Home of the Weird

Ah, Portland; a place full of devilish details:

Beards. Man-buns. Lumber-sexuals. IPA beer, craft beer, sour beer, gluten-free beer. Voodoo Doughnuts. Swinger clubs. Food cart villages.

There’s the Scottish Darth Vader guy who rides the uni-cycle in a kilt whilst playing flaming bagpipes. There’s an all-vegan strip club (“Eat pussy, it’s vegan!”) and another that serves grass-fed beef raised and slaughtered by the owner himself (RIP, owner of The Acropolis).

Clothing-optional wellness spas. Nude beaches. Topless rights in the city. Naked bike rides. Sex dungeons. Vintage, vintage, vintage!

It’s a city in the woods. Beautiful and peppered with parks, one could almost forget they’re in a large city until they encounter the usual metropolitan issues: trash, homeless camps, rats, the horrid smell of piss and vomit, strung-out ramblers ready to fight their hallucinations and probably you, too, and a recent uptick of protests and anti-fascists looking remarkably fascist..

Air shows. Comic Cons. Festivals. Pirate Invasions. Carnivals. Floating discos. Silent discos. Art walks. Farmer’s Markets. Cannabis stores.

It’s a place where you have to buy your liquor at a liquor store (forget getting that big ol’ bottle of JD at the supermarket for only $10 bucks!), you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas, and you can open-carry a loaded gun if it makes you feel safer (but Heaven forbid you touch your cellphone while driving).

Dog-friendly restaurants. Dog parks. Dog-friendly apartments. Doggie Hotels. Dog boutiques. Dog meet-ups. Dog fanatics. “You have a dog? Me, too! Let’s be best friends!” Dogs, dogs, dogs!

It’s a land of a thousand cuisines. A land of a thousand cocktails. A land of a thousand whiskeys. A land of a billion coffee shops.

And in those coffee shops are your bloggers (not it, I’m at home!), your artists, your screen-writers, your researchers, your work-a-holics, your studious students, and that dude in the back trying not to be obvious that he’s watching porn on a public network. In public.

By the way, they’re all dressed like it’s fall even though it’s summer and sporting aviators like they’re vintage or something.

Skinny jeans. Yoga pants. Sweater dresses. Flannel. Suspenders. Beanies. Long socks. Loafers. Converse.

I love this city. It’s quirky. It’s predictable when it wants to be but still catches you by surprise. It’s like Denver, CO, and Austin, TX, yet not like either at the same time. It’s like San Francisco yuppies and Humboldt County hippies got together and had a “hipster” baby and you can’t help but marvel at how it seems to succeed despite itself at times. You just have to remember that it marches to the beat of its own drum.

It’s all in all a fun place to be with endless options for entertainment and adventure. I moved here in 2013 and, although I find it tough to deal with our almost constant cloudy and/or rainy weather, I really can’t imagine living anywhere else (except, say, Hawaii or elsewhere tropical). It’s a place where you get to be yourself–truly, authentically you, and you kind of just blend in with the local ambience. You may not go unnoticed, but most likely you’ll go unbothered, and that’s a haven for “weird” people like me.

I believe that’s what is meant by the bumper sticker “Keep Portland Weird”. What big city isn’t weird? What’s truly, uniquely weird about Portland is that by and large it accepts you for who you are.

Unless you’re a person of color.