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Category Archives: Portlandish Bits

Rolling Evangelists of Hair

Anyone who has happened across my blog, or me, will probably agree that I’m a little … different. Between my many foibles and my affinity for heights, my shy extrovertedness, my artistic geekiness, or that I’m a tall feminine lesbian, I may raise an eyebrow in passing. And yet I consider myself to be a member of “normal” society. I think we all are, in all our glorious uniquenesses.

But there is one thing about me that gets a little more (and thoroughly undeserved) attention than anything else: My hair.

imageIt’s a little long. Okay, it’s a whole lot of long. Nowhere near as long as my paternal grandmother’s, whose DNA I happily blame for this situation, but longer than most people expect to see walking down the sidewalks of Portland. As you can see from this faux-candid picture taken just now at a local Starbucks.

No, that’s not the backside of Cousin It.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the random attention it gets at times. I just wish I wasn’t so damn shy to make the best of it. Thankfully it’s only now and then, and not too creepy. Well … most of the time…

Most of the time it’s downright funny the reactions I get. I feel like I’m part of a social experiment, one devoted to the perceived miracle of long hair. I get called many things, most complimentary, often from a great distance at high volume, sometimes behind my back as if they don’t think I can hear.

Things I’ve heard so far . . .

  • Top pick: “How long have you been growing that hair?” (uhm, all my life)
  • (Yelled from a block away) “Rapunzel!” ( … eek!)
  • “Oh, you’re like Crystal Gayle,” (only taller! and blond! and not as talented!)
  • “I bet that takes a long time to wash/comb/brush” (yes, it truly does)
  • “Wow, it’s Venus de Milo” (seriously?)
  • “Are those extensions” (uhm, why?)
  • “Wow, that’s dedication right there…” (it is? oh, yes, of course it is…)
  • “That’s the longest hair I’ve EVER seen!” (where have you been?)
  • (drunkenly) “I just bet my friend your hair is real. Well, is it?” (go away)
  • “It’s lighter/whiter at the top” (that’s 7 years of hair, but thanks so much for pointing that out)
  • “Holy crap!/Oh my fucking god!!” (you okay?)
  • (from a guy) “You know, I could really get into that . . . ” (no. just … no)
  • “Don’t ever cut that hair, girl” (thanks for your support!)
  • “You could be that girl, the one on the white horse . . . ” (no, I’m not taking off my clothes for you)

Except for the last one, from a trio of men in a park–who I’m so glad didn’t follow me–most of the comments are very complimentary. Some even funny. I don’t have any tattoos (yet), so I don’t mind that my hair is a good conversation starter … even if it tends to stall after I smile sincerely and say, “thank you!” (and facepaw later when I think of the possible life friendship/soulmate I may have just missed out on).

For someone who has spent most of her life feeling invisible (my secret super power) it’s kind of nice getting a little random attention now and then, even if it is something as useless as hair follicles that grow out of my head–for free! Sometimes I feel a little guilty about this … I mean, people think I’m putting all this work into growing my hair long, when actually I’m just too lazy (and poor) to go get it cut and styled. So I let gravity do it for me.

That and it does feel kind of nice when it brushes against the tops of my calves when I walk. ~hehe~

Not all of the reactions I get are positive. This seems to be a universal fact of life as a human being: No matter what you do in life that makes you happy, there will always be someone to come along and try to take that away from you. Maybe it’s jealousy, or they don’t feel you’re worthy (which usually means they don’t think they deserve it, so why should you), or they’re just mean hateful assholes.

I met one of them today, in fact. I was walking down the street (actually I was on the sidewalk, a pedestrian can get killed on these streets) minding my own business, when a woman drives by in her car, slows down in the middle of traffic to yell out her window at me,

“Give your hair to a cancer patient!”

Now I totally agree that this would be a very sweet thing to do for someone in need, and there are quite a few people who would benefit from it. But when is it okay for you to make that decision for someone else? I mean I have a couple of very functional kidneys, a healthy liver, corneas like an eagle, a happily pumping heart and various appendages that would benefit quite a few people right now. I imagine you have a few of these things, too. But I’m not about to scream at everyone I see on the street to donate these things; nor am I lining up to have myself chopped into little bits either.

Perhaps she thinks hair has a lesser value than organs. Well, not to ME! It’s all part of my body; part of what makes me ME. This is not really up for discussion. My hair is a part of me. When unknown men (or women) ask if they can touch it, that’s not terribly different than asking a total stranger if you can touch their breast. Get to know me first, show me that I can trust you (and I know you wash your hands), then maybe we’ll see.

