Nov 11, 2009

What Happens In Portland, Stays in Portland

Yesterday in my ramblings on CHICKEN FRIED STEAK I made a small, subtle, hardly noticeable reference to this thing I did that was slightly out of character.

Let's back up a bit. Before Bev and I went into the cafe for our breakfast, we'd been walking around looking for flower shops. In the rain.

Wait, that doesn't quite capture what I want to say. Let me try again.

We'd been walking around, in the RAIN.

THE RAIN

THE RAIIIIIIN!!!!

Seriously, does Portland ever know how to rain. I thought Vancouver in the winter was bad, but it ain't nothing compared to here. It's just all the time. And hard. And all the time. And what enhances the effect of wetness the rain has on everything are the leaves. There are these beautiful deciduous trees lining every street that are all yellow and red and pretty. The leaves are falling, as they tend to do. They're coating the sidewalks and the streets, making everything slick (Melissa, DO NOT come here. You will die). They are clogging the drains, turning every street corner into a little mucky pond.

Water falls on you from above. Water ambushes you from below. You're not safe. And you're certainly not dry.

To protect myself from this wetness I had my North Face jacket. I bought it six years ago in Shanghai for $26 from a street vendor.  I can't really blame the jacket for it's lack of water proof-ness, being so old and cheap, and probably not really from North Face. This jacket doesn't so much repel water as absorb it quickly and efficiently. Whatever my jacket is made of, they should put in tampons.

Once in the safe and dry cafe I took my jacket off and my blue t-shirt was soaked in the most embarrassing of patterns. Along with sopping shoulders and arms, there were two large wet circles right around my boobs. It looked like I had an uncontrollable lactating problem.

So, this is my context to explain my actions. We're sitting at the counter of this diner, eating the best and most fatty meal possible for breakfast. I'm soaking wet from the monsoon that continues outside, with my shirt that screams unclean breastfeeding mother and puddles actually inside my shoes. I think I would have been drier if I'd swam a few laps wearing a two wool sweaters and sponge pants. I turn to our waitress and say...

wait for it...

"Is there a mall around here?"

There is a sickening thud as Bev's jaw hits the floor. "Did you just ask for a mall?"

It was an honest question on her part. I hate shopping. Loath it. I hate stores, I hate change rooms, I hate mannequins. I hate shoppers. And I really, above all else, hate malls. My friends know this. They have long ago abandoned suggesting shopping as a social activity.

So to hear me ask a stranger for directions to one was probably equivalent to the shock of me suddenly speaking in tongues while convulsing and snakes slithered in and out of my shirt sleeves.

In my defense, I was more thinking of a safe, dry place to buy a new and obviously needed rain jacket. We'd be in and out. No problem.

I blame my fear of the weather as what kept me in that mall for so long. That and Bev with her unhelpful "Oh, this is cute." And "Why don't you try this?" and "I don't mind waiting. Take your time."

I was looking at these really swell waterproof shells in Eddie Bauer, and the sales lady suggested I try it on with a sweater to make sure one would fit underneath. So I grab the closest sweater and it's this really soft fleece...yeah, so I bought both.

And then the Gap was having this really good sale. I mean, 25% off of everything. How can you beat that? Plus the fact that Oregon has no tax. A concept that leaves Canadian heads spinning. 25% PLUS no tax is like 40%, which is damn close to half off, which is practically free. I had to buy EVERYTHING.

My feet stayed soaked all day, which got me thinking maybe a pair of boots were in order. I mentioned to Bev that we could check out one of those outlet malls that line American highways and she looked like she wanted to slap me. Hard. Across the face. Probably to dislodge the shopping demon that had hijacked my body. She stays her hand and instead asks, "Who are you and what have you done with Sarah?"

Hey, if god didn't want us to be in debt, he wouldn't have invented credit. Right?

I probably shouldn't mention that we went shopping the next day and I bought even more clothes.  And I liked it. That's right. I went shopping - twice - and enjoyed every minute of it.

WHO AM I????

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