With all the popularity of the new show Portlandia, I figured I’d weigh in on my own tangential experience with the slacker city that’s perpetually stuck in the 90′s. Enter my friend Dave (hi Dave!). Dave and I met a Temple University and we quickly became buds through our mutual interest in jamming, dancing, philosophy and tactically planning free entries into frat parties. Besides his predisposition for tattered clothing, Dave was a well-adjusted, albeit unique college student.
But after graduation, Dave packed up his van (the same van I slept in one fateful weekend at his farm in Millsville) and moved out West. I never really heard much from him after that point. He had graduated with a degree in education but he didn’t seem to teaching anywhere. Our mutual friends had no information for me either. So, after a few months, I checked in on Dave’s often neglected Facebook profile. What I found explained everything for me in one, perfect image. Yes, it seemed Dave had taken residence in the city that always sleeps: Portland.
There he is, howling a la Ginsberg. A thousand images of rain dances, love festivals and crudely made grilled-cheese sandwiches danced through my head as I envisioned Dave’s journey to the heart of casual living. Nothing could prepare me, not even the entire first season of Portlandia, for the change that Dave had undergone. Though I’m certain Dave is the same old, awesome kid, his appearance, as evidenced by the comparison photo below, was somewhat jarring.
But in a cruel twist, I found myself somewhat envious of Dave. While I was waking up every morning and commuting and hour to work, Dave was probably watching the sunrise with a sherpa and exiled Arabian heir whilst drinking chai tea and contemplating metaphysics. While his decision to eschew modernity and societal expectations was probably not out of the norm out West, my eastern eyes were filled with wonder at his new found life.
I recently talked to Dave and he has since moved to San Francisco, which, if you believe MSNBC, is completely populated by homeless, teenage, white supremacists, though I’m pretty sure Dave has an actual house…I think.
Photo courtesy of Kyer Photography