Friday, June 22, 2012

And now, a pause for Contemplation

It's a weird day. I'm not feeling well again. The weather is cloudy but not raining like it promised. And the job market is pretty dried up this week. All of this leaves me feeling fatigued, but not downtrodden. That contributes more to the weird day than all the funky circumstances. I've spent the day moseying through job searches, perusing garage sales, drinking tea and eating toast with Strawberry Rhubarb jam. Not super productive, but it feels nice, especially considering how active my week has been. I went on two group bike rides to celebrate Critical Mass/Pedalpalooza. The first was a Portlandia bike tour and the second was a zine bike tour. The Portlandia bike tour was about 40-50 people, a lot of whom were bike enthusiasts. There was a positive energy and lots of bell-ringing, shouting of Portlandia quotes, and exchanging of quips with passers-by. Everyone in Portland associates Critical Mass, exclusively with the World Bike Naked Ride that happened last Sunday evening. I'm guessing you probably can infer what the World Bike Naked Ride entails. Anyway, on both of our rides we got a lot hollers about why we weren't naked or shouldn't we be taking our clothes off. Each time one person from the ride would ask why the holler-er wasn't naked. I figured they had a point. From where I come from, riding a bike, even in a group setting doesn't automatically mean you're itching to do it naked. In fact, I wouldn't be so afraid of the World Bike Naked Ride, except for biking naked sounds quite painful. I'll be keeping my clothes on, thank you, and not because I'm shy about my body, but because I want to keep all my tender bits in tact. Once again, I digress. The Portlandia ride was rowdy and raucous-- a festive mood to be sure. The Zinester's Ride was a little different. These people are passionate about radical culture, do-it-yourself, and self-publishing. It was a smaller group of riders (about 10-15) and they were very warm and welcoming. As some of you may know, this blog is simply serving as a stand-in until I complete my zine. I have one zine that I am writing about my move to Portland and two ideas for zines that I haven't started (one about pole dancing and one about relationships between sisters). I am intimidated, however, by the process of actually self-publishing. Writing I can do; publishing, even if it is just cut-and-paste with a copy machine, feels like a whole other animal. I was able to learn about the many businesses that support zines and, most pertinent to me, the Independent Publisher's Resource Center (IPRC) that resides in Southeast Portland. Along the way, as we stopped at these venues, one of the participants would read from their zine or talk about the certificate program they were completing at the IPRC. They were a tight-knit group, who also readily welcomed outside enthusiasts crashing their party (like me). I felt very at home. In fact, one of the women who was on the ride spoke with me at length about where she was from and having lived in San Fransisco (another city I would like to live in, that's how we started talking). She mentioned that she never felt like the Bay Area was home and Portland did. I said "You know, the weirdest thing for me is that I've been here two weeks and I'm settling in. I'm already settled. I'm invested in living here no matter what and I don't even have a house or a job yet." She agreed, saying that before she and her husband even had a permanent residence in Portland and were couch-crashing at a friend's, they knew that this was their home. That's Portland. You just try it on and find that it fits perfectly. Living in Portland reminds me of when I was in college. Every lifestyle is welcome and people are passionate. I've never found more adults in one place who whole-heartedly believe in the lifestyle they are living, whether that's alternative or mainstream. And you can find your niche for either lifestyle effortlessly, just like in college. Free newspapers, forums, posters plastered all over the telephone poles in the city-- all of these resources provide endless amounts of "stuff-to-do." Portland is just easy. Everything is easy here, from riding your bike, to learning public transportation, to drinking beer on a budget, and making new friends. My song of choice for contemplation: Monogold- Dead Sea Minerals Irrelevant, yet juicy side note: On the zine ride, I met someone I really like. Two weeks in Portland and I've already developed a crush. Goodness, what's the matter with me? I think I will be seeing her on Saturday when I go to the AmaZine event at the IPRC. We'll see what comes of it!

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