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Monday, January 7, 2008

The Battle of Portland!

posted by on January 7 at 14:23 PM

This is a long sucker. There are no pictures. But it’s important. Hang in there. I’m counting on you.

Portland. It is indeed many things, but what it is the very most is completely schizo. Double-personalitied, so to speak. One might even go so far as to really annoy David Schmader by calling it rather “Gemini”. It is its own evil twin. And it can turn on a dime.

Really. It’s the most peculiar phenomenon.

One moment you would swear before God in a court of law that Portland was just about the darlin’est little place you ever did see: everyone is beautiful and smiles at you, the sweet smell of coffee, books and young Democrats wafts upon the breeze, the roses yawn wide to serenade you as you frolic with the roaming deer and so forth. The next moment—SNAP! Everyone is looking at you like you have crap in your hair, even the squirrels are vaguely antagonistic, the city turns ugly and small and desperate and cold as a frozen hooker’s ice cube tray, and you really just want to die. I’ve lived it. I know.

Another notable strangeness about Portland: On those dark cold nights when Portland’s Dr. Jeckyll is Mr. Hyde-ing…well. It can do things to a man. Mean things. Ugly things. Here’s a jaunty example from just last weekend:

I (yes, me, Adrian here, hello…) was walking in NW Portland, just a block off SW Burnside (you know the area). It was interminably gray and drizzly, and my hood was up, and I was inarguably having one of those Portland nights. (I had witlessly stumbled into some tragic 1992 gay time capsule they deign to consider a gay bar, where I was whacked in the face by a wall of cigarette smoke and Escape for Men so thick it left marks, and treated to at least four songs of the “We Are Family” and “It’s Raining Men” variety before I could either kill myself and/or shake off the very, very scary gentleman who apparently believes that “No” is negotiable and who shocked even me by pulling from his wallet a business card upon which was printed—oh my holy Jesus—-a picture of his HOUSE BOAT with which to tempt my loins, please kill me. When I finally stopped running, I realized I was missing twenty bucks. PORTLAND!)

Up the street a bit, three blocks ahead of me, there gathered a little herd bar-hoppers, guys and girls, who had huddled on the corner just off Burnside to destroy their lungs. (SMOKERS!) One of them was very loud and very stupid. I could hear him, clear as day, even three blocks away. And here is what he was saying:

Wait. Before I tell you what he said, it is important that you get his voice just right. Think snotty surfer-dude with a coke-cold and the charm of a candied turd. Proceed.

“Yeah—so I’m in phone sales, you know. And sometimes just to piss people off, I use my “gay voice”. My supervisor thinks it’s fucking hilarious. So, I’m all like (in a sing-songy “Big Gay Al” with more Ss than a busted tire reunion), “Huuull-Ooooo! Thisss isss John, and I’m….WELL! That’ssss not verry niiiiiiccce!” It totally pisses off this one fag I work with …”

And so on, relentlessly. The girls were all tittering like horny little lorikeets, and the dudes were assholing it up predictably. But then suddenly, unexpectedly, from somewhere barely identified, there came another voice, a furious voice, much louder and really rather scary:


The peeping girls suddenly peeped no more and kind of hunched down into their shadows as if they expected flying objects, and the guys suddenly lost the gift of speech, but still tried to act all casual about it somehow like nothing was happening. (And who can blame them?) But the strange angry voice, apparently not mollified, continued:


And etcetera. The angry screamer went on screaming for at least another block, until just about the point that I finally became fully aware that the scary screaming voice was, in fact, mine. Coming out of my mouth, from under my hood. I was the crazy screaming person.

Then, rather startled, I went on screaming for half a block more, just to get it all out. Then, come to think of it, I felt much, much better. Pretty damn much better, actually. Huh.


RSS icon Comments


I love you so much it hurts.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 7, 2008 2:38 PM

Adrian. This is not LiveJournal.

Posted by monster | January 7, 2008 2:46 PM

Schizophrenia is characterized by a mental break, or schism, from reality, where an individual is beset upon by hallucinations, delusions, and other mental distress. Dissociative identity disorder, wherein a person exhibits two or more discrete personalities at varying times, is something completely different.

Posted by Ziggity | January 7, 2008 2:48 PM

As a Portlander from Seattle.

Thanks. No one in this town will yell at anyone. They all give me the stink eye when I honk for flip the bird or kick at people.

Oh... and stay out of NW. Unless you're hanging out in Old Town. Fuck the Pearl.

Posted by Graham | January 7, 2008 2:52 PM

i was just waiting for someone to say all three of those things.

Posted by adrian! | January 7, 2008 2:52 PM

Dr. Jeckyll is the good one.

Posted by Erechtheides | January 7, 2008 2:58 PM

Just came back from Portland. You are hilarious.

Posted by Miss Stereo | January 7, 2008 2:59 PM

bravo! good job. i'm glad they didn't try to beat you up, though. i think their silence indicated their shame -- they knew they were wrong.

Posted by infrequent | January 7, 2008 3:10 PM

What Mr. Poe said.

Posted by als | January 7, 2008 3:14 PM


Posted by monkey | January 7, 2008 3:29 PM

I like how you let them have it, not for being a clueless homophobe, but for being a telemarketer.

