I don’t have a television, so I can’t watch the local news. It’s unfortunate. I miss out, I’m sure. I have little doubt that today I’m missing out on the STORM OF THE CENTURY!! There are pitiful snowflakes mixed with rain coming down in Portland. It’s barely at freezing and there isn’t enough precipitation to create any snow of any substance, but I’ll bet anything the local news stations have camped out at the highest elevations, looking for that razor thin layer of snow to indicate it’s sticking and a tiny flurry of flakes in order to justify standing outside in their perfectly matched snow bunny outfits to warn us all about the STORM OF THE CENTURY!! They probably also found some moron who drove too fast on a curve and whacked into a tree to warn us just how “dangerous it is out there, Bob, and back to you.” And back at the station, “Yes, be very careful. This storm will cause very dangerous conditions. Very dangerous. The world is full of danger. Watch out. Don’t go out.” It must be thrilling for the local newscasters to live in a state where snow is a major news item. They’d poop their drawers if anything ever really did happen. I guess they would be prepared.
I have finished two chapters in two days, but now I have to work at the job that makes me money. I don’t want to. I’m burned out. I took a small break, but I think I need a vacation where I leave the continent. We are planning one of those, but it will not arrive soon enough. There are other things happening in the meantime that I look forward to. I just need to keep plugging away at the day job until I get over the funk. It will happen; it has before.
Isabel has taken to letting her dollies nurse on her, or nurse on me before she nurses. She is very generous, that one.
I have also been working on the second book at the same time as the first. Both are right there, in my brain, so when I want to work on one, I start typing and out it comes. The problem is that I want to finish both and there isn’t enough time in the day. But it will happen. I’m glad enough for the work that is coming.
Milla is getting taller and growing things like breasts. She complained about the bra I bought her so I just bought her some bigger ones. As has been the case since she was tiny she likes her clothing five sizes too big. I have to say that I prefer that to the opposite alternative.
Our next door neighbor is moving away. Ours has not been a cordial acquaintance. Mostly it hasn’t been an acquaintance at all, but what contact there has been has been unfriendly. She does not seem to like us, and we really don’t like her in return. We have vowed to take a pie to the new tenant, hoping that a beginning kindness will at least give rise to the possibility of a friendly acquaintance. We shall see. I am glad, though, that the neighbor who does not like us is leaving.
It is sunnyish today, which is an improvement over downpours. I’m glad that it is not brightly sunny or I would lament leaving work until the last day. As it is, I will get it done without grumbling that I’m doing it in exchange for good weather.
Personal, Life, Weather
It’s raining again today, but it was sunny for three days in a row even though they said it would only be one, and I got to wear shorts yesterday it was so warm, so I can’t complain about rain today.
Apple took away my brand new MacBook Pro. I have to say, my apple products are on the shit list right now. I bought a new MacBook Pro. Immediately upon bringing it home it started having this issue where the screen would not light up when I opened it. It did not happen every time I opened the computer, but a lot of the time. I figured it was brand new and should not do this so I exchanged it for another one. What a mistake. The new one had the same issue, only it happened every single time I opened the computer, and it was difficult to get it to come on. So I called Apple. They said it was a “known issue” and told me some key fix while turning it on. It didn’t fix it. Every morning I have a tiny window in which to write before my baby wakes up. I spend most of that tiny window trying to make the computer wake up, so the other day, in complete frustration, I called Apple again about this issue. During the conversation with the Apple support representative, my ear touched my iPhone and hung it up. Ears aren’t supposed to hang up iPhones. I tell you, at that moment, Apple was at the height of the shit list and I was mad as hell. While on hold during my call back, the guy I had been talking to called me again. He apparently used my serial number to get back to me, which is a good thing because it was the only information I had given him before the call hung up. We spent the next half an hour working through a bunch of repair things behind the scenes in the guts of the computer’s programming.
Didn’t work. Yesterday I opened up the computer and the damn thing would not come on no matter what I did. Here I have been touting Apple products to anyone who will listen and I am having all these issues, although I can say I am typing this on my 3-year-old MacBook that still works just fine. I just wanted a computer with more space and RAM, which is why I bought the Pro. Maybe I shouldn’t have.
