KEEPING PORTLAND WEIRD
In the wake of turning thirty, my friend Laura and I had been dying to do something adventurous. We wanted to remind ourselves that just because we didn’t have a ring on our finger or babies hanging from our boobs like the rest of our friends, life was still very much worth living. A few months ago, we’d decided that once a month, we’d pick a destination to which neither of us had been and hit the road to explore it in a weekend. We’d already conquered a one day turn around to Big Sur - nearly five hours away from Los Angeles - and were confident that after that, we could handle anything else. So, naturally, she pushed the envelope, proposing a destination further up the coast to either Oregon or Seattle. Having always wanted to explore a city whose slogan was to keep itself weird, I campaigned for Portland. Of course, we decided we’d do both - in two days.
We landed in Portland relatively late on a Friday, and knowing we had an early day ahead of us, opted for a quick bite of pizza before heading to our AirBnb for the night. We found ourselves enjoying a slice at a place in downtown Portland, where I met the smell of legal marijuana coming from the jacket of the guy beside me at the bar. Keeping in mind the city’s slogan, and the aroma permeating off the fellow to my right, I happily turned to interact with what I assumed could only be a local. Turns out I was right. To ensure nothing would be overlooked upon our trip’s completion, we told him our itinerary and asked for his input. It wasn’t long before his friend got involved, and two separate conversations gradually ensued.
“Marijuana Jacket’s” friend was from Seattle. He had driven down to Portland to help “Marijuana Jacket” with his upcoming move to Thailand. After a few minutes talking about the schedule of events we’d planned in Seattle, the conversation somehow shifted to apartment cleanliness. We discovered we were both very neat and orderly, with anal retentive personalities; thus, impossible to live with. We shared stories of our sympathy towards those who’ve had the displeasure of cohabitating with us and started recalling certain moments when we felt the displeasure of living with someone else.
It was then I brought up what I refer to as “the shower schedule.” My schedule is as follows - shower at night. My reasoning is twofold: 1) I don’t like feeling as though I’m sleeping in my own filth, and 2) it’s nice to let my hair air dry, so it doesn’t take as long to style the next morning and I can forgo putting it through additional heat damage.
I mentioned to “Seattle Dude” that my boyfriend had the opposite shower schedule, which sort of posed a problem. He went to the gym in the mornings and had his shower afterward when he came home. Not wanting to shower twice daily, at night, he simply goes to sleep. As a result, his half of the bed is noticeably dirtier than mine. We have white sheets - there’s evidence. But, I’ve learned to live with the differences between my boyfriend and me (and also to strictly stick to my side of the bed during my slumber) and have even managed to find the humor in them. While at first “Seattle Dude” seemed empathetic, he immediately turned on me after asking if I also showered in the morning.
“And unnecessarily dry out my skin? No way!” was my verbatim response and reaction.
He instantly looked offended.
“You don’t wash the night off of you?” he asked with a judgmental look of disapproval and disgust.
“I don’t know what YOU do in the night,” I said, jovially, “but I wake up as clean as I went down.”
I kid you not, the conversation ended right then and there. He might as well have turned his back to me were if not for his friend on the other side of me talking to Laura. Never being one to miss an opportunity, I swiveled on my bar stool and introduced him to my shoulder blades.
Our next morning began at 5. We drove down the coast nearly three hours to Florence, where we stopped for a hike at Drift Creek Falls just before rushing to catch high tide at Thor’s Well, Spouting Horn, and Devil’s Churn. We made our way back up the Coast stopping off at Devil’s Punchbowl and finally catching some dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant.
(Drift Creeks Falls)
Not wanting to stop for gas once it was dark, we pulled off at a station where we learned a few things about the gorgeous state of Oregon:
1. There are no self-serve gas pumps. This means someone always has to pump your gas for you.
2. There is no State Tax.
3. Marijuana is legal.
4. There is no State Tax on Marijuana.
So, obviously, when in Rome…
Sunday morning. We began with Brunch in downtown Portland, stopping for a coffee at Dutch Bros after. We had never been and learned sharing that information with the person taking your order will make your order free. Apparently, if it’s your first time visiting the Brothers, it’s on them. But please, don’t abuse the system. With coffees in hand, we began making our way up to the Coast to Seattle. We stopped off at Multnomah Falls for about an hour, taking pictures and marveling at the beautiful works of art that only Mother Nature can create. It’s hard to feel like human life is of any significance when you look at something so much bigger than yourself. I cannot express to you how incredibly beautiful the State of Oregon is - everywhere you look. There’s a natural awakening that takes place within you when you’re amongst it all, and I honestly believe it just makes you a better person. Thus, I officially declare Oregon will one day be my home - in addition to many others sprinkled across the globe. One day!
We changed our wet clothes and forged on to Seattle, listening to 90’s music via Spotify along the way. I’m not sure if it was the legal pot I smoked or just a general awareness I obtained after spending so much time in nature; but suddenly, I understood Alanis Morissette’s song “Thank you.” I determined the song was about a general gratitude one’s able to possess after finally discovering the purpose of life and seeing how all their disappointments, obstacles, or failures led them to it. I couldn’t help but apply it to my life in particular ways I felt were applicable, and immediately, I found myself radiating gratitude.
We arrived in Seattle just long enough to add our gum to a freshly cleaned gum wall and explore Pike Place. Two and a half hours later, we turned our rental car around, returned it, and settled into our seats on Delta.
Two days. Two cities. 800 miles of driving. I can only imagine what’s next. But I assure you, with adventures like this, it won’t be husbands or babies.