Portland According to Newbies

22Jun08

You can’t tell from the picture, but every one of these cars runs on liquid sunshine and puppy tails.

Moving and I are about as far from strangers as Gwyneth Paltrow and stilettos. I’ve lived in five different states and attended four different middle schools (along with seeing three men on a dead man’s chest and hitting the 2-for-1 down at the Piggly Wiggly) and I love every new experience I can get my hands on.

Okay, I must admit I’m not being entirely truthful with you, loyal reader. Moving from Texas to Alaska was a lesson in navigating REI, constantly switching schools while dealing with budding acne and learning to use shaving cream was about as fun as using a squirrel to blow your nose, and don’t even talk to me about packing up all my beanie babies more times than is legal in most third world countries. But there are some moves I get very excited for, some that make my sunburn tingle and my credit card dance in anticipation.

Yesterday, I packed up my summer essentials, nabbed a suit from the back of my closet, and took the all too familiar trek up I-5 to settle into my brand new shiny dorm room near downtown Portland. Tomorrow, I start my internship with Ernst & Young LLP, beloved big four accounting firm and world renowned break dance star. Having lived in most every kind of rural and suburban cityscape, I am ready and raring to settle in for the city life, and not to fall victim to country bumpkin syndrome, there are a few things I need to figure out.


Yes, everything’s mobile except my computer and no, there isn’t enough closet space.

First, how to get around. Living in Salem, provides little respite from the wily whims of the gasoline gods, and my excitement at the prospect of public transit simply cannot be conveyed over the internets. My navigation skills leave a lot to be desired, and I count my blessings that I-5 goes in a straight line or else I’d never reach Portland at all. My roommate and I (we’ll call him Don Juan for the sake of Internet privacy and general mystique) took the #9 TriMet bus down to Powell and 82nd to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart.

Yes, you heard right: not even 24 hours in the city, and I already found the Wal-Mart.


I took this while riding the streetcar. That’s Portlander for “free people mover”.

Another lesson I’m excited to learn involves getting along with a multitude of different people-types. Take the lady DJ and I met on the bus today. We’ll call her Loretta for the sake of a lack of a universal People Who Say This Stuff to Strangers database. DJ was holding a straw hat along with a few miscellaneous other things to return to the store, and the first thing out of Loretta’s mouth when she sat down was, “That’s a dumb hat.” Now granted, the hat was no Doris from Meet the Robinsons, but I don’t think this is the kind of thing one normally points out to strangers. Nevertheless, Loretta will go down in Portland lore as the first person we talked to on the bus (and maybe the last).


This is our view from the dorm, or as I like to call it, the 673 Mafia.

Not to aspire merely to the hallowed halls of rollback pricing, we made our way to Pioneer Courthouse Square. At a trendy little store called Mario’s*, I tried on a pair of jeans that cost more than the digital camera I got at el Wal-Mart (let’s just say that if those were Sevens, I typically buy Twos). In a fitting twist of fate and haphazard guessing on the part of Dayv The Helpful Salesman, they were too small, and my wallet lived to see another day.

*Sick and tired of pilfering coins on the road to saving the princess, a beleaguered yet determined Italian immigrant sheds sweat and koopas to rise up from the swills of poverty…

Finally, one of the challenges of living back in the dorms is a lack of wireless Internet. I can update friends on the happenings in my life, arrange a wedding on the moon, and watch Apple’s stock price jump every time Steve Jobs needs to pee, but I can’t do any of it without being tethered TO THE WALL by a loathsome ethernet cord. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I should be thankful we even have the Internet at all…

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3 Responses to “Portland According to Newbies”

  1. 1 Genesis

    haha this is great. 🙂 I’m glad you have such a positive adventurous outlook on life. Many people don’t have that you know…

    Have fun in Portland for the summer, I guess this big accounting firm is like a step (maybe two…) up from the good on NLTP! I’m sad you don’t have quality internet, but make the effort. Otherwise I might be forced to read a book… 🙂

  2. 2 Left of the Dial

    Apple sells something called an Airport device that you can plug in to your tether and turn it in to a wireless network. This is what we do at my house, and it could serve you well in your future life of places not supplied with default wifi (like most houses). There are a couple of different types (express, extreme, regular) at different prices, but they work well and could be a worthwhile investment. I think there’s a real Apple Store in the Portland area.

    I’ll work on putting a People Who Say This Stuff to Strangers database within the BAP database that I’ve been working on for the new website. I’ll keep you updated.

  3. Your style is so unique compared to other people I have read
    stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess
    I’ll just book mark this site.


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