Anyway. In frustration, I made a Genius Bar appointment between court and my next client. I took it in there and left it with them. Of course the piece of shit opened up and worked just fine in front of the Genius Bar guy so I looked like a hysterical female. However, he looked at some history thingy in the guts and saw something that backed up my story, and agreed that they would do some tests and get back to me. They had not gotten back to me yet by late afternoon yesterday so I called, and they said it would not be ready until today. They said they “had not finished looking into the problem,” which means “We have not gotten to your computer yet.” Duh, I’m not dumb.
My small writing window is rapidly closing here. Isabel woke me up today, but she has been running around and is now eating the pancakes Milla decided to make for breakfast before school (I wonder who will do THOSE dishes?). It will not be long before I am the only person in the world with whom my baby would like to interact and there are other writing things I need to do that are more important than cheering the sun or complaining about computers.
Where is the Damn Sun?
Would I feel any differently this morning if it were sunny and nice instead of rainy and crappy? Oregon was rainy and shitty the entire time we were there until the last day. It had been sunny until the day before we arrived. Now it is sunny again since we have left. It was pouring in NY the day we left and the days up until we left. It is pouring now. Am I going to get any summer anywhere?
It is difficult for me to discern whether the weather has an impact on my mood when the weather rarely changes from shit. We have had a handful of sunny days since January, and I remember feeling optimistic on those days. Hawaii was a boring place to live, but it was so sunny and nice most of the time. I rarely felt down like I do here most of the time. But of course, hormones could be playing a part as well, and the constant wondering what each day will bring in my relationship. I used to bounce back pretty easily after an argument with the boyfriend, but not really anymore. Now I just wonder when the next one will come. I can just hear all the preachers out there who will comment and tell me just to leave him, but I would like to ask them how they would like to be single and pregnant in a city with no friends. It is so easy to armchair quarterback, especially someone else’s relationship. And then of course there is this weather, this abominable, interminable, shitty-ass weather. I wish to fuck it would get sunny already.
Wyoming was scary. By the time we got to it, we had experienced two of our near death rocks in the truck and were fairly terrified. We decided we would stop in Rock Springs, then head out early the next day to reach Colorado and Milla in Boulder. When we woke up on the morning of January 9, we were greeted with an unexpected surprise: snow! The weather reports had all predicted temperatures in the 40’s. Unfortunately this forecast changed while were sleeping. The storm was a surprise to many and left many traffic accidents in its wake. A couple of the photos are of trucks we saw crashed on the side of the road. We had another truck rock in Wyoming and the final one we experienced on the trip as we headed south into Colorado. Needless to say, we were nervous wrecks upon our arrival there!
How to Get Salt Stains Off Your Shoes
Ever gone walking around in the snow only to come home with weird white goo on your shoes? The white goo is salt deposits. Salt is poured on snow and ice to melt it so people don’t slip. But it makes kind of an ugly mess on shoes that will not dissolve when wiped with a rag dipped in plain water. The way to remove these stains is to dip a cotton ball or Q-tip in vinegar and then to wipe the spot clean. Q-tips are nice because you can get down into the cracks where the sole meets the shoe. Cotton balls are nice for the top where they provide more coverage.
A product that works really well for leather is Horseman’s One Step. It is marketed to riders who use it on tack. It cleans and conditions at the same time, a necessity when leathers are out in the weather, getting wet and dirty. Pure oils make leather slippery and are really unnecessary more than once or twice a year. Lexol is good too, but it doesn’t clean unless you buy the cleaner separately. One Step does both. I used to clean dozens of saddles and bridles daily and One Step was my favorite. I highly recommend it. And I did not get paid to say this. I wish! After cleaning your shoes of salt, a quick swipe with the One Step makes the leather clean and supple again, ready to head out into wet, winter weather.
I’m learning how to be. I’m seem always to be failing at it. Maybe I need to change my standards. I don’t know.
Last night was infiinitely better than yesterday. I finally opened my mouth to the man I love and once we started speaking, things were better. I find it odd to have roles reversed for me in this relationship. In the past I was the one prodding and speaking and working to make the other say something. I have now become the one who clams up. Weird, this.
