In Salt Lake City, we found ourselves surrounded by believers, unsure what to do. Same thing happened in Portland. But instead of religious peeps, we were surrounded by hipsters, evangelical hipster fundamentalists. Beards, thick-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, single-speed bicycles … oh my! Like in SLC, we were unsure of what to do. We had two things we had to do: mail Lisa’s old computer to its happy new owner (thanks, eBay!) and find a place to sleep. We succeeded with the first one (thanks, hipster FedEx employee!) and failed on the second (sorry, non-hipster Motel 6).
But seriously — there are a lot of hipsters here. This illustrates it:
After stopping at a chocolate shop for a gift for our friends, I spied the oddest-dressed woman I’ve ever seen walking down the sidewalk. She was wearing high-waisted short shorts. They were cut-offs trimmed at crotch level and then rolled even higher. The waist ended just below her breasts — it was really high. Underneath: torn fishnet tights. Underneath that, who knows? Probably something ironic. On top she wore a tucked-in blouse with the arms torn off. She had the required thick-rimmed glasses and tousled hair. On her feet, she wore lace-up leather man-styled shoes. I’ve never really seen an outfit that took the female hipster to this extreme. Bow down, hipster females, this is your queen, I thought.
It took me a beat before I turned around and looked for traffic behind the car as we backed out of our parking spot. Then I saw another woman wearing the EXACT same outfit. They may have even had the same tattoos (everybody has tattoos here). Only the fabrics and colors were different. One had tan shorts, the other’s were black, that sort of thing. If you dressed ‘differently’ here, you fit in perfectly. Even the homeless people blend in — because so many non-homeless people dress exactly like homeless people.
That, and everybody drives a Subaru if they don’t ride their bike.
We retreated to the Hair of the Dog Brewing Co for a couple beers with the bearded, glasses’d masses.
Portland feels a bit like two independent groups decided in the ’90s that it would be wonderfully funny and ironic if they dropped everything and moved to Portland from Seattle and San Francisco, like there’s some underlying joke that I just don’t get but that everybody else is in on. People feel transient in a permanent sort of way. It’s odd. But the beer is good.