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7:25 a.m. - 2002-01-31

THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE IN OREGON

* Just because a woman looks like a lesbian, that doesn't necessarily mean she's a lesbian. Seventy five percent of the women up here look like bull dykes, but that's apparently the chic look amongst the ladies.

* The other 25 percent aren't from here.

* These people run everywhere. If you're standing outside, no matter where you're at, somebody's jogging nearby. This comes from the fact that a famous runner named Steve Prefontaine went to school at the University of Oregon. He had a bionic leg or something. Maybe he only had one leg. I'm not sure of the story. But if he only had one leg, no wonder he's such a legend here. A one-legged runner. What an inspiration to us all. Or most of us. Some of us. A few of us. Okay...what an inspiration to all one legged runners.

* If they're not running, they're on bicycles. As many hills and mountains there are in this city, you'd think these people would rather just splurge and get a car. You wouldn't see my happy ass pedaling up the side of Mount Everest, but these people do it on a daily basis. I think they're looney tunes.

* Do NOT order a Coke. These people have no idea what a Coke is. They have soda and they have pop. Pepsi is the soft drink of choice here and Coca-Cola is just something they see on television and think "They're making soft drinks out of cocaine now?"

* The guy that invented Nike went to the University of Oregon and like Steve Prefontaine, he's a well loved legend here. So when you ignorantly wear an Adidas sweatshirt to the local pizza place to have dinner, you will get the same stares that a guy wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe would get. I'm damned lucky that I'm still alive after that episode.

* It ALWAYS looks like it's about to rain here. ALWAYS. Every time you look to the sky, dark clouds are forming. Yet it hasn't rained since I've been here. Natashka informed me that's why everyone is so pasty,pale and ghastly white. Because the sun rarely shines here. And when it does, they all scurry like moles, trying to shield themselves from the evil ball of fire in the sky.

* I may actually miss this place.


Soooo...yesterday was an interesting day.

My first interview was at the local school district office. The interview was with a sweet little grandmotherly type woman. Short, gray haired, glasses...

...And something strange on her nose.

I didn't want to stare, but she had a growth on the side of her nose that was hard to take your eyes off of. At first I thought "Well...looks like Granny's got herself one shiny wart there."

Then I looked closer.

It wasn't a wart.

Granny had her nose pierced.

This woman, who was EASILY 60 years old (she told me she had her first child at 40 and that child is now in college), had her freakin' nose pierced.

And it was wayyyyy up on her nose. So I'm sitting there, pretending to listen to what she was telling me about her school district, when the entire time I was distracted by her nose ring.

She obviously had to jam her finger pretty far up her nasal cavity to put the back on this nose ring. I would say to the second knuckle at least. It made me think of my buddy Thomas who flinched while getting his ear pierced and ended up with a really weird positioned earring.

This looked like the lady sneezed just as she was getting pierced and her nosering got pierced through some cartilage or something.

I dunno.

All I know is I couldn't take my eyes off it.

My next interview was with a mean old man. I'm talking cantankerous. Gruff. Evil even.

He was the president of a distributorship. They distribute Budweiser throughout the county.

He had a tiny little office for being the president. It looked like the office hadn't been cleaned in years and all the pictures on his wall were from the 60s and 70s. You could tell by the fashions of the people in the pictures. Either that or he still makes his family dress like the Brady Bunch.

He never smiled. He barely spoke above a whisper. And he answered me in one sentence answers which is going to make writing his profile a tough job.

About ten minutes into the interview, I got a bad feeling. A feeling like....my tape recorder's not running.

I checked it. It wasn't running.

What to do what to do?

The man stopped talking and looked at me. "Is everything alright?" he asked.

I blushed. I was afraid to admit that my tape recorder had been on pause the entire time because I thought the old geezer would take a swing at me.

"My tape recorder isn't on," I said.

"Does this mean we have to go through it all again?" he sighed.

"Just the vital parts," I said.

He was actually accomodating and patient, spewing out all the important parts of the interview thus far. I took up another ten minutes of his time and was out of there, making it the shortest interview so far.

I then went to the Fifth Street Market which is a cool unique mall type place. It's not a traditional mall, it's got three stories and is in this old warehouse kinda place. It's a maze to get through and I got lost and turned around several times. All the stores are one of a kind and very few chain stores are there. A lot of it was outside and it was pretty damned cold out, so I didn't stay there long. I think I stayed 15 minutes then left because my hands were getting numb.

Went to Abby's Pizza for lunch. Abby's is really the same as Shakey's Pizza which was a chain of pizza restaurants in the midwest that I loved while growing up. The pizza wasn't as good as it was when I was a kid, but it did bring back memories of vomiting up bad pizza.

Then I went to my third interview for the day which was with some property management team. They manage one of the shopping centers in town. I had already went to the Borders store in their shopping center a few times and was familiar with the center.

The people who owned the place were kinda scary. It was a brother and sister team that I interviewed, both in their 60s. They barely looked at each other and while the guy seemed very nice and polite, his sister was mean and brash and no nonsense. I could easily picture this grandmother in a leather domanatrix outfit with a bull whip by her side. She fit the image perfectly.

Afterwards, I went to the Borders store and bought Andrew some books to take to him. I still need to find something for Susie before I leave for home tomorrow. I've got two interviews today...well...three...one is an impromptu meeting which won't really be an interview since they're writing the profile themselves, but they just want me to come by and tell them how we want the profile written.

And ... for the last time this week, I'm going to try once again to get in touch with a corporation that wanted to meet me in person, but who will NOT return my calls. I've called them twice already this week and left messages with secretaries but nobody has returned my calls. Not that this infuriates me, but I get the feeling that once I get back to town and finally get ahold of the lady, she's going to be mad that we didn't meet in person when it's really her own fault.

One more thing about what I've learned about Oregon this week ...

...I really hate typing on this laptop. It sucks all the fun out of the diary.

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