We cleaned the house and decorated for Christmas last night. Then we wrapped too many gifts. The gifts are small, but we have quite a few of them to hand out so there was a lot to wrap. It’s satisfying that it is done.
Portland is buried in snow. The city does nothing when it snows like this. I find it completely frustrating. I just left Boulder, Colorado, where it snows like this all the time. The city plows the roads, puts down gravel, and gets on with it. Portland just turns stupid. We went to the mall today with a friend. While there a customer service person at Ross accosted us upon walking in the door, WE’RE CLOSING! We’re closing in TWO MINUTES!! He was frantic. This was four hours before the store was scheduled to close. God forbid anyone is open past dark. None of the stores salt or gravel their walks. It’s slick, but not unmanageable. I don’t get it. People keep saying it is because no one here is used to it. I say that argument is bunk. People are from everywhere these days. We drive in rain in Oregon; we can drive in snow if we so desire. It would help a lot if the city actually did something productive like scrape and sand more roads, but to stop everything is ridiculous. We did not even get mail today.
I have a wretched bladder infection. Can you believe tha when I called my doctor. The office was closed…of course, it’s snowing! Who goes to the doctor in the snow? Foolish me to expect otherwise. So the message at the office claimed it would forward me to the answering service. Guess what? The answering service never answered. I called and called. No answer. I guess it’s too hard to answer the phone in the snow too. Let’s hope it isn’t true that the climate is changing so drastically that snow will be a norm here. If so, Portland might disappear considering no one can function when it snows here.
So today we are comfortably ensconced in our warm house. I am grateful for the warmth in our home. We are packing and getting ready for our big trip across country. I’m kind of scared, but excited too. It’s a big step. I hope our apartment works out. It’s big by apartment standards, but so small in many ways. The kitchen is wretchedly small. There isn’t even a counter. We’re going to have to create our own. Anyway, it feels better when I consider the prospect with Boyfriend, but I’m still sort of freaking out about fitting it all in and wanting to get the goods at Ikea to make it all fit. We don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around. Certain things simply will not work without Ikea to help us. Yikes. We’ll work it out. I will definitely be glad when we are on the other side of the move and have actually had to do it rather than just think about it. Soon enough. For now, Christmas awaits. Santa is coming to see Milla. The tree is up. Snow is falling. It should be lovely.
We Need to Help Haiti
Imagine Katrina hitting New Orleans not once, not twice, or even three times. Imagine just as one storm flits away, people are dying and starving, levies are bursting, the city is in utter chaos. Then it gets hit again, and again, and again. This is the situation facing Haiti today, and Haiti has even fewer resources and options than New Orleans did when it was hit by Katrina.
We are not hearing enough about Haiti, and what we are hearing only skims the surface of what needs to be discussed. Haiti has been bombarded by storms, several in just the last few weeks. The country has been so deforested in the last five decades that there are no root systems to hold the ground together. Water sits on the soil creating a muddy disaster area. There is no ground in which to grow crops, there are virtually no trees, there is no fuel to heat or cook with, the country is nearly under water, and its cities are cut off from the rest of the world. We need to help, not just the problem today, but the global problems the country faces.
Immediately, people are suffering. They need food, clothes, and shelter from the elements. Then we need to help them with their long term problems. The country needs to be properly reforested. There needs to be an alternative fuel plan so citizens do not have to continue using the remaining forests as a fuel source. Food security needs to be created and developed by addressing unfair trade practices and creating jobs.
For more information on this global problem, see this article in Wikipedia and another that gives some detail on the complexity of Haiti’s problems.
Love and Pointlessness
I just put my daughter on a plane bound for Colorado. As I sat there in the airport, I looked out the window at the plane, watched as the ramp to the door was pulled back, saw the door close to the luggage hold, gazed upon the trucks that delivered the luggage pulled away. Everyone moved away from the plane as it readied to leave except for the truck that pushed it backwards out onto the runway to taxi off into the distance. I thought to myself, how weird it is that I’m sending my child, the love of my life off into the sky. Soon she will be miles above the earth and I am not even slightly afraid. How odd it is that we place ourselves in the sky like that. How bizarre that we transport ourselves, airborne. And I was not afraid.