Posted by Mahtli69 | January 7, 2008 3:34 PM

I hear Portland is just a wack Seattle.

Posted by Beachhead | January 7, 2008 3:48 PM


That is all.

Posted by Baxter | January 7, 2008 3:50 PM

@11 - Bingo! Ha ha, my thoughts exactly. Being a homophobe is unaccaptable, but nothng is as offensive as being a telemarketer. I applaud you, adrian.

Posted by longball | January 7, 2008 3:50 PM

I must agree, I lived in Portland for 2 1/2 years and I HATED it.

For a while I lived just east of Reed College and people blatantly flew the Confederate Flag and talked about finding the gays to beat up (this was kind of front yard beer drinking truck fixing talk). A block a way from my house someone created their own giant lawn sign with fun anti gay and anti choice messages.

People think Portland is all that and a bag of chips. I found it to be a depressing place to live. They have a great light rail system and an easy street grid but I could not stand to live there. And, it never felt like living in a City, more like a town.

It's the kind of a place where the hippies and the rednecks almost start to blend into each other. Eugene is worse but Portland has the same dynamic going on.

When my girlfriend and I were visiting there several years ago I took her to the lesbian bar I used to hang out at occasionally when I lived there. After hanging out for one drink she said she'd rather kill herself then stay for another.

Powell's Bookstore is great though.

Posted by Portland Sux | January 7, 2008 3:51 PM

This is the best story ever.

Posted by Cascadian | January 7, 2008 4:10 PM

Adrian, you crack me up!

Posted by Gillian Anderson | January 7, 2008 4:13 PM

Agent Scully reads the Slog?

Posted by Judah | January 7, 2008 4:18 PM

@18: Read the Stranger Regrets.

They actually mentioned you!

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | January 7, 2008 4:29 PM

I love you Adrian. I miss Portland in that "it's beautiful, but overrun by commies" kind of way.

Posted by Mrs. Jarvie | January 7, 2008 4:35 PM


Yeah, I regret not knowing the name of the Stranger's fucking copy editor. Clearly she is so fucking important and well-known that only a complete tool would think her name was a stupid pseudonym.

Posted by Judah | January 7, 2008 5:00 PM

# 15 -

"It's the kind of a place where the hippies and the rednecks almost start to blend into each other"

Great line because it's true....

Posted by Super 10 | January 7, 2008 5:29 PM

Confession: I often just skip over Adrian's posts and columns. They're just too precious for words. But this was great.

Posted by genevieve | January 7, 2008 5:38 PM

Well at least that Portland asshole has a whole new gay voice to mimic.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 7, 2008 6:31 PM

This story makes me want to start or join a group of tuff gay guys patrolling the streets and bars of Capitol Hill looking and listening for hate-speech.

Posted by Take it back! | January 7, 2008 6:38 PM

"Well at least that Portland asshole has a whole new gay voice to mimic."


Posted by adrian! | January 7, 2008 7:11 PM

Thanks--Portland is TOTALLY skitzo. I lived there when Team Dresch got brutally queer bashed and the Oregon Citizen's Alliance were pushing the legalizing of discrimination based on homosexuality...

But take the homophobia there and double it and you might come close to the racism quotient. My then-boyfriend and I were considered a "mixed" couple and got threats secured to our front door with knives.

Pretty poisen city, though.

Posted by noel | January 7, 2008 7:14 PM

i am still laughing at the phrase "horny lorikeets."

Posted by pretentious | January 7, 2008 7:35 PM

Adrian! I love you.

Posted by elenchos | January 7, 2008 7:40 PM

..also just returned from frozen hooker's ice cube tray. Did you know that there is a pizza place called (and I do not kid) "It's a Beautiful Pizza"..? That is all.

Posted by yohnson | January 7, 2008 8:10 PM

Hahaha! Portland sucks too.....ahahaa!
eh, seattle- the millionaires playground or portland- the hillbilly heaven; take your pick kiddies

Posted by brandon | January 7, 2008 8:25 PM

Adrian kickin up some shit in P Town. Watch out!

Posted by M | January 7, 2008 8:57 PM

Adrian interesting post. Your situation
was an amusing one in a unique human moment. I'm sure we all had those times there may be some freaks out there, and sometimes you feel the best way to deal with them is just get freakier.
You going through that night reminded me of this song.

He Said's 'Pump'

Posted by Espozay | January 7, 2008 10:22 PM

I really enjoyed reading that, Adrian, and agree that it's hilarious you called the guy out for his evil telemarketing job. Portland is exactly as you describe, yet even after not having lived there for 14 years, I still miss it terribly. No I'm not a Gemini.

Posted by Donna | January 8, 2008 6:24 AM

Adrian, awesome dude. Awesome. I have that problem in Seattle too, being a miami guy (east coast) out in the PNW... I am told that sometimes Im too blatently outright with my words... I don't do this passive agressive bullshit.

@ 25: I'll join your gaggle o' tough gays.... I get my point across, tattooed, rough 25 yr old. I'm ready to join... sign me up.

Posted by Homo Will | January 8, 2008 7:51 AM

please oh please get me out of portland.

Posted by blackandblue | January 8, 2008 11:52 AM

Adrian! I love you too.

Posted by Donolectic | January 8, 2008 10:00 PM

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