By Midge Pierce
Welcome to springtime in Portopia where potholes are supersized, syringes line sidewalks, broken promises litter the stalled-out eastside community center park, and the City is apparently too busy rubber stamping Infill to support neighborhood open spaces where gardens might grow. Further more, antics of a feral paperclip (possibly orange, undoubtably bent) pulling down home values and threatening our status as a sanctuary captivated SE for weeks. (Rest easy Portopians: Clippy found a home.)
While I’m ranting, will someone please explain why homeowners who have worked hard to live in – and preserve – neighborhoods with room for a swing-set are labeled exclusionary racists?
Or why, when I mention I’m headed back East for my 50th High School reunion, the rejoinder is not, “No. You’re too young?”
To reduce despair and excess from my former self, I peddle the treadmill as fast as I can scouring senior moments for long-lost names and forgotten words in time to mark that half century milestone.
My vocabulary has expanded along with water in my basement. (I know, I should quit my simpering and be grateful I have a place to hang my Mackintosh.)
The first new word comes with solace from Younger Daughter who found a label for Portland’s precipitation that is neither rain, nor snow nor sleet of night. It’s grimmel. Because, Grimm, and the end of our Friday night hexenbiest feast.
Next up is The Oregonian’s reference to Mt. Hood’s epic snowpack as maujac. The word has a suitably paradoxical meaning containing elements of magic, practicality and numerology mixed with intransigence, rigidity, obsession. I have no idea what it has to do with snowpack, but it seems to fit Portopia’s intolerance of anyone with a divergent opinion.
Despite or because of maujac, Portland is a colorless town in the gray grimmel. We lack both political and ethnic diversity, yet we are robust with sanctimony. As a favorite sociology prof once said, lean far enough left, pass through anarchy (Love the pothole fixes, folks; hate the City Hall disruptions) and wind up on the right.
Whatever you call the weather, or the cultural tilt, the result is the same. I am dragging like Ru Paul hoping to shape-shift away from blue spring, red party politics, generational entitlements and Kim Jong Un’s nuke-tipped middle finger (also Chloe Eudaly’s property shaming, and preferences for politically correct “content triggers” over critical thinking).
While I’m at it, can someone explain why Portlandians, even those emerging from potholes deep as the Gorge, think it’s okay to jump mid-street in front of cars?
Up is down, down is up. Left is always right. Right rarely is. Danger. Silos ahead. I scribe on knowing that a community paper with editors who live where they work and, with no ties to big-moneyed influencers, can speak truth to power.
Still, a girl’s gotta unwind with latitude and wry. One daughter complains that now is not the time for glibberish. Another kvetches that an app has not been developed to decipher my non-sequiturs, but really, where other than Portopia can you find coffee with undertones of tangerine, caramel and honey? Or a Feral Paperclip Caper?
(Kudos and smiles to Sue Tackmeir and neighbors who dropped every critical thing they had to do to find clippy a home.)