Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Crazies

I have met many, many strange people in my time on the road.

For full effect, download “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

In my three years of being an academic talking head, I have never had a good taste in my mouth for the city of Portland, Oregon. Maybe it’s the bad taste still left in my mouth from a combination of maple bacon bars and rotten sushi. Yeah, you read that right. I was poisoned by a bad batch of donuts and not-so-fresh fish that totally ended my streak of being “vomit free since ’93”.   

For the longest time I have hated Portland more than I have hated okra. And after a miserable plane ride surrounded by a group of drunk Texans, I think I discovered the ultimate reason why I have had such a harsh dislike for this city.

Cue entrance stage left by a ridiculous amount of strange people.

I have met some crazies in my time up here in the Pacific Northwest. People who would make you wonder why they’re not wearing a straitjacket while being chased by fat men in white suits holding butterfly nets. Yes in the few short weekends I have spent up in the place my boss holds to be his own Mecca, I have seen them all. I have been surrounded by the Crazies.

Take for instance the lazy-eyed Grandma crocheting a cape at a college fair who once told me her Alma Mater was one of two man-made objects seen from space and that I should, “stick that in your pipe and smoke it!”

Then there is the plump fellow standing outside Voodoo doughnuts, holding an extreme miniature kite in his hands like a golden treasure and being as easily entertained as a three-year old with undiagnosed A.D.D.

Or what about the nutcase standing next to me wearing a few pieces of stapled construction paper as a formal piece of headwear, and telling 8th graders they need to give up on their lifetime goal of becoming a civil engineer and look to pursue a much more reasonable career in scrapbooking.

I think the one who takes the cake in the category of crazies is the meathead who has a fetish for coconut pear soap and apple fritters. A man who can read sheet music and has no problem holding a beat, but questions his own sexuality if his body starts moving in a musical rhythm. This is a guy who lies to fortune tellers for pure entertainment and at one point in his life may or may not have gotten down on one knee and proposed to a sandwich.

Yeah, that donut munching, dance hater is yours truly. And he’s as weird as they come. 

You see I have met some nutcases while on the road, especially in my days up here in Portland. I’m talking about people you never want your future posterity to meet, but at the same time try and position your phone at an angle so you can take a picture of their weirdness without them even noticing. I wanted to mock them like nobody's business, but in the middle of writing this rant about fools I came to the harsh realization that we’re all a little bit crazy, aren’t we?

Like the girl who thinks it’s cool to skip down the street and say the word “flautist” in seven different languages.

Or the guy who needs to be intoxicated by fumes of hard apple cider to tell you that he once starred in the musical “Oklahoma”.

Or the girl who is missing her two front teeth and has a lifelong dream of opening up a Thai food restaurant/underground bookstore.

Or the nutcase who still thinks the Buffalo Bills are going to win the Super Bowl every year.

Those are some real creeps aren’t they? But then again, those are the people who got me through this weekend in a city lined with food-poisoned memories.


Yeah, I’ll take those nutcases any day of the week.

What do you think?

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