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.|
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|
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.