Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dispatch From A Blue State


Thank you for your interest in Portland, Oregon. Due to the increase in inquiries generated by the documentary series "Portlandia," which has introduced our quirks and foibles to the world at large, we regret that our response time has lengthened. Those of you requiring immediate attention should direct your questions to any of the citizens who have rolled to a stop in the middle of the street to wave you across.

Visitors are gently reminded that stereotypes lack nuance, and the careful observer of the native population will note that we are each adorable in slightly different ways. As an official at the Quirks and Foibles Registry puts it: "Portlanders believe strongly that our identical shared values represent a triumph of
consensus over compulsion. There is no requirement that we all think alike. A progressive mindset, however desirable, has in no way been codified into law."

That said, it is true that the local tax structure is not based on the standard three-legged stool that includes sales taxes, but rather a barstool design centered on a pillar of property taxes stout enough to send non-civic-minded people screaming over
the northern border. As a consequence, the population consists almost entirely of Democrats with a high earnestness quotient, and the tiny remainder is cowed and sullen. This does not mean there are no wealthy Portlanders, but it does make them harder to distinguish when outside their normal range. In general, the well-heeled are more likely to hand out cookies from a local artisanal bakery at the Occupy camps rather than bake them at home, and less likely to do a twirly dance for no reason in the middle of the street. But exceptions abound.

In order to clear up any misunderstandings, the Office of Civic Suggestions will be holding an informational rally at the waterfront Saturday. A performance by the city pep squad "The Fighting Mildew" will be featured, followed by tastings of bacon-donut beer. An informative guide to the city will be unveiled at that time.

To be continued.

27 comments:

  1. Love this as I do all your humorous take on things. Now you make me want to live in Portland where I can feel right at home.

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  2. Now I have to watch "Portlandia."

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  3. Like almost any TV show that is referenced in conversation, I find myself furrowing my brows and scratching my head. I will have to add Portlandia to my Netflix queue, which at this point is so long that it may be five years before I catch up with current pop culture.

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    1. I am most marvelously out of touch. Nowadays when I look at the magazines at the grocery checkout counter--the ones that just use first names of celebrities--I frequently don't know who ANY of them are. ANY.

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  4. I binge watched the second and third seasons of Portlandia (while living and working in Portland), and found them much better than the first season, which I found good only in spots, and it didn't hold my interest very well. And I hear from friends that the later seasons continue to get better, so if you haven't seen it before, you might want to start with season 2. Very much like Portland, only more-so I even recognized a guy from the local hardware store as an actor in one of the episodes, and will probably recognize more people I know in episodes I haven't yet seen.

    I can get the DVD's for free from the local library (where I get a lot of other TV series as well), play them while working, glancing at the TV occasionally while sculpting.

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    1. I've probably seen only five episodes myself, but I think it's a good show.

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  5. I have two former (30-40 years ago) girlfriends in the Portland area with whom I have never lost contact. They fill me in on the reality of living there. Looks nice, but I don't know if I could afford it. Maybe I'll have to watch the series and dream.

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    1. Here's what you do: you buy a house close-in thirty years ago.

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  6. Property taxes! Now I understand. I live on the very edge of a county with high property taxes, which is quite liberal, and just over the border, a mile or so away, I could pay a lot less. But my area is intensely liberal. (Dane County, Wisconsin- home of Madison.) When I first saw Portlandia, I thought it was about Madison. I mean, I knew it was supposed to be Portland, but it was SO MUCH LIKE HERE! And like me. Like they were making fun of me, personally- and I loved it. My favorite bit is about the artisanal lightbulbs.

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    1. I vaguely remember that bit--but we do have an amazing light bulb shop with every single bulb known to man. If you have some weird 1925 device that needs a bulb, they've got it. And they have seasonal store displays featuring their collections of odd stuffed shit. AND it's been in business for 26 years.

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    2. That would be awesome. My husband is obsessed with lightbulbs.

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  7. Actually Oregon is "two deep blue cities in a deep red state, with a topdressing of libertarians to confuse outsiders."

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    1. You are quoting someone or other. I can see that much.

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  8. Please tell us what the skeleton on a stepladder is for. Or about. Please? Because that right there is reason to move to your fair city.

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    1. Don't know exactly--but it's been atop a building near me for a while. Used to be a Rexall drug store and then it was Rexall Rose, a coffee shop with live music, and now it's, well I'm not sure what it is. But the skeleton lives. Or whatever it is skeletons do.

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  9. Terrific - Stewart, Oliver etc. worthy, but in words, with all the advantages thereof.

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    1. yes, but they have other tools. I meant just words.

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  10. I have to ask: is what you call property tax like Australia's (local Council) rates? Rates here cover local utilities.And the income tax goes to the Federal Govt.To cover national things. You know, like wars.

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    1. It's probably different everywhere. Here we have a state income tax and a federal income tax, no sales tax, and a really high property (real estate) tax. I think most of it goes to the county.

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    2. Thanks. Yep, the rates levied by our City Council would be called property tax in that the owner, not tenant, of a property pays.

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  11. I'm glad this will be continued, because I'm wondering what the point is.
    I like the skeleton on a ladder, but again, why is he there?

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    1. After all this time, you're looking for a POINT? Stay tuned to the official Guide to Portland, Oregon. You'll need it if you visit.

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  12. Kind of spooky as the setting for Grim.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. Truth: it really looks like that around here. First time I came, I could do nothing but stare at all the moss and ferns hanging off everything.

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