One thing baffles me completely about this place: No one in Portland uses an umbrella.
It's not uncommon to see several people walking about in the rain with no coat, hood, or parasol to shield themselves against the elements. I think this has something to do with the fact that most Portlanders are just such bad-asses. It's like they want to prove to the world how cool they are. Except they're so cool they don't need to prove it to the human race, they're proving it to Mother Nature, and we ALL know that the only person who's ever proved anything to her was Chuck Norris. But these Portlanders just keep trying. They can't help it. The cool factor of a native Portlander is so high that they actually LEAP from the womb with a pair of Doc Martens already on their feet--and incidentally, with no umbrella, even though amneotic fluid has been proven, without a doubt, to be very wet.
On the other hand, I live in the suburbs. My neighborhood is rife with Middle aged somethings sporting the EXACT same rain coat from R.E.I. We hold discreet black micro umbrellas that can be stashed away quickly should that coven of hipsters that live on Hawthorne suddenly find itself wandering a little too south and we would be mocked for our middle aged-ness. Nevermind the fact that we middle agers think that hipsters look like 3rd graders dressed up in their parents clothes, we still don't want them to make fun of our obvious lack of cool. By the way hipsters, what's with the sudden interest in sporting eye wear reminiscent of Sally Jesse Raphael anyway?
But now I'm just showing you my age. (Which,in case you didn't get it, is middle, thank you very much.)
I digress, back to the umbrella--or lack thereof--as it may be. One of the first things I was told by a friend of mine when we first moved here was that, "No one in Portland carries an umbrella."
I've pondered the umbrella dilemma for a few months now and I've come up with a few possible reasons why they've gone missing.
A) feel that they need to prove they are as hip as they think they are. To be honest, they really are cool. Every person I've met so far has been like one of the mysterious chi-chi kids from high school--the kind that you just can't approach, let alone hang out with. To be fair, I don't really know that many people, so I'm really just talking about the handyman at our apartment--oh, and that lady who says "hi" to me every day after school. She's so cool I'm surprised each time I see her that she's not dancing in a pair of M.C Hammer pants humming "Can't Touch This."
(Now you're humming "Can't Touch This." )
Or perhaps Portlanders are...
B) the unwilling victims of a secret international umbrella shortage
C) really lazy
D) a race of people akin to Kevin Costner's character in Water World. I can't see any one's webbed toes because of all the Doc Marten covered feet here, but I've been looking for gills and haven't spotted any yet.
I know I'm mocked every time I break out my GINORMOUS rainbow umbrella that can comfortably accommodate our Amazonian family of four. But I don't care.
Did you hear me, Portland???!!
I DON'T CARE.
I'm too middle age-ed to shun my trusty umbrella. I'm also too middle age-ed to write the word "aged" I had to write it with the extra syllable just to PROVE to you just how middle age-ed and stodgy I am.
There were good men and women who lost their lives in the pursuit of finding solutions to protect us from the elements. (Ever heard of the great umbrella collapse of 1622? I thought not. There wasn't a single survivor to tell that tale of woe.) I will not let their sacrifice be in vain. I will use my umbrella, protect my frizzy hair, mom uniform and Doc Martens (c'mon, I'm not that old) from the rain every chance I get. Which apparently, is a lot, because today, I actually thought I might drown.
Simply put: People of Portland, you are cra-zay. Pull out your umbrellas, or if you can't find yours, you are welcome to come under mine...unless you're a hipster, then, move along, friend.
Nothing to be mocked here...move along.
What cultural phenomena do you experience where you live?