You’ve seen a few episodes of Portlandia, so you think you can navigate the quirky culture of this town like a pro, right? Better read this first–here are 15 things never to say to a Portlander.
1) Where can I buy an umbrella?
Grow a pair, rookie. Portland may be like Oz in many ways, but you will not melt if a raindrop touches your perfect hair. Popping an umbrella is a surefire giveaway that you aren’t from around here. If you want to blend in, do what we do: Pull up your damn hood.
2) Will you hold my place in line at Voodoo Donut?
Look, we are all very happy that Tres Shannon graduated from all ages punk scene advocate in the ‘80s to millionaire king of the Voodoo Donut empire. He deserves it. But standing in line for mediocre maple bars just proves that you are a tourist and you watch the Travel Channel. Locals swear by old school spots like Heavenly and Annie’s. And if you want to get serious, try the Beignets with salted habañero rum caramel dipping sauce at Dig A Pony.
3) This place is just like it seems on Portlandia!
Ugh. The Portlandia TV show has some funny moments. And it’s not like we take ourselves too seriously to enjoy it when the joke’s on us (actually, yes, we do). But there’s a point when exaggeration ends and propaganda begins. We liked being a best kept secret. Please forget you ever saw that show and go back to thinking that Oregon is a territory.
4) Hi, I just moved here from [insert city name here]
That’s… unfortunate. Well, you have about six months to find a job, or party til your savings run out, then move back into your parents’ basement. Meanwhile, please tip your bartenders and enjoy your stay.
5) Hi, I’m aboutto move here!
That’s… unfortunate. Can we show you the time of your life and convince you to go back home and forget everything we’ve shown you about our little paradise? You’re getting very sleepy…
6) I need a good cup of coffee. Can you direct me to the nearest Starbucks?
Listen here, friend. In Portland, we have Latte Art Championships and our baristas win trophies and date strippers. From Stumptown to Albina Press to Coava, Heart, and Extracto, there are so many local options for sampling the finest coffee inthe world, why would you even mention the occupying force from the North? We pretend it doesn’t exist until we go on a road trip. And then it’s straight to the drive-thru in Kelso for a secret Frappuccino.
7) At 4-way intersection: “You go.” “No, you go.” “But by all means, indubitably, you go right ahead.” An hour passes…
To say that Portlanders are passive is an understatement. You’ll find out the first time you get to a flashing red light. Then all atomic motion ceases and a battle of wills begins. Everyone tries to lose by letting someone else go first. The fact that we all had to pass a driver’s exam at the DMV explaining how to properly yield right of way is meaningless.
8) We just got done shopping at Wal-mart and we are now at McDonald’s.
Hiss! It’s great when family comes to visit. Lord knows we can’t afford to come visit you. But please keep your lowest common denominator American consumer habits to yourself. When Wal-Mart or McDonalds try to open new stores here, we take to the streets with pitchforks. And we usually win. Not even kidding.
9) Can I get a plastic bag?
Not anymore! In our crusade to save the Earth one city at a time, we have outlawed the use of plastic bags. Which is really wonderful, until our dog leaves a present on someone’s lawn and we have to pick it up with a wad of toilet paper.
10) Sorry, we can’t do vegan.
Not gonna work, son. Unless you are Podnah’s (the best bbq joint in town), that will not fly here. Special diets are spreading faster than the zombie virus. If a restaurant wants to stay in business, it had better offer vegan and gluten-free options. It’s also probably a good idea to offer a side of bacon that can be inserted into any dessert or smoothie, just to cover all the bases. Even vegans fall off the wagon sometimes.
11) What’s all this fuss over keeping fluoride out of city’s water supplies? Paranoid much?
While 72% of American municipal water supplies are flouridated for the purpose of cavity prevention, the people of Portland have continually
12) Which way to Cowch street?
Here’s a handy pronunciation guide:
Couch = Cooch (Yeah, that’s right. Deal with it.)
Willamette = It’s the will-AM-it, dammit. (Hear the rhyme?)
Oregon = OR-uh-gun is correct. Or-ee-GONE is not.
13) Who’s Freddy Kroger?
In the unlikely event you guessed horror movie villain turned grocery store tycoon, you’d be half right. Way back in 1922, a full 40 years before the first Walmart crawled out of the depths of Hell, a Brooklyn entrepreneur named Fred Meyer opened the first superstore in Portland: Groceries, drugs, apparel, jewelry, garden center and more, were all sold under one roof. While Fred Meyer stores are still ubiquitous here today, Meyer the man passed on in 1978, and by 1998 the company had merged with the Kroger supermarket chain. Now locals irreverently refer to the deceased as Freddy Kroger.
14) Meet me out. There’s a cover.
Paying money to go out is a deal breaker for most of us. The reason we live in Portland and work part time is so that we can concentrate on our ART. Paying to support someone else’s art goes entirely against that principle. But buying $20 worth of drinks after getting into a club for free is no big deal. Booze has value. Art is everywhere. Wheeee!
15) Does it REALLY rain that much?
Yes. It really does. 368 days a year here. So much that you might drown. Do not visit. Put your face in a toilet and flush it. That’s what it’s going to be like if you move here. Just look at all those other cities you thought about moving to instead. Austin is nice three months out of the year. Have you Googled the urban gardens in Detroit? Did I mention that you should not move here?