Ways I’ve Failed At Life In Portland, Oregon

1. Opened my eyes during meditation

Obviously I go to group meditation. Needless to say, I am as happy as the next guy/gal/GLBT/RSTLNE to open up my heart and share my energy with you for the duration of our meditation. I will even make small talk with you afterward and listen while you describe what colors you felt cascading down from the sky and into our meditation ceremony, as well as encourage you when you talk about creating a couchsurfing-style website for “dharma bums,” which you will never do, because you are blazed all the time. But, like, last week I opened my eyes for a hot minute because I thought I left the teakettle on. My bad.

2. Had a panic attack at the Sasquatch Music Festival

One thing that unifies all true Portlanders is their love of live music. Portlanders love to go to shows of all kinds, whether it be an indie folk trio at Mississippi Studios, or an epic four-day music festival where a bottle of Coke costs $12. I’m referring now, of course, to the Sasquatch Music Festival held every spring at the Columbia Gorge just a few hours north of Portland. I went last year and completely freaked the hell out. I have no idea how many people were there, but it was in the — okay, it was 100,000, I just Googled it. What the heck? That’s so many people. And the thing about it is this: THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. You wake up in the morning and stick your head out of your tent and there are some Canadians playing beer pong already and you can’t find your friends because they’re off playing beer pong with somebody else and you have to walk over to the scary weird row of port-a-pottys to brush your teeth and everyone’s looking at you and I have literally never experienced anything that came so close to making me feel as uncool as I did in middle school as the Sasquatch Music Festival.

The security’s really weird and you get trapped in huge swarms of people and there’s absolutely no way out and everybody is wearing neon-colored sunglasses and you can’t see their eyes and what’s behind those glasses and is it just you or is everybody closing in on you and what if this was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers for real and I HAD A PANIC ATTACK AT SASQUATCH. OK?! DEAL WITH IT PORTLAND.

But whatevsies I could probably be talked into going back this year. I heard the Black Keys are playing.

3. Slept through the farmers’ market

The Portland Farmers’ Market held at Portland State University is pretty great. Back off! I know this! Obviously I planned on going to it and purchasing all my groceries for the week and making all of these amazing dishes with ALL FRESH VEGGIES and even getting expensive bread and EXPENSIVER MEAT. But, like, it’s Saturday and I worked all week so I slept through it.

Then I went out and got a burger for lunch. Whoops!

4. Turned through the bike lane

You know what? Yeah — I made a left turn through the bike lane. Does it make it any better if I say that it was four in the morning and absolutely noone else was on the road? What about if I say I not only looked in my rear view mirror, I literally rolled down my window, stuck my head out into the cold air, and checked to make sure there were no bikers coming (twice)? No? Still not OK to turn through the bike lane? What if I say that a left turn was legal, and there was no way to do it without going through the bike lane? No? I should figure out how to make my car levitate so it never enters into the bike lane, ever? OK. You’ve got me there.

5. Flushed the toilet after peeing

I once heard an actual Portlander say, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” This trite rhyme and hippy effort to conserve water did not make me vomit or scream, but it did make me turn up my nose and just feel generally sad and grossed out. I have a depressive personality already and prefer not to be confronted head first with the melancholy nature of the human experience every time I have to use the restroom.

I used to live with boys and one of them had a particular penchant for leaving his bright yellow urine floating in the bowl and, maybe it was just me, but the bathroom had a strange odor when he did that and also, bizarrely, felt more humid. This additional humidity left me with no other option to consider but that his urine was evaporating into the air and hovering around and that I was breathing it in (is that a thing?). Plus, my cat drinks out of the bowl. I don’t want my sweet little baby girl to have to drink URINE. Needless to say, I flushed the toilet after peeing today and will continue to do so every time I pee ever.


image – cliff1066


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    “if it’s yellow let it mellow” didn’t dustin hoffman say that in meet the fockers too? 

  • Wit

    Hey, I just moved to Portland and was hoping to relate to your post but nope – I did not.  

  • Pajamas11483

    Hmmm I’m a Portland Native and hardly related. If its yellow let it mellow? Not so much. 

  • guest

    Yes Portland sit on two rivers, but you never NEVER want to drink Willamette water… that shit is nasty even down in Salem. Although I do agree it does rain…everyday.

  • guest

    We say if it’s yellow let it mellow…but that’s because we live in a desert and are about to experience a water crisis. Portland isn’t going to experience a water crisis. We NEED to save water to survive (although developers seems to ignore this fact). It rains in Portland 300 days a year. Flush the fucking toilet or send us your spare water!

  • Bri

    Seems about right. Spent a massive amount of time in Portland. Lived in Eugene for 3 and a half years and now I’m nestled on the east coast again. Definitely a culture shock. I miss parts of it…parts. 

  • i don't fist pump

    I’m gonna guess you failed at life in good old Puddletown because you’re a try-hard, not because you don’t “fit in.” I’m originally from the East Coast and they’ve welcomed my sailor-mouthed, wasteful, meat-eating ways with open arms.

  • nmbr1freek

    fuck all of you ptown is da shit dank bud all day wat I does…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1123705458 Drew Shackleford

    lol, sasquatch.

  • elnaco

    Sweet, another ‘tourist’ thinking they can cleverly define Portland. You probably never went east of 82nd or north of the Alberta Arts (for white people) district.

    • Georgia A Perry

      I lived in Vancouver Wash. before moving to Tabor!

  • Guest

    I live in Portland. Thought this was great. Everyone on here might want to let it mellow a bit 

  • Neil

    I’ve lived in portland my whole life, not beaverton, not gresham, not st. Johns or Lake oswego, but Portalnd and this shit was hilarious. Idk why everyone on this page is so butthurt. Its like you told them food carts were just a trendy version of McDonalds or something.

  • Anonymous

    butt hurt portlandians should chill out this is spot on. live in the pnw moved from bk. people here are insane.

  • Pupienus

    A few hours north of Portland is Seattle.  The gorge is EAST, not north. 

    • Myemail

      North of Portland is Seattle and east of Seattle is the Gorge, so…what’s your point?

  • Erik

    Needlessly checking your rear view mirror before making a left turn is very Portland of you.

  • shibui

    This is awesome. Do not ever stop writing!

  • Ronald

    Every now and then a Thought Catalog writer comes along whom I hate. Blah blah blah this article sucks.

  • thethingsIsay

    I’ve lived in PDX nearly all my life and this piece rings true. Don’t know why people are being so rude. Not very Portland of them. Which makes me think the ones who are hating aren’t actually from Portland or are disgrutled transplants. Come to Portland, be happy, appreciate the irony. It’s weird. But in a totally charming, crazy, lets save all the water and laugh at ourselves way. But seriously save all the water.

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