Walking through the area1, I saw the usual mix of lunch-breaking downtown workers-- it was 2:45 pm, but, hell, they don't call PDX the "City Different" for nothing. Wait: they call Santa Fe the "City Different". Ah, well, if we can steal "weird" from Austin, we can certainly steal "Different" from Santa Fe. GO GO GO PDX, what I like to call the "city that never sleeps," "that toddlin' town," "the Big Easy".
Where was I? Oh, yeah, "I saw the usual mix of lunchbreaking downtown workers, kids playing in the fountain, nannys nannying, dogs dogs dogs, and a sign affixed to the Lovejoy Fountain sign that read, 'This used to be Lovejoy Fountain.'" Right, okay, except the sign wasn't, you know, part of the usual mix. It also wasn't the only sign. Giant pieces of-- well, it looked liked butcher paper to me, because I'm a teacher. Why do they still call it butcher paper, anyway? They should call it "teacher paper". But, I digress! Giant pieces of teacher paper proclaimed the fountain to be "a waterfall," the waters below to be "a lake," and the concrete wall behind to be "a mountain".
It was very curious! I walked the dogs around the "waterfall," and by the "lake," but did not try to climb the "mountain". Mainly because its vertical ascent approached 90 degrees.
Then I saw a youthful Portlander with (ominous chord) teacher paper. The teacher paper read, "This is a field," and he was carefully placing it on a square-shaped concrete bench. I maneuvered the dogs over to his vicinity and said something clever like, "What's up with the signs?"2
"Oh!" he replied. "We are trying to raise awareness that there is no grass in this park." I looked around. I had been laboring under the mistaken understanding that I was already aware of that. "Well," he went on,"no nature. Unfortunately, there's not a field here. Unfortunately, there's not a mountain. So we just have to imagine them. We're trying to get the city to consider putting some green space here. We have a petition. We brought our own grass." He gestured over at his friend, who sat forlornly on two squares of turf with a clipboard. He looked at me with Beagle Eyes. My beagles looked up at me with Beagle Eyes.
And the old cynical Barry, the devil over my shoulder, says, of course, you have a petition. It's Portland. I'm sure there was a petition when the clock on Jackson Tower stopped functioning and, now that it hasn't functioned for awhile, I'm sure there'd be a petition if it ever started working again. Coming from a town where, like, one-tenth of one-percent of the electorate votes in city elections, it's just weird to see people so engaged.
|An unidentified male sits on grass by Lovejoy Fountain. Unfortunately, |
he had to bring his own grass. Please help us right this wrong!
1 It will become clear, momentarily, why I refer to Lovejoy as an area and not a park.
2 I also did not ask his name, his friend's name, or if they had an organization I could credit in this narrative. I'm just going to do what I usually do when I totally forget social niceties and pretend I have Asperger's.
3 Because, walkin' heah!
UPDATE: "Youthful Portlander" identified. Also, here.