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Fluffing In Portland

January 1, 2016 — 87 Comments

portland

 

It should come as no surprise to anyone that freaky-deaky Portland is the first place that I felt like I fit in since I left New York.

While in Portland,  I was chatting with Beth, and I mentioned that I wasn’t able to get together with Ned, who lives in Oregon, because of the flooding.
She replied, “I didn’t realize it was still fluffing!”

 fluffing

 

Girl, it’s ALWAYS fluffing in Portland.
 

I traditionally spend Christmas with my college bestie and her family. Her oldest daughter lives in Portland, and this year, ten of us traveled there for the holidays.

We stayed at an Airbnb. For the uninitiated, an Airbnb is when you pay to stay in someone’s house, and pray they’re not a meth head with a vermin problem.

There was one other person there, a thirty-something dude who blazed up and coded with Java script all day. Every morning, while we ate breakfast, we watched Java Man do his 10 am bong hits on the terrace.

Little Dude got to see some of Portland’s coolest stuff, like the OMSI, (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), where we toured an actual submarine. That went splendidly, especially the part where I clawed the tour guide for air and screamed “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE DOWN HERE!!!”

Afterwards, I had to soothe myself with a trip to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, and purchase a Cock-N-Balls doughnut.

Little Dude also had quite the unofficial sightseeing experience. He spent an entire week with my wacky wonderful friends, who were inebriated most of the time. The very first night, F-bombs and dick jokes were flying. Christmas night, ten of us played Cards Against Humanity, where my 12-year-old was treated to such phrases as “coughed into a vagina.”

I’m blaming it all on Portland.

 

COFFEE

Ahhh, the Elixir of the Gods. Portlanders take their coffee seriously. They go nuts for obscure beans, like Formosan Rock Monkey coffee. They brew it in state of the art machinery that looks like it belongs in a steampunk sex dungeon.

Nobody goes to Starbucks for evil corporate caffeine. Portland residents frequent independent coffee shops staffed by skinny white dudes with full sleeve tattoos and plaid western shirts who listen to Neutral Milk Hotel.

 

WELCOME TO PORTLAND; NOW GO HOME

Portlanders are not thrilled by the influx of misfits from all over the country. Portland is like the nerdy girl in those hackneyed teen movies who never gets asked out, because she wears glasses and has her hair in a bun. Then, she lets down her bun (only not if she’s a guy, manbuns are cool) and takes off her glasses (except glasses are sexy in Portland…)

Okay, that was a bad example.

Portland is the skinny girl who sprouted breasts over summer vacation and becomes suddenly popular. Naturally, they’re a little suspicious. Twenty years ago, no one gave a half a fuck about Portland and now the entire country has a boner for Oregon.

Portlanders are generally super friendly, but I did wander into a few places where I felt distinctly unwelcome. One coffeehouse, housed in a raw industrial warehouse, had a discernibly restrictive vibe.

You know that vibe? Where you feel as if you’ve  wandered into a rural cult compound and everyone celebrates the arrival of an outsider by tying you to a banquet table, putting on their ceremonial animal masks, and drinking your blood from a chalice? THAT.

 

PORTLAND IS WEIRD AND ARTSY

You’re surrounded by Hipster Apple fanboys with 2% body fat, who didn’t get the memo that mutton chops are only sexy on Confederate generals. Did you know that plaid is scary? Yes, I know you think of it as innocuous little pattern of perpendicular strips and bands, but when worn in a cluster? It’s positively frightening.

No one has clear-cut occupations in Portland. Some do something vague and techy that leaves them a whole lot of time to hang out in jock straps while hot boxing weed. Others set up their laptops at the coffee shop down the street, where they divide their time between applying for odd jobs on Craigslist and writing (free) articles for Thought Catalog.

Everyone is an artist/intellectual. They write poetry or unicycle with flamethrower bagpipes or play the didgeridoo. There’s even an artsy intellectual sex toy store – She Bop. They offer sex education classes. If you’re in Portland, you can go there to learn about anal sex, cunnilingus, or how to give a more fabulous blow job.
 
You’re welcome.

 

PORTLAND IS CRAFTY

The heart of Portland beats to an Artisanal beat. There are more yarn stores here per capita than any other city in the US, in case you want to take up knitting – a slow, frustrating, repetitive hobby that will enrage you.

