The pains of being a Pacific Northwesterner

More like the pains of being utterly too cute

More like the pains of being utterly too cute

The city of Portland gets a lot of good press from me. I can’t shut up about our plethora of great live music choices, our basketball team, or our Waffle Window. And you know it’s not just a fawning amount of praise for the place where I hang my head. I used to live in San Francisco, and East Coast visitors often commented about how damn happy the SF citizens appeared to be in comparison to any big-city mouse on the other side of the country. To put it into comparison, Portland people make San Francisco residents seem downright morose and unsatisfied with their city of choice. Random strangers of Portland everywhere – bus drivers, office building-mates who eerily recognize you, even the teenagers who control the computers at the tanning salon (not that I’d know anything about that, ahem, soothing bronzing agent my ass) – all smile and wish you well. In your initial months you wonder if you’ve been secretly diagnosed with a terminal disease that everyone heard about but you. But a few more months pass, you’ve drank the Kool Aid, and you’re out-greeting the Starbucks employees before you know it.

But there are also times that make your enthusiasm feel naive and obnoxious. These times like to happen upon you on the days you’ve forgotten your hoodie at home and feel each sheet of rain slicing right into the marrow of your bones. This unpleasant sensation usually coincides with the days when the sky looks like it’s swollen with dirty white socks, and you can’t think of a single reasonable justification for venturing outside, unless you happen to be a smoker or an insane bike messenger. Then you consider that Portland just is this way for seven or eight months of the year. And before you know it, your nearest liquor store claims more of your wages in fluid ounces of Maker’s Mark and you almost want to believe that every Northwestern street is paved with heroin.

These are the times when you need music that celebrates the joy of staying indoors and lyrics that blissfully ignore pressure from the elements and focus on their own sources of hope. Even if the inevitable outcome will lead to disappointment for the singer and the sound reminds you of My Bloody Valentine on uppers. Hell, you’re a Portland resident. You ought to love My Bloody Valentine. And that is where The Pains of Being at Heart will do you well. All the noisy guitars and playful girl-and-guy vocal exchanges might even make you dance in your apartment after the unfortunate incident at the tanning salon. Not that I’d know anything about that.

  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart ~ The Pains of Being Pure at Heart ~ Slumberland

Come Saturday

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