So Your Real Home’s in Your Chest

“Oh, you’re not really from DC.” I was sitting at the dinner table at my Lisbon hostel, chatting with a group of my fellow travelers. She was another student, from California but in Copenhagen for the spring. “You just go to school there.”

She had a certain point—and to be honest, I mostly said I was from DC because it was easier than explaining to Europeans where Oregon was—but at the same time I was a little bothered by the assertion. The man to my right had introduced himself as Matt from Brooklyn, but he had only moved to New York about six months prior. I had been in DC for nearly four times that long, even considering the few weeks each year when I left to make the trek back west and the months I’d been in France. At what point did DC start being home? Continue reading →

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The Tallest Building in Town

I sent my mom a Gchat from class this evening. “Random question: What would you say the tallest building back home is?”

After a moment, she wrote back: “There are tall buildings in GP? I think there’s a brick thing downtown that is… um… multiple stories.” There was a pause, presumably while she conferred with the people around her. “Beth says there is a 78 foot tall hotel.” Another pause. “Oh. I think it’s that tan brick thing with the mural on it. Pathetic.”

File:Redwoods Hotel - Grants Pass Oregon.jpg“That tan brick thing,” as it turns out, is the Redwoods Hotel, much of which sits vacant today. As you can see from the end of this video, it’s a majestic Art Deco-type building that towers over its surroundings, rising a whopping six stories into the air. (And yes, there is indeed a mural on the side.) Continue reading →

Please, Call Me “Ma’am”

Yes Ma'am, No Ma'amWhen I was a freshman in high school, I walked into first period one day to hear a senior girl angrily recounting to her friends something that had happened at the grocery store the day before. She was so mad, she said. She couldn’t believe the cashier would say that to her. His offense? He had addressed her as “ma’am.”

Growing up in Oregon, “sir” and “ma’am” weren’t really part of my vocabulary, but it hasn’t escaped my notice that most women on the west coast don’t exactly take kindly to the title. A friend remarked on Facebook a while back that she wasn’t sure how to feel about being “ma’am”-ed; a high school ex once asked me what I would do if someone called me “ma’am.” (“Um… I don’t know, probably nothing?”) When I surveyed some friends, I got plenty of negative reactions to the word (including this gif). The internet is full of articles by and about women who hate the phrase. One of my favorite singers even brought it up on Twitter recently:

And yet I just can’t bring myself to hate it. Continue reading →

The Most Perfectly Twee Insurance Exchange

Having grown up in Oregon, I of course couldn’t resist an article titled “Oregon just launched the world’s most twee Obamacare campaign“. And it is exactly as amazing as you expect, if not more so.

Seriously. Coverage for every “logger and lawyer and stay-at-home-dad, every baker and banker and indie rock band”? Painted cardboard props held up by earth-tone-clad children? The Portland Cello Project? I’m crying.

Continue reading →