I’m sure you all got out and voted. I hope your polling place was this fierce:

I voted several weeks ago by mail. No lines! Not that the lines were that bad where I voted in DC, but voting by mail was very convenient. I happened to apply for a drivers’ license right when I got here, which allowed me to register to vote in Portland. Here is my new scary Amish bomber drivers’ license:

There are many other things that are different in this city and I wanted to write about it:

The first thing that struck me about Portland was a somewhat higher awareness of bicyclists. Portland is a biking city, and while DC was well on its way to accomodating bikers, they put in bike lanes and a nice bike share system without any kind of awareness campaign to educate bikers and motorists on how to get along with each other. So biking in DC was like a Mad Max film where motorists would run you over and bikers didn’t know how or where to ride. Portland has very explicit biking guidance and the Oregon drivers’ license test has questions for motorists to answer on the test about what to do around bikers. Portland drivers are somewhat more respectful of bicyclists and I was shocked when drivers actually slowed down when I crossed major intersections. There is also far less handheld device using by drivers and cyclists while driving or riding, which helps a lot. DC needs to enforce that behavior.

One thing about DC with all it’s political jobs and people representing varying views and political affiliations was that you could discuss things or sit down at the dinner table and people were fairly civil about their views and positions. Or they didn’t discuss their personal convictions at the dinner table and/or most people were diplomatic enough to keep it civil. Not so much in Portland, where people have their opinion and will subject you to it, particularly at the dinner table. Keep it to yourself, I’m trying to eat.

Conversely, the guys will not communicate well when they are not interested in you or aren’t able to arrange a date. At least the guys in DC were savvy enough to respond to you with some kind of excuse – often that they were “too busy.” In Portland you simply get no response, which I’ve learned means “not interested.” This doesn’t imply that I have not gotten dates. It’s just that the non-responders were confusing at first.

Everyone in Portland seems to have a food allergy, and they will let you know and it is the subject of great discussion and consternation when trying to select a dish or place to eat. It makes me want to eat mounds of gluten-rich food and raw meat.

Going out to bars seems very different than it was in DC. In DC I was accustomed to early happy hours where I could hang out and be home by 9. Things start later in Portland, and it’s hard to know where the place to hang out is on any given weekend. Either that or I’m just not plugged into the scene very well here. Plus the bars are all spread out rather than in a nice convenient concentrated ghetto. I think people also tend to stage at homes before going out, if at all.

And of course it is far easier to get out on the hiking trails around here. Some very out of the way places are less than an hour away. And some spectacular and remote places within two hours’ drive. I’ve been hiking every week now and have put a lot of mileage on my boots and it’s been lovely:

This was a view of the Columbia Gorge from Hamilton Mountain trail in Washington.

5 Comments

  1. kalalaumango says:

    as it could be more – love that picture. it’s amusing i went to the wilderness to see if bears are really bears but one realizes that greasy doughnut shops are more the liking. your piece is amusing as one who has been in wilderness for the past decade removed from the limitations of this grunting form of dialogue — since i would NEVER date an AMERICAN at this point, it seems that this form of interaction doesn’t equate but perhaps shows all the more why i’m uninterested apart from enjoying the character of many however knowing that this is NO longer my culture. when american libraries with all of their stores of knowledge reduce themselves to trolling or skimming — thank God — what a lovely hiking/camping trip for 5 days. hunters were funny. thus, your post is amusing even though i feel for you since there is far too much bullshit in this era — your two id photos — hilarious composition. nonetheless, never went out in portland. enjoyed too much exploring beyond “gay” quarters — all the more relevant since there was some creep (or plural) sneaking around in my apartment for awhile. some lovely people, but this is a very sick culture. and it needs to look in the mirror when it comes to bickering about its leadership — wondering about its own greed — just like a cheesy piece of shit production as a by-product from horrible media ventures as the negative hollywood cliche. true cunts. thanks.

  2. cb says:

    But isn’t part of the fun learning the social mores and folkways of a new culture?

    Remember, you are on the LEFT coast now…

  3. jimbo says:

    Wasn’t complaining, just recording my observations. I am adapting to these differences.

  4. brettcajun says:

    We like it when you bitch… err… complain. Don’t be getting all politically correct on us now that you live in Portland. Keep sharing your personal thoughts on the differences. It’s interesting.

  5. Stine says:

    It looks beautiful in Oregon. I’m considering travelling to the US next year, and unlike my fellow Scandinavians I’m not aiming for New York. Would love to go to Oregon or Washington (state), mostly to experience the nature (and large but not so tourist-y cities).

    Good luck in your new place!