Sunday afternoon I decided to enjoy the sunny day and take a walk on Hawthorne Ave.. On may way there, I passed through Ladd’s Addition, http://www.portlandbridges.com/portland-neighborhoods/00-Ladd%27s%20Addition.html . For the Tulsa readers, Ladd’s addition has homes similar to Brady Heights, but they are kept up like the homes in Maple Ridge. I drool every time I walk through this neighborhood. I digress because this blog isn’t about Ladds.
As I walked down Hawthorne Ave. on a Sunday afternoon, I saw a very diverse sampling of people and stores. I walked by the piercing shops, voodoo art shop, hemp products shop, mom & pop hardware stores, great individually owned restaurants, the Baghdad Theater http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=9&id=176
second hand stores, Tibet and Asian art stores, metaphysical/magick healing facility, herbal remedies store, Christian bookstore, and one store that looked like the crew from The Matrix
shopped there. Hawthorne is a trendy, kind of hippy area of Portland. All of the stores I mentioned above can be found in a span of about six blocks. Most people really like Hawthorne, and I am no exception.
As I was walking down Hawthorne with my Ipod headphones blaring out my eclectic mix of songs, I stopped in at a second hand store that caught my eye. While opening the door I noticed the sign that said, “Feel Free to Dance.” Huh! I soon understood what that meant as I walked into a great mall of shopping booths that played fairly loud techno music in the background. I looked around to see where the disco ball was, and I found it in a booth for sale. No, I didn’t buy it. Yes, I did think about it though. As I walked through the sometimes antique, sometimes campy booths, I was drawn to a Christmas mouse statue. Yes, I love Christmas mice. It’s my thing. Anyway, when I went up to the front of the store to pay for my cute treasure I noticed the owner behind the counter. She was a rather tall drag queen in a bright purple pantsuit and a wig whose color really was a little dark for her complexion. All and all she pulled off the look very well. Was I surprised? Not really. This is Portland after all, and a well dressed drag queen shop owner is not really shocking. It is noteworthy, but not shocking. Did I mention that there are more piercings and tattoos on Hawthorne Ave. then in all of the Oklahoma alternative education facilities combined? Yes, I am exaggerating, but not by much.
Portland is a great mix of people. Diversity is definitely honored, and everyone is encouraged to express their own unique personality. Living here is like a breath of fresh air because I am continually reminded not to put so much emphasis on the things that don’t really matter in life. I’m definitely learning to relax and kind of let my hair down so to speak. I am learning to do my part to “Keep Portland Weird.”