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Another Portland Blog

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


A REAL list of 50 things every Portlander MUST do

For its March issue, Portland Monthly released a list of fifty things every Portlander "must do." Well, maybe every Portlander that lives in a Pearl District condo and is capable of paying their share of the Multnomah County tax nine times over.

While some of the items on the list are reasonable- sit in section 107 during a Timbers' game, for example- others are more geared towards the jet set. One entry suggests that all area residents just have to pay several hundred bucks to drive a race car around PIR or run the risk of being labeled unPortland-y and possibly even unSmurfy. Another "must do" is buying season tickets for the University of Portland's womens soccer team. To that I say: "Wha...?"

But what would a real list of must do's look like? The sort of activities that anyone who lives and works here simply can't avoid? The sort of stuff that every Portlander will wind up doing whether they want to or not?

Well, I'm willing to take a crack at just such a list. Feel free to disagree and/or add your own suggestions in the comments area below. I may wind up sending this thing to the editors at PM.

  • 1. Get harassed by a street kid for cigarettes, even if you aren't a smoker.

  • 2. Nearly get hit by a car (if you ride a bike) or nearly hit a bike (if you drive a car).

  • 3. Wonder aloud about who Rick Emerson is, what he does exactly and why everyone you know loves him.

  • 4. Get lost in a neighborhood in SE and struggle to get back to a major intersection while driving down streets too tiny to be bike lanes with cars parked on both sides. Get into a confrontation with a car heading in the opposite direction, spend five minutes flashing lights at one another in a pathetic attempt to coax them into going first, awkwardly back up and in front of someone's driveway, let the other car pass, pull out, confront another car. Repeat until you finally start sobbing, abandoned your vehicle and walk the rest of the way.

  • 5. Ignore the Rose Festival.

  • 6. Drink Pabst at least once a week because everyone in this town, especially bar owners, stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that the true king of watered-down corporate suds is Miller Hi-Life. C'mon, people. Enough already. Sure, it was fun for a while but Pabst tastes like water from a puddle. Quit kidding yourselves. Hi-Life is a much more worthy of the "Official Poseur Beer of Portland" title.

  • 7. Realize that you don't know a single person that has ever gone to the Oregon Symphony.

  • 8. Complain about the tram.

  • 9. Complain about the bus mall revamp.

  • 10. Complain about any given civic project.

  • 11. Complain about the schools.

  • 12. Compain about the way local taxes are being spent but not bother to pay attention to who's running for the open seats on city council.

  • 13. While wandering around downtown, get offered "crystal" by an extremely thin guy with a three day old beard.

  • 14. Acknowledge that Music Millenium is pretty nifty but that they charge $3 too much for every single CD on their shelves.

  • 15. Take someone from out of town to Multnomah Falls, spend two minutes looking at the falls, wonder why you drove all the way out there for this, consider hiking up to the bridge but putter around the gift shop instead, come close to dropping two quarters and a penny in the smasher machine, realize that you have no use for crushed coins with a Multnomah Falls imprint and drive back to town wishing you had taken them to the zoo or someplace that sells booze.

  • 16. Agree with the notion behind those "Keep Portland Weird" bumperstickers but wind up at Carl's Jr. instead of supporting a corner bento shop.

  • 17. Turn on KNRK, hear a Dave Matthew's song or that infernal "South Side" track by Moby, realize that "things [aren't] different here" and turn off the radio in disgust.

  • 18. Pay too much for a haircut.

  • 19. Pretend to like the Decembrists.

  • 20. (For the bridge and tunnel crowd) Drive all the way down to Powell's City of Books, pay for parking, realize they don't have what you want, head to Barnes and Noble, pay too much, wish you had bought it off Amazon instead of leaving the house.

  • 21. Go to a show at the Crystal Ballroom and become frustrated over the terrible floor plan. Find yourself muttering things like: "Why is the stage tucked in the corner?" and "Why is it so damn small?" and "Why is the room awkwardly split into two areas instead of keeping over 21'ers in the balcony?" and "Etc?"

  • 22. Come to the sudden realization that you will never, ever be cool enough for this city, regardless of how much Pabst you drink, how many local bands you listen to or how worn-out your Cheap Trick t-shirt is.

  • 23. Buy a cookie at a coffee shop, notice that the taste is slightly off, discover that it's actually a vegan cookie, briefly consider going vegan, eat a burger for dinner.

  • 24. Tell friends and family living elsewhere about how wonderful Portland is- about how you're a few hours from the mountain and the coast, that you're minutes away from hiking trails, that you can commute everywhere on a bike, etc. Live here the rest of your life without ever once going hiking, skiing or biking.

  • 25. Be underemployed.

  • OK, I could only come up with 25. Little help?

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