by cheri granola
I took my granddaughters to the newly named Oregon Zoo, formerly known as the Portland Zoo.
Aside from the fact that, unbeknownst to me, my homemade sandwich fell out of the backpack that I had strapped to my back like a sturdy mule, that the stroller (really a small padded chariot) I pushed weighed at least fifty pounds, and that the three Shave Ices we bought (for only 13.50) were the same sizes as the newly-born Australian piglets, the morning was joyous. Never mind that the 5-year-old dropped mine before I could plunge that straw down into that ice for a refreshing burst of pure sugar–and did I tell you that the Portland metro is having a major heat wave?
So glad for my newly minted muscles, but so disappointed that my healthy sandwich lies somewhere between the California Condor and penguin exhibits.
The Oregon Zoo, as you might imagine, is hilly. Down into the riparian forest exhibit and up to the giraffe enclosure. Down to see the bears; up to see the primates. In the 95 degree heat, many grandparents and even parents and even kids, plodded up and down like prisoners on a death march. But still, people in Portland seem way more laid back than we Californians, who are all wound up like lemurs wearing huge watches, our eyes strained, our necks tense, our feet hot and humid in closed shoes.
Portlandians, especially the women, don’t seem as concerned about their appearance. Please understand what I am about to say. I’ll make the point by way of personal comparison. And please, do not comment that my daily make-up and hair routine is my choice (which it is).
Oregon women seem very OK with themselves. Either that, or they don’t care. Or, they’ve given up. I prefer the first statement. They have not drunk the Kool Aid. Make-up, eye-liner, mascara, rouge, lipstick–I don’t see that many women wearing this stuff. Cute sandals, albeit uncomfortable ones, do not make too many appearances either; rather, Birkenstocks, with their deep-dish pie effect, seem to be on every foot. Seeing all these feet can be a plus or a minus.
I, on the other hand, start off my day by putting on lipstick before I have my coffee.I’ve never gone out of the house, except one time to Urgent Care, without mascara, blush, and eye-liner. I wear cute sandals, even if they are not that comfortable. I’m sure many of you are now judging me. That’s OK, it’s cool. We are in Portland.
People in Portland seem nicer than Californians. Why, a young guy waiting for his wife and daughter to exit the bathroom stopped me to tell me my backpack was unzipped. It’s clear how that sandwich fell out. Out in the parking lot, a young woman getting her own children into the car complemented me on my one-shot hoist of the chariot into the trunk of my son’s car.
“You remind me of my mom, ” she cooed.
I thought, “This would never happen in the Bay Area.”
We got back onto the freeway, where people actually drive the speed limit in their Birkenstocks.