Here I sit, on the eve of a snowsports tradeshow in the cheesiest town in America…Vegas. What makes people think this is the perfect place to do business? The friggin’ Excalibur Hotel and Casino? No wireless, $11.99 for ethernet.
It feels like a bit of a return to a world that’s probably not changed that much in 6 years. I won’t find out for sure until tomorrow, but the memories of my first trip here flooded back as I wandered through the five dollar Blackjack tables. I watched experienced dealers try to make people feel better about losing their money, make them laugh a bit about it. I watched one dealer hit Blackjack 3 times in 5 hands, after running the player’s cards 5 hits deep at times. “Good luck!”, the waiter said to me with the bill dropped on the table.
2000: While working at Burton Snowboards, in Marketing, I begin to realize my instincts and passion for snowboarding do not mesh with the direction the company was headed.
2001: With an enviable job and a new BMW motorcycle, I decide I need to leave, step back in order to move forward. By the time it’s all over, my image is placed on the internet, thousands of little stickers, RIP flags in every employee’s mailbox, an airbrushed canvas flag flying over the Burlington waterfront, and life-sized printed heads on sticks. I still hear about sightings.
2002: Conceive of Instrument, move home, work for a fly fishing company and write a business plan for a new marketing company.
2004: Meet and begin dating Meghan. Begin to consider writing as more of a career.
2005: Buy a nice ring. Write lots of Helly catalogs.
2006: With one partner in Portland, OR and one in Burlington, VT, Meghan starts probing around for work out west. We move, set up shop, fly back to get married, buy a house and hire two more employees for Instrument in O-Ree-Gun.
Today: Living and working in Portland is starting to become routine, instead of feeling new. I’ve now got various coffee stops along multiple routes to work. I’ve met, seen, flipped off, and walked around enough semi-wacky Portlanders to come to some new realizations about this town.
Ass-hole-ism is spreading in Portland, and it’s time to retract a former statement from Vinceland. I’m letting you know.
A new restaurant opened in North Portland, 2 blocks from the house we bought, we decided to drop in on a Saturday night. The neighborhood is full of small, real-deal Mexican places, including carts and box trucks that sell tacos, whatever. I’ve been too much of a wuss to brave the unknown. But this mexican joint was different, it was affluent American-Mexican. It came right out the The Pearl to North Portland. It looked nice and the ladies liked it from the outside.
We walked in the place, and before we even got to the door, a couple tried to slip in front of us, feeling some sense of entitlement. We snuck in behind, trying to get a feel of the place. It was obvious who the owner was and how many friends had come in to eat on opening weekend. He looked past us, walked past us and ignored us until the moment we decided to leave for Esparza’s. He turned out to be an asshole owner and his place earned the worst first impression available, from two couples who live and work very nearby. Nice work, dude.
When you start to have insider info on areas of a town you live in, you’re becoming a local, and your influence is increased. It’s easy enough to float on by, unaware of your surroundings, the feeling of living in a place, the attitude of the people. I never lived like that in Burlington. In fact, it felt right to leave Burlington, in a sense, because I was TOO insider. There was no more adventure in town, not enough to learn. Portland is starting to feel smaller to me, a bit more known and understood.
When I travel to places like Las Vegas, though, and I see such a mess of things that don’t make any sense together in the world, I realize I could never live just anywhere. This place is not positive, genuine or beautiful. Being here also gives me a sense of rounding the mellow curve (not a corner) of a wide circle, heading back towards a place that sorta drove me out not long ago. We’ll see what happens and continue to stay aware, kick people’s ass and have fun.
PS: I HATE the phrase “belly fat” and the commercials that run telling me how to rid myself of “belly fat”. Get away from me with that crap.