Where ‘Dubs Go to Die

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

If there were Heaven on Earth for the VW Van, it just might be Portland.  And if not Heaven, for these vans are not dead, but very much, in fact, happily puttering around the streets of PDX, then certainly it is akin to Club Med for South Floridian retirees; taking their last snow bird migration to a sunny oasis completed only by knee-high black socks and pink flamingos.  It’s as if an immense caravan of hippies; full of intention, revolution, peace, love and LSD just stopped, gave up the cause and landed somewhere in the neighborhood in which I live.

Which makes sense, all of that peace and love, that is, because everyone is just so damn friendly around here.  Whereas my East Coast counterparts are hunched over, closed off, busy and bitter with eyes downcast, probably as a result of itsminustoosomethingcoldtowalkdownthesidewalk and Immameansumnabitchforhavingtogooutside.  People here, however, saunter with a bounce and make eye contact that is locked into “missile firing range” at least two blocks in advance.  I find myself cringing and shrinking inside my lightweight sweatshirt that I wear to walk the dog because I’m pretty sure this stranger is going to give me a hug.

Portlandia is an understatement.

There are a gagillion restaurants, bars and brewpubs and Portland is supposed to be the up-and-coming foodie capital of the nation.  But what does that mean–“foodie”?  Who doesn’t like to eat?  Bartenders are now called mixologists and when I interviewed at a restaurant and was asked if I had bartending experience, she made sure to specifically say:  “pre-Prohibition style cocktails”.  What?  Moonshine??  Sorry, lady but I can mix a mean Gin and Tonic.

Free-range takes on a whole new definition when you see chickens cheerfully pecking the cracks in the sidewalk.

And while the She-Wolf might feel like she’s rejoined her pack, I, on the other hand, am starting to feel a little adrift.  I forgot that it’s not easy to relocate to a place where you have to start everything all over again.  It takes time.  I built a life in Montreal that, most days, I miss a whole lot.   (That is, until, I put on the lightweight sweatshirt)  My only friends are my family and for that I am grateful, cause they are a hoot.   I am slowly starting to teach yoga and yes, I do also work at a restaurant, not as a mixologist.

For now, I might be alone on the outside looking in through windows at groups of friends, hippies and hipsters sipping their Negronis and munching deep-fried chanterelles (calamari is so passé) but there is something about all the hippie vans that gives me hope.  And not just for the prevalence of spare parts I might someday need access to.

Something about them tells me I just might fit in here.

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dadrivermn
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 14:14:43

    Well written and a fun read, Jen.


  2. Mary Lynn
    Jan 06, 2014 @ 05:41:24

    Happy 2014 Beautiful! Going to be your year! Xo


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