There’s a reason Portland is so crafty. Aside from Hipsters, the city is teeming with regular ol’ hippies. They wake at the crack of noon, and have a full day of smoking pot, protesting progress and reason, playing hackey sack and seeing how long they can go without bathing before they become infested with ticks.

However, hippies without trust funds must do some sort of work in order to buy weed and overpriced organic hippie food. Hence, the craft markets. The hippies sell their hippie crap to tourists like me, because apparently I can’t visit the city and leave without a Dorodango mud ball and jewelry made of plastic baby heads.

 

WALKING AND BIKING AND STROLLERS, OH MY!

Everyone walks everywhere, even though it ALWAYS RAINS.

No one in my suburban neighborhood walks. The only exercise I get is reverse cowgirl  reaching for things in the back seat of my car.

In New York City people walk, but there’s no rhyme or reason to the flow of sidewalk traffic. Groups of people walk five-abreast. They treat walking down the street like a struggle for pack dominance

Portland pedestrians are very civil. It’s the hipster dads pushing doublewide monster strollers you have to watch out for. There has to be a way to stack kids vertically. How about putting your favorite kid on top?

There are more people on bikes than on cars. I personally am not a cyclist. But I understand it’s part of their fanatic need to help the environment. Portlandians also ride out of a sense of community. Nekkid community. Portland hosts the annual “World Naked Bike Ride.” OW. Bicycle seats hurt my delicate smush mitten – and that’s clothed.

HOW do people get on those double-decker bikes, which are essentially two bikes welded together, one on top of the other? They usually ride with steampunk glasses and top hats, in case they don’t stand out enough.
 
 

Yep, Portland feels like home.

I plan to return this summer.
I’m a little concerned about the lack of central air conditioning in 90 degree weather. Who the DICKWOLF designed apartments without air conditioning?!! Apparently, in summer a Portland home become an oven in Satan’s tool shed.

On a positive note, I’ll be able to fill a growler with my own sweat and sell it at a crafts fair.

 

Have you ever lived in or visited Portland? What is up with all the weirdos? Do you live in a different weird city? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 
 

Join me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

Yoga Class, Deconstructed

February 5, 2015 — 115 Comments

Yoga_at_a_Gym 9

 

It had been six weeks since I’d been able to breathe, six weeks since the blow to my chest had left my heart charleyhorsed with leftover ache and my lungs restricted. I was living the emotional equivalent of that hackneyed action movie scene, the one where the heroine has been underwater far too long. Just when you think she’s going to die she slashes through the surface and grabs air in big lusty gulps.

I was drowning in several different versions of the truth, all of them weighing me down like kettlebells tied to my ankles.

I had neglected my yoga practice for months. My once limber body had gone stiff, the way Skittle colored Play Doh starts out with the best intentions and gradually dries up, never living up to its full potential.

It dessicates, morphing into the humorless version of itself. Hard, but incredibly easy to crack.

I wished I was doing anything else except a practice whose apparel has become literally the butt of endless online stories. I resent seeing people everywhere refer to “leggings” as “yoga pants.” Those aren’t “driving gloves” unless you regularly wrap them around a steering wheel.

Yoga was not meant to be fashion and if you’ve never worn those pants while doing an inversion, just refer to them as leggings and I can end this paragraph a little less exasperated.

So I went to a Saturday afternoon yoga class; not just any yoga, but hot yoga, which, for the uninitiated, means doing advanced poses in a sauna. A room heated to 104 degrees, with humidity at 40%. I dread it. But I’m convinced it’s the only way to flush out the toxins that have been doing the Foxtrot through my bloodstream since those poison darts leapt off the computer screen and took aim at my heart.

And I’m clinging fiercely to the idea that I’ll have a yoga-induced spiritual epiphany that explains why I choose relationships which reinforce just how little I think I deserve.

Or at least lose a few pounds.

After the teacher chants and instructs us to leave all our earthly possessions at the door, we begin in downward dog, or in my case, sweaty dog panting from heat.

The teacher leads us in a series of sun salutations that get progressively faster and more complicated and I get in touch with why the phrase “hot as hell” was coined. I played yogi slip n slide in my own perspiration and I mull over the possibility that the organs of my body can actually become steamed.