All this went through my mind (again) as this woman’s command echoed across traffic. I was about to let it go, knowing there is really no point in arguing with an idiot. But another part of me thought, maybe this woman has never had anyone tell her this was inappropriate behavior before. So … I quite childishly yelled back, “mind your own business!” and walked on.

Darned if she didn’t turn the corner, park her car across the street, get out and yell at me further, “It IS my business! God talked to me and told me so! Bitch!”

Oh, well. There you have it. This woman speaks for God. And God thinks I’m a bitch. And if she says so, then it must be true! I guess I’ve been told. ~giggle~

Crackpottery aside, I only wish instead of my initial response I had said what (of course) came to me 23 minutes later, when it was too late (not that it would have mattered at all). In response to “give your hair to a cancer patient!” I should have come back with, “sell your car and give the money to the homeless!”

Seems like a reasonable response to me.

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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Bloggie Bits, Miki Bits, Portlandish Bits

 

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Foibles: Office Supply Junkie

I wonder how many of you identify with this one . . .

~takes a big breath . . . steps up to the podium~

Hi, my name is Miki, and I’m, uh, . . .  I’m addicted to office supplies!!  ~sobs~

It’s been two weeks since I last bought a G2 pen . . . well, a whole pack of them actually, indigo blue, fine tip.I can’t help it, they’re my favorites.

While I was there I may have looked at a few composition books, the kind with quad-ruled lines in them, which my inner engineer gets all excited about! And those colored sticky notes I never find a use for!! And OMG, multicolored binder clips!! Eek!

20 pack of Pilot G2 pens

Heaven in ink . . . sigh

I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for compulsive writers . . .

Oh, and there may have been some highlighters and a laser pointer I thought my cats might like. No, really: I can’t use a highlighter without a couple of fuzzballs pouncing up to sniff glassy-eyed around my homework. I need the laser pointer to literally throw them off the scent!

But that’s nothing compared to my excitement around anything with paper in it. If you’re a writer, perhaps you know what I mean. It would be nice to know I’m not alone.

When the urge gets to be too much, I will likely set out on a pilgrimage to my favorite place of quill repute (see what I did there?), a wonderful not-so-little place called the New Renaissance Bookshop on 23rd Avenue here in NW Portland. Along with lots of lovely inspirational things of all flavors and genres, there exist whole walls of blank-paged books crying out to be filled with awesome words and thoughts.

If the beautiful covers don’t draw you in . . . the artfully etched or pressed or drawn bindings might, covers meant to be touched as much as looked upon; in a plethora of inspiring scenes and designs. Perhaps the gold-edged or round-cornered pages will call out to you instead. These beautiful books range from the heavy, metal-clasped-and-hinged “book of shadows” variety, to the perfectly mini idea-book sized ones that yearn to live within your purse or backpack, ready to collect your wily ideas.

I can’t walk in that store without fondly admiring–or is it fondling admiringly–at least a dozen of these little journals.

journalsnotepads_ss61But for all this love of the blank page, I will rarely give in to this particular compunction. Experience has finally taught me that the empty pages that so attract my writerly sense will not placate my writerly needs. Often instead I will return home with a lovely book already filled with someone elses words.

The irony here is that although I love the physical form of journals to record my thoughts in, it is the computer keyboard that ends up fitting the bill. But it’s so less romantic . . .  sigh.

Here’s how this happens . . .

On one shelf in my home at this moment sit a half dozen lovely journals, still waiting to be filled. Most of them have their first ten or so pages carefully torn out. Many times have I blindly followed an inspiration to begin a physical journal in one of them, but a few pages in, my impatient fingers remind me how much faster my ideas could be recorded on a keyboard. I shake this thought off as unworthy and tarry onward, thinking how truly wondrous it is to lay ink to paper, ignoring the growing soreness in my wrist. But then, around the tenth or twelfth page mark, another unruly realization invades my paper-and-ink love affair:

My forgotten “organization foible” has unmasked itself once more! ( . . . stay tuned!)

Suffice it to say that I realize that every word I have painstakingly scribbled within those lovely pages . . . will have to be methodically retyped into a computer anyway, if for no other reason than for me to actually see them again. I know from years of trying how impossible it is to locate an entry in all those consecutive pages, especially trying to scan for words and ideas in my own handwriting. Perhaps one day they’ll make paper-and-ink journals with built in keyword search capabilities. I will come back to them then.