I wondered whether I would have a premonition if the flight were in danger. If I ever strongly felt such a premonition I would not allow my child to fly. I would believe myself. But I wondered, sitting there, whether I would have such knowledge to honor. Odd thoughts these.
My brother commented on my blog on him. I reread what I wrote and as I did tears came. I read Derek’s comments and felt sad. That boy I love so much who I suppose isn’t a boy. He wants to do better. I genuinely believe that. But sometimes I think he does not think himself capable. I’m trying to teach him about living in the moment. I’m trying to show him that concerns about the future that keep him awake keep him from enjoying where his is right now. So much of his life is worry about what will be or self-loathing at what has been. He laments his luck and I want to show him that so much of it isn’t luck, but choices. I want him to see that he can make different choices and perhaps end up with a different result. It seems so clear to me, yet so murky to him.
He came to me last night and said that Sarah read my blog and said I called her dumb. I knew the moment that he said it that it was true. I remember writing it and thinking she would never read my words. But she did and I am sorry. I did not want to hurt her. I want to be honest, but I don’t want to hurt anyone. I do not know how to reconcile that. I think if my parents read the story of Derek, they might see my version of them as a criticism. I suppose in some ways it is there. My judgment. Is it possible to observe and report without judgment? I do not know how to do that. I have my opinions, my observations. Whether or not they are accurate or fact isn’t always possible to ascertain. Perhaps there is a bit of truth and fiction in them.
Also a couple of days ago I wrote about Valentine’s Day. I said that my blog friend admired my blog for its lack of a point. I read him wrong. He did not mean that, but the opposite. He wrote to me and quoted what he said again. He was right. He did not say I have no point. Perhaps it was easier for me to accept that version of reality because it is what I already believed to be true. So often I get started, type like mad as the words flow effortlessly from my brain, then arrive somewhere unsure how to conclude. In that, I find my lack of a point. Perhaps it is there, but in my inability to conclude in a tight and concise manner, I ascertained a pointlessness. His observation of my mistake made me laugh. He was right. How quickly we assume we know something when we bring our own prejudices to it.
So here I am again at the end wondering how to conclude neatly and cannot do it. All the previous words flowed from my fingers. Now my fingers stutter. I type a sentence, then pause. Type another, then pause. How to end this? I suppose it’s easy. I need to go clean my daughter’s room and while she is gone, send stuff away she never plays with. Plus I need to build drawers under her closet and attempt to put part of the window back together. Oh, and paint. Lot’s of paint. So that is how I will sign off, by begging off because I have to go and work while it is still light, moderately sunny, and I feel the desire. There is something in the sun that makes me want to work. So I will.
Tales of a Grumpy Mailman
My mailman is grumpy. He’s the grumpiest thing ever. I have no idea what bug crawled up his butt, but it has set up residence there and makes Mr. Mailman the grumpiest mailman I’ve ever encountered. I say hi to Grumpy Mailman, he looks at me like he wants to hit me. Maybe he does. He is a mailman after all, and mail carriers are notoriously grumpy, what with shooting up post offices and all that. It’s people like him who gave us the expression, Going postal.
He seems to have a particular problem with my mailbox. It is a new style mailbox. I got it to replace the old style one I had previously. You know, the kind that is a piece of metal bent over into a half circle, flat on the bottom, with a door that has a little handle, and a red flag. My mailman had well, issues, with my mailbox. He could not seem to close the door. I am not sure exactly why, but more often than not, I would go to check my mail and there it would be, door hanging open, mail available for anyone to look at. It was near the street and under a tree. I live in Oregon. It is wet in Oregon. So having my mailbox open under a tree in Oregon meant that even when it stopped raining, the tree continued to drip steadily into my mailbox. And anyone who is paying even slight attention knows that identity thieves love stealing mail.
I wrote a nice note. Dear Mail Person, I wrote. Would you please be sure to close the door of my mailbox? Otherwise my mail gets all wet. Thank you. That’s polite, isn’t it? I called the carrier a “person” and not a “man” (I wasn’t sure of the gender at this point). I said please. I said thank you. What more could one want?