I look at myself in the mirror, a vain counter-yogic move, and in triangle pose notice the cute guy behind me staring at my ass. I’ve noticed him noticing me before; I’ve heard people chat with him and his name is either Don or Jon; it’s hard to be certain in a room constantly waterlogged in sweaty acoustics.

Today, though, I obsess over the sweat droplets that have come together for an impromptu party in my ass crack and wonder if he can see them through the stretched-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life Lycra that covers my butt. And after I shower and dress and check my phone, he’s still lingering around the front of the yoga center. Which can only mean that he’s waiting for ME.

And he is. Don/Jon approaches me and suggests coffee at the Dunkin Donuts next door and I go. I go because it’s a lazy Saturday afternoon in January, and because my kid is with his father; and because I’m high from having pushed my body to its limits and from fresh blood flow;  I go because I like Don/Jon’s puppy doggish exuberance and his obvious pursuit of me – but mostly, I go because I love coffee.

I really love coffee.

My caffeine addiction is the only one I have that hasn’t pushed my dreams off a cliff. I’ve never risked my life for coffee. Not that I wouldn’t; it’s just that one doesn’t have to cruise questionable neighborhoods to procure coffee.

Up close and away from the curtain of steam that blurs everything in the room, Don/Jon is really cute. Lithe, sinewy yoga body aside, he has great hair, a sexy smile and  a killer sense of humor.

I’m not typically attracted to men who do yoga. Every downward douche I’ve ever seen in a yoga class has ended up hooking up with one of the women in the class. It’s why they GO. But I like the idea that I accepted his invitation; that I’m not so jaded that I can’t still occasionally surprise myself.

Coffee talk stretches into late afternoon and I’m surprised to see that its getting dark out. And surprised even more when Don/Jon asks if I’d like to try a Mexican restaurant near his house that he says makes the freshest Pico de gallo this side of Guadalajara. And killer Margaritas, although I don’t really drink.

But I did that evening.

Tequila augments my natural flirtiness and my insecurities are alcohol soluble. I feel attractive because I can feel that he feels attracted to ME. Which is less like an Escher painting than it sounds.

I get tipsy, which shuts off some of the noise in my brain but turns on other noise. We bond over our love for movies, and music, and Breaking Bad, which he talks me into watching at his house.

We end up back at his townhouse, where he makes us more Margaritas and now I am drunk. He has an enormous cozy plush grey couch which looks like a big blimpy manatee, and I sink into the Netflix imprint his butt left in the corner cushion.

Predictably, he starts to kiss me and I haven’t decided how attracted I am to him. But I’m drunk and cozy and sunk into his manatee couch, and at the moment I’d rather kiss him back then push my tequilla-drenched ass into the frosty night.

I hate the cold.

We have 20 minutes of nondescript sex and afterwards he winds around me like a broken slinky.  And I’m thinking I’d like to leave before the sweat dries. Which makes me sound like a sport-fucking man-eater, but it’s really just a way I avoid feeling anything for anyone, and has a high success rate.

I often fantasize about creating an actuarial model using statistics to determine the probability of various romantic risks based on the engagement or avoidance of certain behaviors, and the emotional consequences of those risks. Assign value to certain behaviors and develop mathematical models to evaluate the future romantic implications of, say, performing various sex acts. Or cuddling after. Leaving, or staying the night.

I stay. I don’t want to come off like bitch. I’m anything but a bitch.

I just play one on the Internet.

He falls asleep and I lay there with his arm draped across me, heavy as a fallen tree limb and I stare at the ceiling and write this blog post in my head.

Until about 6:00 am, when dawn’s first light streaks across the sky and I noiselessly hurry to leave, like a vampire in reverse. I get dressed and gather my things and tip toe out, leaving him asleep.

I feel like a ninja escaping into the bruise-colored dawn. I make a clean getaway

I think about him one more time as I pull into my driveway; just once more so I can leave him outside and that’s when it occurs to me, I never found out if his name is Don or Jon. Which bothers me less than the fact that I’m going to have to find a new yoga studio.

 

I don’t have any specific questions. I’m just glad you’re here.
Talk to me.   I’m listening.