Until that day, I’ll stick with my Evernote app. I’ll talk about that one later, too, if that’s okay. I think it might be worth having one blog post just on that. For those of you who dream of becoming paperless, Evernote or one of its clones may be the way to go.

I think it may be a foible within a foible that alongside my love of pen and paper lives a deep desire to be completely paperless . . .  every idea, note, or journal entry digitized, tagged and search optimized.

Ah, the dichotomies that occur when foibles meet. =)

 
 

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Denizens of a Coffee Shop . . .

Here’s an example of the sort of thing that happens when I go to coffee shops. It’s a little poem I wrote a while back while quietly procrastinating pondering the interactions of coffee shop regulars like myself.

It goes something like this . . .

Glances

Denizens of a coffee shop
placate their loneliness with
coffee and glances, little
cakes and imagination

The middle-aged brunette quietly watching
the tall blond man gazing through his glasses at
the shapely mother of three who squeezes
the knee of the balding man secretly assessing
the Barbizon redhead just entering with
the trench-coated chap who smiles extra warmly to
the cute barista whose crush on
the three-piece-suited regular in
the corner goes unnoticed as he emails
his wife suddenly distracted by the
the Latin woman whose eye has fallen upon
the Aussie man spying over his book at
the complete stranger tapping on
his phone in the chair across from him
who comes regularly because of
the woman at the long table studying
her poetry book who can’t stop glancing at
the middle-aged brunette quietly watching the

Denizens of a coffee shop
placating their loneliness with
coffee and glances, and dreams
that someone might just look back

Could you tell which one was me? I don’t want to talk about it. ~giggle~

 

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Apartment Shopping in my Mind

I live behind a bar.

There, I said it. Phew, what a load off my mind to finally be out about that.

Oh, wait . . . that’s not right. It was that queer thing I should be worried outing myself about. Good thing I didn’t mention that then, huh?

It’s a pretty respectable bar, as bars go: A sports pub actually, with tons of huge screens for people to drunkenly scream at for no apparent reason, as if the players can actually hear them–or each other for that matter, as loud as it gets over there. Recently renovated, pleasantly arranged, well-lit . .  it’s a friendly looking place in there, from what I can tell. If I actually drank or could fathom sports I might give you a better view of it than through its large shiny windows as I’m passing by each day. But I don’t, much, so there.

The pub is nestled on the ground floor of my comfortably appointed and friendly apartment building, with a lovely courtyard separating it from my cozy little apartment. I’m happy with the arrangement . . . for the most part . . .

Until about 1:00AM.

You’d think I’d be happy that the noise abates around this time of night. But if you know me (i.e., you pay attention to the posting times of these blog entries. No, if you could actually see the posting times of these blog entries), you’d deduce that it’s not really a fly in my bearnaise sauce. You may not deduce the bearnaise sauce bit, actually. But if you did, I’d send you a cookie and a one-way plane ticket to Siberia, because frankly you’re freaking me out.

No, what happens around the wee hours of the morning are conversations. Drunken ones. Directly under my window.

I don’t mind conversations actually. The daytime ones are quite entertaining. I’ve witnessed a plethora of phone calls, debates, arguments, diagnoses, theories, educated and uneducated guesses, prophecies and neural pathway cleaning exercises (otherwise known as self-monologues) beneath my windows that have affected me anywhere along the spectrum of Boredom level 0.2, to Rolling under my desk laughing until my head pops off level 92.8. Although not entirely sane, at least they were relatively sober.

BonNuR1CIAA2UeQ.jpg largeBut at night it gets a little scary. It’s not the slurring or the exclamations about why my building keeps moving that I find so frightening . . .  but the way in which the monumentally drunk are stripped down to their bare essence. Their true colors. Their actual selves.

Most of the participants of these verbal expectorations are male, with a few rare drunk women mixed in to amp up the frighteningness (yes, I’m glaringly guilty of adding “ness” to almost any word, without the actual benefit of feeling guilty. about it . . . because I can). Not to kill your buzz here, but if I were to get a nickel for every misogynistic comment I’ve heard under my window past a certain hour, along with all kinds of premeditated rape-like details, I’d be able to afford installing huge neon lights on the moon that spell out, “Hey guys, WTF?” (I originally had “is wrong with you!” added to the end, but I calculated I’d need another 7 cents per misogynist.

I don’t really want to talk about it, but it looks like I did anyway. I mean someone has to. These guys’ male friends who DO have scruples might want to step up here. Just saying.

