Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Monday, May 09, 2011

Punked in Portland Part I



Punked in Portland Part I

My wife and I moved to Portland, OR three years ago. Our reasoning for this move seems, upon closer inspection, awkwardly nebulous, so when asked why we moved here we like to say that we had always lived in Southern California and were looking for a change, insofar as we were tired of being warm and happy. Eyeing the Four Cardinal Points we could have moved to A. Catalina B. Drug Cartel Estates in Baja C. A combination retirement/firing range compound in Phoenix or D. The Great Pacific Northwest. We chose D. We wanted to rent a house up here but we had too many pets (shh…five dogs and seven cats at the time—now, would you rent to us?) and so used a home-equity line of credit from WaMu to put a down payment on a house in SW PDX, all the while renting out our cherished Los Angeles home. Hey, if Portland didn’t work out we could always move back…except the market dipped horribly, we could not possibly hope to make our money back on the Portland home, not to mention that WaMu went bust and we had to sell our home down south due to rising debt. Our first Punking in Portland was not really a Portland Punking. It was a pan-global, multi-national, humanity eviscerating casino gambit, and boy was that fun.



Our initial April in Stump Town was actually “My First April” in Stump Town: while my wife was working in production in L.A. I took care of getting our new home in order, taking the dogs out for walks, tripping over cats and looking for work (as a response to having grown attached to food and shelter). Portland was cold to this California native, with lows in April of 2008 in the mid-thirties (I remember wishing I was still in my mid-thirties), and what I really needed at the new house was something to hold the logs in the two fireplaces, so I went to a local chain hardware store and asked a kindly employee if there were any fire grates in stock. I was told by this employee that fire grates were a “seasonal item.” Pause. I answered “It was 35 degrees when I got up this morning—what does seasonal mean, exactly?” The young man smiled, and shortly thereafter I could tell by the way I no longer saw him that he had left. I was alone in a hardware store that felt 35 degrees was a state of mind, a Seasonal Condition. That was my Official Punked in Portland #1.



The punkings piled on after that: looking out our living room window we saw cars routinely running the stop sign outside our home. Now, the joke about my home state was that a California Stop meant merely slowing down before rolling through a given intersection. I found that up here there was a corollary Oregon Stop Rule: when rolling through a stop sign in the Beaver State one should do so while complaining about Californians—it feels good and looks exciting. I’d say that cars running stop signs was one of my pet peeves, except I already had too many pets, and was pre-emptively punked by myself on that one.



Other punkings ensued: one article we read said that there weren’t many thunder storms in the Portland Metro Area—our first July here we enjoyed a booming attack from the cloud gods, so profound that Rudy, our German Sherherd Cattle Major Burns-mix had an anxiety attack and tried to hide in my shoes. Some months later, in Autumn, we were told, nay, assured that it sometimes snowed here in the hills but that the snow didn’t “stick”—in December of 2008 we had two weeks of snow “sticking.” I looked deep into the eyes of those who had misled us, searching for the giggles behind the masks—many Portlanders feigned innocence but I knew better. Note: the best part of that two-week stretch of snow was watching cars run the stop sign hoping to get up the hill, only to start sliding backwards down the hill, like drunken otters. Good times.

Part II of Punked in Portland to follow…eventually.

Special Additional Punked in Portland Super Duper Extra:
Punked in Cannon Beach!



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2 Comments:

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well now, I don't know exactly what to say, other than I am already anxiously awaiting Part II.
And the three years it took you to get to this was well worth the wait! Meanwhile, I'll be hiding in the library, furtively waiting for more.

Peace,
Jackson

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger barryshap said...

"...we like to say that we had always lived in Southern California and were looking for a change, insofar as we were tired of being warm and happy."

Well, this speaks volumes. Did you keep the moving boxes?

 

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