It's a given that since I live in Oregon and we're contractually obligated to do so, I listen to NPR. In one of my several legally mandated hours of listening, I heard about this new television show called "Portlandia." Funny, since I actually came up with the term myself, but do I see my name on the credits? I do not. Anyway, I decided to ask me about my experience of "Portlandia" because I live in Portland, I have Portland opinions, and people are also obligated, being from elsewhere, to know that I know best.
QM1: You're from Portland.
QM2: Yes. Well, no. But I might as well be. Aren't we all from elsewhere, really?
QM1: No. Your son is a native.
QM2: Because of my good sense, yes. He is.
QM1: How do feel about Portland cliches?
QM2: What cliches? Who could possibly develop cliches about Portland?
QM1: Portlanders are a bunch of emo coffee-drinking, beer-crazed bicycle messengers.
QM2: Well...I don't ride a bike.
QM1: You don't?
QM2: I have a bike, I like to think I'll be a bike messenger someday, and I'm absolutely pro-bike. Except that I'm too lazy. I drink beer instead.
QM1: How about the vegan, family-farm, natural slow-food locavore movement?
QM2: I hate slow food. Nothing is more annoying than ordering my virgin-blessed tempeh souffle and having it come half an hour later.
QM1: "Slow-food movement"--The idea that good, healthy food takes time. Unlike "fast food."
QM2: Oh. I like "Burgerville."
QM1: That's not slow food. Not even vegetarian!
QM2: Their burgers taste like there's not a lot of meat in them. Does that count?
QM1: What about other things? How about the DIY craftiness of Portland? It seems everyone is making something from scratch and selling it in Greg's on Hawthorne.
QM2: I had chickens. Does that count?
QM1: I don't know. Did you make them and sell them in Greg's?
QM2: I made a chicken coop. It was very DIY. It's well-constructed enough that I'm going to make it into my mother's future residence.
QM1: That's...not legal?
QM2: It's plush! No-one could argue that it's cruel. It's got two levels and a foundation. I've lived in worse.
QM1: What about the chickens?
QM2: The chickens are gone. I realized after the girls ate every single shrub and bulb and twig in my yard, that their eggs were pretty expensive.
QM1: My god, you...you didn't...
QM2: Eat them? Yeah, I thought about it. You can't eat someone named "Gigi" though. Or "L'il Bit." Or "Houdini the Chicken of Mystery."
QM1: So what did you do?
QM2: Gave them to some other fool Portlander who had the chicken dream. What else?
QM1: How are they?
QM2: I have visitation every other weekend and they're doing fine. Now they're destroying someone else's yard.
QM1: I'm curious. Why do you think people in Portland want chickens? Or to make their own beer? Or to have everything they eat grown by castrati trained-farmers who double as midwives?
QM2: Well, other than us always being right, I think it's because we think it's the right thing to do. Even if we can't change the world, we actually believe we can. Hapless idealism. Hopeless optimism. We actively believe we can do something right once in a while. Even if it's wrong.
QM1: Like getting chickens.
QM2: Like getting chickens! I mean, yeah, okay. It was expensive. It was really stupid. I spent more money on those chickens than on all the eggs I've ever eaten and will ever eat in my life, but you know why? Because I thought I was doing something noble and smart which was going to give me awesome eggs. Pretty stupid, but pretty hopelessly romantic and sweet too. I think the seed of Portland nuttiness lives in my chicken coop. Not literally of course. My mom will live there someday.
QM1: So you think Portlanders think they're right because they think they're doing the right thing.
QM2: Yeah. I think so. Well, I know so. Because I'm from Portland.
QM1: You're from Boulder, Colorado.
QM2: Same thing.