I bet you didn’t even notice that for the last week I was roaming around the wonderful state of Oregon instead of on the loveliest village on the Plains.
What did he say? Oregon? Didn’t we annihilate them in football a couple of years ago?
Yes, we did, but Oregon is so much more than a faceless football team somewhere way out in the Pacific Northwest.
To me, it’s potentially a new home.
I’ve given it a good deal of thought, and I believe that I might have to move out there pretty soon, but don’t quote me on that.
Why, you might ask? Why would anyone move so far away from the hospitable and tropical South?
It’s nothing personal, really. I’ve been a man without a true home for awhile.
Born in Ohio and largely raised in Atlanta (one of the most northern southern cities), I’ve felt the tugs of the North and South all of my life.
Not knowing which region to pledge allegiance to is enough to drive a man to drink… soda. Or, is it pop? Actually, it depends on the area. See, the cultural differences are already too crazy to handle!
Laughter aside, there is something about the West that has attracted people for centuries and continues to attract me now.
Not only does the air smell like pine trees, but I feel like there is a more public exchange of ideas than we are accustomed to seeing in the South.
Oregon is a mecca of progressive and eclectic people you will not find anywhere else in the United States.
Every hairstyle and tattoo known to man has somehow wound up in Oregon, and the people who display them know about a myriad of depressing situations that are happening in a distant corner of the world that you should proudly protest against.
Each city in the state is nothing like the others, yet they all seem to be concurrently “Oregonian.”
Portland may be the exaggerated subject of the televised parodied comedy show “Portlandia,” where everyone rides bikes and questions the authenticity of vegan restaurants; but, seriously, Portland is like that.
Eugene is home of the University of Oregon, where, (shockingly) life does not revolve around football. The whole town rallies around running-related sports, such as cross country and track and field. Being the birthplace of Nike, it kind of makes sense.
Salem may be the tiniest capitol that I’ve ever been to, and it might have only taken the passing of about four lights before we were in front of the Capitol Building. I’m not even sure that the gold on the dome is real, but I pretend that it is to encourage economic growth.
And I love it.
As a journalist, I thrive on change. Switch up times, people and landscapes in an instant to make me feel right at home. Oregon does that every day.
Where else in the U.S. do you usually have mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, besides sunny and expensive California?
Did I see my share of perfect stereotypes? Yes, but for every overly-liberal Prius tree hugger that I saw in Oregon I’ve seen an ignorant NASCAR-lovin’ F-350 driver in Alabama. You take what you can get.
Oregon is one big aura of green and blue with plenty of different people of colors to mix right in.
Am I a traitor? Of course not. I saw an eagle fly over Corvallis. Seriously.
I may have been bred on the Plains, but when I’m out West, I shout, “Go Ducks!”
War Damn Oregon.