Monday, October 29, 2007
Those First Tentative Forays

Over the weekend, looking for something interesting to do, I took a trip to a massive Asian supermarket on the east side of town. This Asian grocery is so big they had a Mexican food aisle -- I swear to god.

Anyway, I found myself most captivated by the snack food aisle. If you want insight into a culture, check out what they eat when they don't feel like thinking about it much. Particularly I found myself hovering around the candy section -- not because it was in any way tempting or appetizing, but because it was singularly mysterious. At least half of the selection came packaged in plastic bags bearing only asian writing, the candy itself sealed insight opaque wrappers. The other half I doubt was actually candy at all. I've always been under the impression that most asian cultures don't really do sweets, and you can tell by looking at what they've decided counts as confectionery, that they haven't really mastered the art form yet.

I mean, dried shrimp isn't fucking candy. You can eat it if you want, but don't put it on the candy aisle, because it isn't. It's just not.

It gave me some really mean ideas for Halloween, though. To hell with Palmer's crap chocolate-flavored-paste in a foil wrapper printed with an eyeball -- that's not scary at all. You want to freak out a trick-or-treater? Toss 'em some squid balls, sesame cakes and crystallized ginger. I'd do it just to see their cute, chubby little faces look up at me, their little chins wobbling, their expressions silently asking me, "why?"

And then yesterday I went to the Hollywood Theater and was officially oriented as a volunteer. My plans go somewhat beyond the volunteer level, but I'll bide my time and slowly ingratiate myself before moving on to Phase II. The Hollywood, and it's umbrella organization, Film Action Oregon, are very much what the MeDiA Co-op in Memphis originally set out to be, except with funding and broad-based community support and stuff like that. It's amazing what people can accomplish when people actually give a shit.

But the guys there were incredibly friendly and welcoming, are obviously enthusiastic about what they're doing, and want to engage others. As much of a hipster enclave as Portland is always said to be, I haven't felt much of the territoriality that I usually get from the cool kids -- the great majority of the people I've met here have been completely open. Everybody here seems to be doing something that's important to them, and they really want to talk about it.

A month in, and I'm completely in love with this city. I do love and miss Memphis. But it's so astonishing to see people doing the kinds of things my friends in Memphis were trying to do, but being encouraged instead of ignored. I'm sure it's not always like that -- I'm sure Portland has plenty of failed bands, frustrated artists, and bitter former actors. But there's still an atmosphere of support -- that if you try something, and you don't completely suck, people will at least give you credit for the effort and encourage you to keep working. How refreshing is that?
7:37 PM ::
Amy :: permalink