Our vacation has come to an end, and we have returned home. I am struck by the differences between Portland and Reno. The one, liberal, busy, green, so green in fact that they have legalized recreational marijuana use. So liberal that when the law passed it gave the papers something to talk about but did very little to change anyone’s day to day life; they were already all smoking it if they wanted to, and not smoking it if they didn’t want to. The collective heavens did not rain down either Federal Agents or extra green rainbows with leprechauns at the end of them holding pots of weed.
In Portland one thing I noticed was the dedication of many restaurant employees to their jobs. For those in the back of the house, it is a good job, or better yet, a pathway to learning the skills that could set one apart in time as a master chef. For the front of the house it seems busy and very profitable. The servers are frenetic and proud of themselves for their trendy jobs. I think they do well and are proud to be working in an exciting trade in a town that takes its restaurants seriously. Breweries abound, and I had fun searching out IPAs. In Portland I could try a different IPA on every street corner. There were fresh bottles of beers with names like Breakside and Galactic, brewed in town, sold at the grocery, endless to choose from. These were not distinct for overwhelming the palate with hops or the head with alcohol. Rather, they were distinctive for flavor and the enjoyment of a refreshing beverage. It gave me a renewed appreciation of our own Hopstorm IPA, brewed fresh in house, and the people who come to drink it. We need more breweries. Good ones.
Portland was also distinct for its politics. Obama had a good beginning to his summer, but it was still shocking to be in a place where he enjoys popular support. It was refreshing, after the hatred and invective that is spewed about in this much more conservative city. Seeing two sets of people, only ten hours drive apart, who have such differing opinions, it is possible to say that they are both right, and both wrong, and that, once again, only time will tell how the country is doing, not the town crier. For my money, it’s still the hardest job out there, and I’m just glad there’s someone willing to do it.
Finally, the man-bun. This has become a popular style in Portland, and my sister spent much of our trip pointing out and poking fun at the hipsters of Portland. This is a hairstyle that benefits me in many ways. My hair is getting so long that it interferes in every aspect of daily life, but I don’t want to cut it. Leaving it loose is impossible at work, and I am tired of the ponytail. Putting it up in a bun gets it off my neck and shoulders, keeps it out of the drinks, and makes it easier to control and keep untangled. Plus, it makes me look like a pirate. However, yesterday I went around Reno wearing it and felt the stares coming my way, from men with military haircuts and their kids with military haircuts. Our place of employment is filled with youngsters, and when I wear it in a bun to work tonight I’m sure I will immediately be a subject of conversation. I hope they will be proud of me for trying this new style. At the same time, it is guaranteed that I will take a bunch of crap for it, both from our guests and my coworkers. I will feel the stares all night long. I guess I’ll just tell them to relax, fly up to PDX, and burn one.