Something else apparently because Grumpy Mail Person did not stop leaving the door open. He also kept leaving the flag up, even after taking the mail. I’d wait and wait for the mail to arrive, assuming it hadn’t because the flag was up. Then I would realize the door was open so there was no way the carrier had not been there. My mail would be inside, damp.
So I decided to go and get another mailbox. I bought a locking mailbox. It is black and kind of historic-looking to match my bungalow. It has a bronze top that makes it look like it’s old. There is a slot that is about 2 inches by 14 inches. I tested the slot to see if it was big enough for magazines and whatnot to slip through. Easy! I was so excited about my new mailbox. I installed it and waited for the mail to come.
It did. It was mangled and torn and the lid to the mailbox was left wide open.
Consternated, I examined the mail in an effort to determine what had gone wrong. It appeared the mailman had folded all the large mail in half. This created quite a large wad of mail, not easily inserted into the slot. This made little sense. Why fold it? I laid it out as originally designed and it inserted right through the slot in the mailbox. No problem. And why had he not closed the lid? Hmmmmm…
Over the next several weeks, my mail was destroyed more frequently than not. Because of the mailbox shape, when the lid was open, it filled with water. This left the mail in a drenched sopping mess. Then one day I received a certificate from the bar association for some pro bono work I had done. Clearly printed in large letters across the envelope were the words DO NOT FOLD. It was folded in half, the crease permanently embedded in the gold-embossed letters of the certificate.
Consternated, I called my mom. My mom is a rural postal carrier. She has worked for the post office for over twenty years. I told her about my mail troubles. She said that if mail did not fit then they were to fold it.
“But it fits!” I told her. “In fact it fits BETTER if it’s not folded in half!”
“Well then you need to call your postmaster,” she told me. “Your postmaster needs to know what is going on because that isn’t called for.”
Have you ever tried to call the local postmaster at a local post office? Have you? Try it. Go to your phone book and look up your post office. Right. See that? See that 1-800 number listed for EVERY SINGLE post office in your area? Do you know what that means? It means that you don’t get a local post office when you call. It means you get the central 1-800 number. It means you get to listen to post office advertising about how great it is to send packages via the US Postal Service. It means you get to listen to some really fantastic music while you wait for a human. I finally connected with the human. She took my story. She gave me some identification number. She told me my local post office would call me back real soon. She apologized for the trouble. Hey, I just want my mail flat and dry. Is that too much to ask?
A couple of days later, the local post master called. He was grumpy. I began to get an inkling that grumpiness and this post office went hand in hand. First he spent about 20 minutes trying to convince me that my mailbox was not post office approved. It was. It had said so right on the box. He asked where I got it. I told him. He said that place sometimes sold not approved mailboxes. I told him that this one was approved. He then said that older mailboxes that had been in stores a while ago and were approved then weren’t always approved now. I told him I had just purchased it the month before. He told me it still didn’t sound like it was right. Finally I asked him if he had spoken to my postal carrier and determined the box was not post office approved. He told me he had not. Then I asked him to hold on a sec. I used my mobile phone and called my mom and asked her. She had seen my new mailbox. She said it was post office approved. I got back on with the postmaster and told him that my mom was a carrier and that she had seen it and that it was approved. He finally let that go. Then he informed me that the carriers were required to fold mail in half.
“That’s crazy,” I told him, “Especially when the mail says right on it ‘DO NOT FOLD.'”
“Well that’s what I tell them,” he informed me. “It’s our policy.”
Well then you need another policy because my mail is getting ruined and it fits just fine without being folded in half. Incidentally, I asked my mom after this conversation if she was supposed to fold all mail in half and her postmaster is just the opposite. They aren’t allowed to fold anything unless it absolutely will not go in any other way. However, I was not privy to this information at the time of this phone call. And I was getting frustrated.
