Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Florida: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Hello hello, my amigos. And guess what?

I am already back in Portland. So much for my "grand adventure."

I don't really know what I was expecting in Florida. Probably sunshine and alligators and streets full of very tan, muscular men who walk around shirtless because of the heat. Or something along those lines.

It didn't take long for me to discover that my destination was a place that looks like Alabama.

I swear I could hear banjo music in the distance...
What was that noise overhead?  Oh, you know, just an alien spacecraft...
Okay, so I've never actually been to Alabama, but I assume that it looks ugly and dead like that.

Everything was flat and covered in a combination of scraggly little trees and grass that needed to be watered.  Billboards promoting fundamental religious beliefs lined the highway.  There was not a single hipster in sight - instead, it seemed that everyone was overweight and attempting to keep their unruly flab inside their tight clothes while drinking a large ice tea from the one Starbucks in town.

It should also be noted that I had to explain to a barista in that one Starbucks how to make me a cup of basic, brewed coffee.  I realize that I'm beginning to sound like a snob, but it was all a bit shocking.

Landing in a household that assumed I was a "liberal, green peace, tree-hugging hippy freak" simply because I asked where the recycling bin was didn't do much for my opinion of Central Florida.  It didn't help that I was obliviously drinking decaf every morning.  Anyway, it wasn't long until I wanted to go home.

In fact, all I could think of was Portland - my friends, my family, decent coffee, trash cans that say "LAND FILL" on them, the quirky night clubs, etc.  So when I got a text asking if I could house-sit in Southeast, I quickly replied "YES" and booked a return flight to the Pacific Northwest. 

It wasn't a worthless adventure - I feel as though I gained a lot of insight on the rest of the country as well as myself and how truly West Coast I am.  I also got to spend a day at the beach, try a lot of weird Latin food (I stayed in a bilingual household), and see Cirque Du Soleil for free (I happened to be in the right place at the right time and some random guy named Ted handed me a ticket he couldn't, so awesome).  So that's all good stuff.

Sticking my feet in The Atlantic Ocean

Hanging out with some seagulls

A bit of beautiful scenery
Embracing the campy side of Orlando
Eating yucca con chicharon (or, those potato-type things with pork skins on top)

I also took advantage of the moderately abysmal scenery and shot a music video when no one was looking.  I only took one take because I wasn't entirely sure where I was and those big black birds were beginning to circle above me (vultures, perhaps?), but I think it turned out okay.

Anyway, it feels incredibly good to be back in the town that still honors the dream of the 90's.

Except I'm not really back in town - I'm staying at my parents' house in the country.  But that's a small detail. 


(Note:  If you are reading this and you are from Central Florida or anywhere in The South, please do not take offensive to this post.  I do not have anything against you - I've just lived in Portland my entire life and found your Bible Belt shocking.  Take everything I say with a grain of organic kosher salt.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take Your Protien Pills And Put Your Helmet On

A week ago, I left the crazy artist's community that I had called home for over a year and I got on an airplane. An airplane full of screaming babies, middle-aged women drinking vodka mixed with sprite zero, and horny teenagers making out right on top of me (I suggested that they take their little in-flight romance to the bathroom but they insisted on swapping saliva in the seats right next to me). I siphoned David Bowie into my ears through headphones, but not even Ziggy Stardust could distract me from the chaos surrounding me.

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control, I'm stepping through the door, and I'm floating in the most peculiar way..."

Some bratty kid kicks the back of my seat while the people next to me proceed to pass second base.

I think of my friends from the artist's community, of my old one-room apartment that was now empty, and of all the stuff I had sitting in boxes at my parents' house. I begin to second guess my choice to move out, but then I tell myself not to think about it. I am on an adventure.

The pilot announces that the plane is going to land. I grab a hold of my barf bag, just in case. Meanwhile, David Bowie continues to sing in my ears.

"Can you hear me Major Tom? CAN YOU HEAR ME MAJOR TOM?"

And in that moment, I felt like I was Major Tom. I was leaving Ground Control and blasting off on some vague personal mission. My destination? A place more foreign and strange than Outer Space...

Central Florida.

A week later, here I am - updating my blog in The Marion County Library. And I have a suspicion that I am not only the sole hipster in this part of the country, but I am the only one who cares about recycling and reusable grocery bags.

Toto, I don't think we're in Portland anymore.

To Be Continued...