Portland, OR ::
So this is unexpected.
Since moving to Portland in 2005 I have scrupulously avoided adopting certain styles and customs that might imply a desire to follow local conventions. The three characteristics that might identify me as a Portlander I have had since Fresno, which is the anti-Portland: beard, iBook, chunky glasses. While I do occasionally drink Pabst, in the last four years I have just said no to faux hawks, messenger bags, skinny jeans (this was best for everybody), The Smiths t-shirts, chains, sleeve tattoos, fedoras, Chuck Taylors, and mud wrestling. I have nothing against these things on principle – some of my best friends have flesh tunnels, ride fixies, go to pirate-themed parties, and are more likely to listen to Arcade Fire than, say, Willie Nelson. It’s just that I have this one particular neurosis: I can’t be perceived (and it is all about the perception) to be conforming. Accept me or don’t accept me, I’ll still wear my flip-flops and cargo shorts and brown t-shirt from the sushi bar in Chico. I’ll listen to Willie Nelson and ride my 21-gear bike.
It’s gross. I know.
But something interesting is happening. Now that Kate and I are leaving the city for a time, I have a strong desire to be recognized as a Portlander when we travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, and Dallas, Texas, and rural Mississippi, and Portland, Maine and everywhere in between. I want to go out and get t-shirts from all my favorite coffee shops, and plaster bumper stickers that say “People’s Republic of Portland” and “Powell’s Books” and “Support Native Oregon Beer (SNOB)” on my laptop. Tomorrow I am going to pick out new glasses and I am seriously (seriously) considering getting some of those oversized black glasses like Elvis Costello wore on the cover of This Year’s Model – Costello and the guy who used to work at the Belmont Stumptown.
Kate and I have spent a lot of the last 20 months planning ways to get out of the city. Now that we’re leaving, I want to bring it with me. Is that called home?