“You know,” I told the postmaster, “I’m getting really frustrated here. My mail is getting ruined. I had to buy a new mailbox because my carrier kept leaving the other one open and I was worried about mail theft, not to mention the fact that my mail was sopping wet 90 percent of the time. Now you just spent ten minutes trying to convince me my mailbox is the problem, and now you’re telling me all my mail has to be folded in half when it makes no sense to do so. Do you have a boss I can talk to because I seem to be getting no where with you.” The postmaster’s tone changed after that. He said he would talk to the carrier and make sure my mailbox was closed and my mail not ruined. I thanked him and hung up.
Over the weeks, not much changed except my mailbox was closed more often than not. It was still left open sometimes, but not as much as it had been. Then the weather improved and I didn’t notice when it was open because the mail did not get all wet. I kept trying to be friendly to my carrier when I saw him even though he frowned at me when I said hello. I gave him a Christmas gift three years in a row. I figured he needed some happiness with that grumpy postmaster of his. The two of them were like two peas in a pod. I would occasionally ask my mother about it, but she kept going on and on about how different city carriers were from rural carriers and how the post office was getting to be such an unpleasant place to work and on and on. I finally quit bringing it up because I didn’t want to hear about it anymore.
This fall, it started getting bad again. In an effort to avoid a call to the postmaster or the 1-800 number, I wrote out a nice note on an index card, put it in a ziplock bag, and taped it to the top of my mailbox. It said: Please do not fold my mail. Also please close the mailbox lid because leaving it open makes my mail wet. This seemed to work. The mail fit perfectly, it was dry, everything was wonderful.
Then about a week before Christmas, I went out to discover the mailbox lid wide open. Now, I don’t know if you are aware, but this has been one of the wettest years I can remember in Oregon and this day had been one of those rainy days where the drops are a half an inch across and soak everything. In the mailbox, my two bills and two Christmas cards were so wet, the letters on the cards were unreadable. I took them in the house. They dripped, literally dripped on the rugs! One of the cards held photos. They were destroyed.
That did it. I was mad. I had maintained some semblance of cool for years while my grumpy mailman went about his shitty day ruining my mail and acting like I was the asshole for bringing it up. I went online and found the US Postal Service website. It had a place for comments. It did not have a place for complaints. I went to the place for comments. I said in the subject, I do not have a comment, I have a complaint. I described what had happened to my mail. I told them that the lid on the mailbox worked perfectly, that it wasn’t rusty, that it closed easily. I then stated I had spoken to the local postmaster before and he had not been very helpful and so I was writing this message to whoever got the comments from the website.
Three weeks later I received an email response. It informed me that my message had been forwarded to the local office and I would be receiving a call within 24 hours. A week later, I had not received a call. I replied to the email. I told them I had received no call in 24 or 48 or even 72 hours, that it had been a week and that I had gotten no call.
The next day I was not home but my brother was here. He said the post office called and would talk to the carrier about my complaint. Good. I was glad. I had not had to speak to grumpy postmaster, but someone had the message.
Two days later, my mailbox was wide open. The mail inside was a sopping ball of paper. Literally, a ball. I removed the mass and held it, dumbfounded. I decided I would drive it to the post office and show the postmaster. And that is what I did. I went to the post office. I waited in the very long line. I approached the counter person (who was VERY nice by the way. All the counter people were. Maybe grumpy postmaster doesn’t affect them very much.) and showed them my mail lump.
“This is how my mail was in my box,” I said. “I have called before, but it doesn’t seem to help. So I thought maybe the person in charge could SEE what I am talking about.”
The counter person looked appalled. “This is how the mail was in your mailbox?” he asked incredulously? “Yes. Exactly. I took it out and brought it in just as it was in the mailbox.”
He went into the back. He was gone several minutes. When he returned, he was carrying a camera. “Can I take this and photograph it?” Of course. So he did. He told me he would show the postmaster. He took down my name and address. I left.
It has been about a month since I did that. My mail has been flat. My mailbox has been closed. My brother went out one day to try and retrieve his mail directly from the mailman because he was here and could do so. My brother said the mailman snarled at him and would not give him the mail. So Derek came in and got the key and got the mail. Seems none of this has made the mailman any less grumpy.
