The Dogs

Guest Postiness

Guest post by: Andy @ “Crazy with a side of awesome sauce.”

This past summer, I migrated from my place of origin, from the place of endless tans and ridiculous heat and fire season, from Southern California to quirky Portland, Oregon.

No, that's not fog, or mist, or morning haze, or cloud cover.
The story of why is long and tedious, but to make a long story somewhat shorter, I had hit my fill of the heat and smog. Like some people who live in snowy places hit their limit of snow and cold and whatever else people like that deal with in places like that and move their pale asses to Florida? I was done with 115 degree summers and not being able to run in my neighborhood because of the jungle of smog my lungs had to machete their way through just to get a little exercise. Done. Finished. Outta there.

And so I quit my cushy job, packed up my life, and moved.

Southern California isn’t all bad, though. There are two things I miss (besides my friends and family): greasy taco stand burritos smothered in sour cream...and In n Out. I would kill a small child for a Double Double animal style right now.

Excuse me, I need a moment to imagine that for a bit.

For those sad people who haven't had the honor of beholding In n' Out. An "Animal Style" burger or fries means it's smothered in caramalized onions, extra sauce pickles and cheese. You're life is not complete until you have tried this joint.

Okay I’m back.

The weather thing is a huge difference. If it rains in So Cal, you get Storm Watch 2009 and the whole state goes into DEFCON 5. Libertarians hunker down in their fallout shelters. Freeways come to a complete standstill (that’s down from the slow crawl that occurs between 6am to 8pm every day of the week). And dorky girls like myself go dance in the rain because it’s such a delicious respite from the fire of a thousand suns that is summer down there.

Granted, I did grow up in a desert so flash floods were a very real thing. It didn’t rain often, but when it did, you’d better have fisherman’s waders and sandbags. Or, like me, have a fireman daddy. We got special treatment in situations like that. But for most of the state? Calm the crap down, people. Rain will not kill you. Will not melt away your plastic noses or highlights. It might melt off that spray tan though; we can only hope.

But not to let Portland off the hook. The week before I moved here, there was a heat advisory. It was only 90 degrees. Dude, where I come from, 90 degrees in July is a relief. That’s like 20 less that usual. That’s a freaking cold snap. But once I moved here I realized why it’s a big deal. No one has air conditioning! What? Seriously? I quickly learned that on the hot days, you go to the river. That’s ac for ya.

Now, I lived in a very big city in So Cal (Los Angeles) and very small towns there too. People vary everywhere you go even in sunny Californai-ay, and I am glad to be back in a very diverse place as far as cultures and languages go. What I love about the Portland is how it feels like a big city but the people are friendly.
But the one thing I’ve learned thus far? People drive like shit no matter where you go.

I knew a guy from Portland back in CA who made fun of my aggressive driving. And I’ll grant that drivers from Los Angeles are a different breed. It only seems aggressive if you don’t know the rules. When I first moved to LA, I thought I’d die on the road. There is so much traffic that you just have to know the rules and jump right in. If everyone does what they need to and keeps moving and doesn’t hesitate, then traffic can keep flowing. If you stall, good effing luck. You will get mowed over. And called very bad things in all sorts of languages.

Driving can literally drive a person insane on the streets of Los Angeles (please say that with a Spanish accent). We invented road rage. It’s not people who get in a car angry. No. Driving simply causes you to lose your ever-loving mind until some jackwad cuts you off or doesn’t turn left even though he had an opening and OH HELL NO and then you want to find a clock tower because someone is going to die today! Road rage. Oh yeah. It’s real.

I haven’t seen the road rage up here much. Except from myself that is. Traffic isn’t that bad. Rush hour is actually an hour (not all day).

Thus far? What makes me crazy are just wacko drivers. People doing all sorts of weird shit. Not using turn signals. Driving like they’re permanently cracked out (Actually, everyone’s probably just stoned. It is Portland.), weaving and/or driving down the middle of two lanes. Parking on the wrong side of the street so I turn and think I’m going down the wrong way on a one-way street. That last one has caused me several heart attacks in the last several months.

Exhibit A: shot in P-town
I’ve yet to figure out the bus system but I’m more than ready to because driving is a pain in my big ass.

Moral? Drivers suck everywhere. Public transportation rocks.

I complain. But I love The Portland so far. I’ve loved the quirky people and the neighborhoods and the coffee shops. I love the hiking between mossy trees and discovering misty waterfalls. I love the fall colors and the way the rain mashes the piles of leaves into a carpet on the streets (That’s probably unsafe, but who cares! It’s purty!). I loved Halloween here where you weren’t sure if someone was in costume or not because plenty of people dress like that on a daily basis.

I’m glad Portland welcomed me so sweetly. Because I was so ready for Portland.


  1. We have flirted with the idea of moving to Portland for years. But Dr. Mom's family is slowly moving to SoCal, so it's getting harder to leave.

    People do drive like assholes everywhere, but no place so much as L.A., I'm afraid.

    Thanks for the graphic. That reminded me to stop by In-n-out on the way to the playground!

  2. Yeh yeh rub it in, dick! P-town is still the bombest place ever. And fyi, twin babies are like magnets, you could move to Alaska and the fam would trickle in like faithful lemmings.

  3. you bastard, Beta Dad! I want that double double!

  4. Favorite things about this post: "Calm the crap down, people. Rain will not kill you." -
    "No one has air conditioning! What? Seriously? I quickly learned that on the hot days, you go to the river. That’s ac for ya." -
    "Parking on the wrong side of the street so I turn and think I’m going down the wrong way on a one-way street."

    My husband and I are transplants to Seattle from Denver via a 3 year stint in Bullfrog, Utah (google it, then cry for us that we lived there for that long) Funny stuff.....great reading!

  5. Andy,

    Being a recent Cali transplant myself to the Northwest I can soooooo relate to this post.

    I too miss the assault on my sense of smell and flavor explosion that is a Double Double Animal Style (if you don't know what that is don't ask! You just have to try one.). I also miss SOME of my family and friends, and the city atmosphere.

    Unlike you, I didn't move in to the diverse playground that is Portland. Instead I moved to old people suberbia, and for a 30-something single guy who is unwilling to act his age, it's like a death sentence! lol

    What I don't miss is the traffic, the stress, and of course the F$&@ing heat! I love that a heat wave is only 90 degrees. I love being able to breathe. I love the rain, and the way it cleans the air. I love looking outside and seeing the mist through the hills and mountains, and down on the Columbia. It reminds me of the movies. I love being able to explore so much new stuff, instead of doing the same old crap all the time.

    Thanks for the reminder and taking me back in spirit to what I am not missing!

  6. an excellent portrayal of life in los angeles. rush hour truly is an all day affair.


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