I’m kind of hoping this phenomenon is rarer than it seems, though I will clearly not be holding my breath on this point anytime soon. Perhaps it takes a mentality that thinks getting this drunk is actually fun, for that person to also be unclear on the whole human empathy thing. I don’t really know.

Until I find a cure for stupid, I’m thinking the best thing I can probably do is either: A) Learn to sleep like a “normal” person (Side-splitting laugh level 85.3), or B) find another apartment that exhibits a complete lack of bar-ness*.

Anyone know of a modest apartment I can rent in NW Portland?

[ * Yes, I did it again. If Lock Ness or Eliot Ness can do it, so can I. So there. ]

 
 

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Save the Dorks

IMG_0226So I’m walking down the street to the coffee shop where I do all my serious writing (well, I think it’s serious), minding my own business, when I pass this sign outside of one of the restaurants there. I stop. I take two steps back and look again. Yup, that’s what it says.

Anyone who has actually read my “about” page knows I occasionally identify as a dork, so of course my first thought is:

What side would they serve with me?

Other questions soon follow (keep in mind I’m still standing out on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, probably staring all buggly-eyed, thinking these things, while the patrons inside are looking out wondering if I’ve popped a fuse):

  • How do they serve dorks? Do we come with a sauce?
  • Where do they harvest their dorks?
    • Should I run? Like, now?!
  • Should I be insulted I’m only worth $13.50, and with a side?
  • Would I be less upset about this turn of events if I was served with macaroni and cheese, or covered with a dark chocolate sauce?
  • What wine do you serve with a dork (I’m thinking something non-alcoholic).

After I reset my fuse and toddled along to the coffee shop to be prescribed my usual dose of caffeine, I began to wonder if they were in fact serving actual dorks or a dork substitute. Or perhaps they had an unfair opinion of dorks and charged them $13.50 extra (plus a side) if they ate there.

It wasn’t until I started writing this and my girlfriend walked past and saw the picture above that the truth was revealed–and it’s admittedly weirder than even I thought possible. But then this is Portland. So of course I turned to the Urban Dictionary, the fount of all knowledge and wisdom.

Sure enough she was right:

(n)a whale penis
“The blue whale has the biggest dork on earth.”
by Anonymous February 14, 2003

(Source: The Urban Dictionary, accessed 3/1/2015, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dork)

Well then . . . okay. It makes perfect sense now that this appears on the menu at a place called Dick’s Kitchen.

I’m thinking I don’t want to talk about it. What more could I possibly add to this .. other than:

Bon Appetit!

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in Bloggie Bits, Portlandish Bits

 

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Portland Don’t Need No Stinking Groundhog

FullSizeRenderThis is February, right? According to my computicator (computer calculator, for those of you who don’t speak Dork) February 26th is a mere few days from the mathematical middle of winter . . . and yet Portland, weird already in its own right (a blogger’s paradise in that respect), could care less: I’m walking around NW Portland, minding my own business, and all of the trees around me are literally exploding with blooms and flowers and buds and other non-wintery tree-like emoticons! It’s hard not to cry out “Woo-hooo!” in the common tree dialect and dance a little Springity jig!

Okay . . . I’m getting those wary looks from my fellow pedestrians . . . again. I don’t want to talk about it.

Is the flora here really that happy? Or is it all the pot smoke in the parks getting sucked up by the . . . oh, there are no leaves yet, are there? I’ll call my scientist–they’re like lawyers . . . everyone should have a scientist on retainer–to study secondhand pot smoke in dogs, peeing happy juice on unwary trees.This discovery could have global significance, right?!

Hold on, I need to go clear a spot on my mantle for my Nobel prize! I mean, there has to be some scientific basis for the oddness in this town. I’d hate to think I’m the only sane one here.

I wouldn’t put it past Portlandians to run off to Pennsylvania, hijack Punxsutawney Phil and set him up in a hippy communal flat, complete with Barcalounger and full-spectrum lights, to ward off his Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s not like we get many fear-worthy shadows here, with our cloudy winters. We’re practical that way. Or was it just weird. Oh, right . . . just weird.

Meanwhile, poor Winter is getting shooed out of Portland with nary a “better luck next year.” Or perhaps it got discouraged and wandered off on it’s own, hitchhiking its way to Montana where it can get some respect. “Come back when you can give us some snow!” cries Portland at its back, cackling insanely.

I might have imagined the cackling.

I just heard from my scientist, who seems bent on ruining my chances at a Nobel prize: she keeps asking me what I’m on and to stop pestering her until I give her some. It’s hard to get good help these days. =P

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2015 in Bloggie Bits, Portlandish Bits

 

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