark.
Kim looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind.
Kim: How long are you going to be there?
Me: Just a minute, but it doesn’t matter, the car will be towed!
Kim: What are you talking about?
Me: This is the Whole Foods parking lot! We can’t just willy-nilly go to another store! We won’t have a car to come back to!
Kim: They won’t tow it in 5 minutes!
Me: Of course they will – where have you been your whole life?
Kim: Umm, Portland?
Me: Okay, fine, but I’m telling you, this is a mistake. We’ll get towed and then have to track down the car and pay an exorbitant fee to get it out….just you wait and see.
Kim: Okay then….
We go get our coffees, head back to the Whole Foods parking lot, and, lo and behold, it’s a miracle! The car is still there!
Me: Oh my god! It’s a miracle! Now you understand we got lucky this time – no sense in tempting fate next time.
You know, it’s odd how Kim keeps picking up these odd tics while I’m in town. First she was darting out of stores, now her right eye is twitching. Strange.
The Bob’s Red Mill parking lot
Our big excursion to Mecca, aka Bob’s Red Mill, was a grand success as we walked out toting all manner of quinoa flour, hemp seed, ingredients for Lucy’s pupcakes, and the like. Even better, Bob’s is right across the street from Dave’s Killer Breadquarters, so we could head there next. The dufecta! We put our stuff in the car and I start getting in.
Kim: Didn’t you want to go to Dave’s Killer Bread?
Me: Yes, but it’s across the street.
There’s a moment of silence as Kim and I look at each other across the hood of the car, both of us clearly wondering if we’ve been spending time with a madman.
I patiently explain: We can’t just leave the car here. It’ll get towed!
Kim: We’re just going across the street.
Me: Across the street, across town, it doesn’t matter! The parking vultures are lurking, ready to jump out and tow us the second we step foot off this property!
Kim looks around at the bucolic surroundings in this subdivision of businesses, and seems at a loss for words.
Me: Parking vultures, I tell you!
Kim: But…but….it’s just across the street. It would be silly to drive…
Me: Argh! Okay fine! But when we get towed, it’ll be on your head!
We go buy our bread, head back over to the parking lot, and…….the car is still there! Hallelujah! Another miracle!
Me: Oh my god, Kim, do you have any idea how lucky we are? Our luck, it is a changing……Kim….Kim?
See, now she’s back to the darting off thing. I have such weird friends.