Just now, before I wrote this, I was sitting here working on my book. I saw the mailman out my window. He was walking along carrying the mail. He had a grumpy look on his face. He does not seem very happy. I don’t think he likes his job. I don’t believe he left my mailbox open out of spite, I just don’t think he pays attention. For whatever reason he is caught up in his own grumpiness and pain. It’s too bad. Today is actually sort of pretty. The sun wants to come out, though the clouds are winning. He’s wasting every minute he goes grumbling around. I hope he finds what will make him happy, whether it’s becoming something other than a carrier or learning to enjoy what he does. In any case, I just want him to close my mailbox.
An Exhortation to Umbrella Manufacturers–COLOR!!
I don’t have an umbrella. I used to have one, a really nice one. But over time it must have worn out because one day, the button to open it stopped working. Then on another it turned inside out in the wind and came detached from the metal skeleton giving it its shape. I have not been able to find another one that I like. I do not want to get a long umbrella, even though those kind provide a great deal of coverage. But lugging one around…Ugh! I want a pocket umbrella, the kind that folds up nicely. Only I could not find one that wasn’t just boring black or navy blue. I have kept looking; not actively looking, but noticing whenever I’ve seen umbrellas for sale. I haven’t found one I like and don’t have one. Here it is January in one of the wettest years I can remember, and I’ve slugged it out in a hat, keeping my collar up and often wearing a scarf and a hoodie.
Then yesterday, I was reading Willamette Week, a weekly paper here in Portland, and saw an article about Portlanders who refuse to use umbrellas. The author postulates that us non-umbrella Portlanders carry no umbrella out of some anti-umbrella solidarity and animosity towards this wet protection device. We are from Oregon! We do not need an umbrella! We will wear our hoodies as a testament to our city! He then encourages us to give up this foolish non-umbrella obsession and go get one, for Christ’s sake. We are even provided with a list of local retailers selling umbrellas for reasonable prices. How convenient and thoughtful!
I am here to tell the author of that article that he misses the point on the lack of umbrellas in Oregon. It isn’t that we take some bizarre pride in going it wet. Not at all! We just live in a grey, dismal, rainy place. It is grey here like 10 months out of the year. We don’t want to go hiking through the grey carrying a boring black or navy umbrella. We want color! But we don’t want to have to carry around some three and a half foot long sword to get it. I mean, I know fencing is popular here, but we don’t go around screeching “En Garde!” and poking our neighbors. Instead of exhorting Portlanders to stop their maniacal unwillingness to use umbrellas, he should be urging umbrella manufacturers to make prettier umbrellas! And of course, they have to be affordable. I saw this fantastic colorful orange and yellow pocket umbrella in NW Portland. Sixty dollars. Sixty dollars! Are they f-ing kidding me? I may as well carry around sixty dollars and toss it on the ground because umbrellas get lost. It’s a fact. I’m not paying sixty dollars for an umbrella, no matter how cute it is.
So since the author missed his chance in his article to tell the umbrella manufacturers to make affordable color umbrellas, let me take this opportunity. Please. I promise Portlanders will use umbrellas if you follow these three simple guidelines: Affordable, folds to go in a purse or pocket, and COLORFUL!! This last is the most important.
When There is Nothing Left, Maybe We’ll Figure Out We Can’t Eat Money
I hope all the naysayers out there who want to claim climate change isn’t happening are the first ones to drown when sea levels rise. Don’t try and tell me bees spontaneously die off en masse every few thousand centuries or that “random” changes occur up and down, and we’re just in an “up” period. There is nothing random about what we are experiencing. It’s just too fast.
When I was a child, the state I grew up in had predictable weather patterns, patterns that had held since the state became a state in the mid-1800’s (and probably for centuries before white man came along and took notice). Ten years before Al Gore was trying to convince us that the world is getting warmer, I noticed the patterns changing where I live. Again, it’s just too fast.
Go ahead, you who want to claim science is wrong. Keep doing things the way they have been done. You can choke on your money as you drown in the rising oceans and burn in the unprotected atmosphere. Good luck to you. Maybe the planet will have a small chance at survival if all of you are bones at the bottom of the sea. Those of us who are left can work to live in harmony with what is left of the planet after you’ve finished raping and pillaging and finally drowning in it.