Hey, have you heard? Portland is weird. Really weird. Said weirdness began almost immediately at the airport, when I experienced two coffee-toting mishaps that ended in one coffee-scented scarf and one very mortified boyfriend.
By the time we touched ground in the River City, I smelled like a bonafide Stumptown Roastery and was anxious to get on with the whole *getting weird* shebang. It didn’t take long to make note of the first characteristically Portlandian specimen. Along the highway to the hotel, we pulled up next to what looked like a reject member of the Alaskan Bush People. As Bear Grylls 2.0 zoomed ahead, I saw that his car was dressed in a series of pro Obama bumper stickers. Our local chauffeur explained that this unique breed of liberal redneck, a being whose beard is as thick as thieves, but is no match for his love of $400 field jackets and small batch bourbon, is a species native to Portland.
Approximately an hour off the plane and out of the automobile is when I experienced my first Powell’s Books sighting. I’d heard that this mega book hub was a biggie, but tbh nothing could have prepared me for a bookstore that channeled the likes of Gringotts Bank.
It was vast and confusing and intriguing, and gave me a fair dose of anxiety while I attempted to A) find a shallow book perfect for unwinding in the ho-tel bath, and B) find a flannel-clad librarian who could direct me toward said book. Had I actually managed to find this elusive librarian, I would have proposed that someone should really consider hooking up a fancy underground railroad to shuttle around the very damp, very lost, and very knowledge-hungry plebs.
After losing some dollaz and gaining some IQ at the never-ending bookstore, we continued on our shuffle through Portland’s signature torrential rainfall to hit up the donut mothership. Although I’d tasted the sweet nectar of a Voodonut before (rather than a “someone in Portland loves me!” souvenir tee, my parents had stowed away a box of the precious treats for me after their own Portland experience), experiencing Voodoo in the yeasty flesh was a whole new ball game. This place was not fucking around. Multi-tiered glass cases of vibrant donuts crusted in sugary cereals and neon candies danced in orderly rotation. Feeling intoxicated by diabetes’ signature perfume, I was distracted from picking my poison before my confrontation with the register. Panicked, I jabbed my finger toward three heavily frosted, deep fried doughs. WTF was I thinking, was my exact thought about two hours later, when I flung the hotel room window ajar and graced the city of Portland with my undressed, profusely sweaty, nauseated bod.
After my full recovery from the donut effect, we hit the town with some native Portlandians who introduced us to the joys of fancy tots, a straight up lumberjack lounge complete with an overgrown yeti totem pole, Lyft cars fully stocked with novelty snacks such as MoonPies (expiration date not pertinent to this story), a fifth-meal that would make even Taco Bell jello, and…a spooky dessert house. I’m not confident that I can do justice to the…spooky dessert house…so I’m just going to leave this here and moooove along.
Our big night out on the town led to a hazy morning spending spree of things I needed at the time. Cue ooey gooey brownie ice cream, a book of Hilary Clinton haikus, and an $18 bottle of truffle-infused salt that measures roughly the size of a toenail. For the record, each grain costs approximately 1 cent and makes for a very tasty bowl of truffle parm popcorn.
The moral of the story is that if you’re going to Portland, don’t wear some flowers in your hair, but do prepare yourself for some surrrrious weirdness…and for the love of God, don’t get too close to the donuts.