Dear Uptight Seattleite,Why does everyone in this city love Portland, Oregon, so damn much? Everyone acts like I'm supposed to think that Portland is our cooler older brother whom I'm supposed to worship and want to be like, no matter what. I recently went to Portland solely for the purpose of enjoying its downtown, and was generally not impressed with what I experienced. Smokers everywhere, more street kids and dirty hippies than the Ave, and uppity and rude restaurant workers. I was talking to some friends who were gushing about the city, and when I told them I thought that Portland was the sphincter of the Northwest, their jaws nearly hit the floor. I know that every city has its problems, but Seattle is our home. What's the deal with our complex about Portland?Nipsey
Dear Nipsey,Did you know that Portland has a train system powered entirely by magnets and gravity? That its downtown is a no-car, leash-free meadow? That in place of the supermarkets driven out by a ban on chain stores, they have a network of cooperatively run farmers markets? And that pedaling silhouettes criss-cross the sky in elevated, glass-enclosed bikeways? Hamster tunnels, the locals affectionately call them. They're funded by a carbon tax levied against the city's suburbs.You may object that none of these things are true. Well, facts can be pret-ty slippery things. So-called "objective reality" has been extensively problematized. Besides, I think we need to get beyond the whole "who's right and who's wrong" mentality here and consider an issue altogether more tangential: the importance of aspirational models in the pursuit of positive change.Portland is the place we're reaching for. If we have nothing to reach for, our future-groping arms will atrophy. Depriving us of our Portland of the mind would mean nothing less than depriving us of our better selves. You don't want that, do you, Nipsey? I also don't want that for you. I don't want to be burdened by the thought of it burdening you. As you, if you think about it for a moment, surely won't want to be burdened by the thought of burdening me with the thought of it burdening you.Dear Uptight Seattleite,Well, I'm single again for Valentine's Day. Do you have any suggestions?Sick of Being Lonely Hearts Club Dame
Dear Dame,We are just so averse to stillness. Like when I went to an Inauguration party the other day. Owing to my reflective mood at the time, I didn't care to join the dancing at this party, but thought the admirably festive spirit of the dancers shouldn't pass without some expression of my approval. So I went to the center of the dance floor and struck a yoga pose of my own invention, the Half-Napping House Cat. It's a lounge-y kinda pose, part watchful and part playful. In other words, just perfect for the occasion. I just sort of hung there for a couple songs in my pose, which involves a lolling head and a sleepy cat's frozen grin. I was perfectly still and perfectly content. Later I heard some people at the party were apparently offended by my display. Imagine! Being offended by stillness!The point is, I too am single. And my suggestion to all other single people is to greet Valentine's Day with a spirit of defiance. Don't shrink from the red glow of its evil heart. No one needs you? So what! You need no one! Parade your goofy grin about town like a balloon on a string. Cultivate the swagger of a one-person submarine pilot. Now off to your quarters to down a stiff one while watching a Netflix DVD in your smoking jacket and feathered hat. Feel free to swap in whatever scenario makes you feel the most dashing and comfortable. Because good things happen when you loosen up a little.One particularly rough Valentine's Day, I'd actually put on three hats, and was holding my head at an angle to keep the topmost hat from falling off. When it finally did, there nestled inside it were my glasses, which I'd been looking for all day. A Valentine's Day gift from my head to me. Even if you're not quite as tuned-in as I to the possibilities tucked magically inside the mechanics of everyday life, I just bet this year's V-Day will bring you your own string of whimsical little victories.Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.