My spouse and I just passed our fifth anniversary as Portlanders. My question: How long is the "you're not from here" probation? We have a feeling in-migration will rebound hard after COVID, and we want to be able to complain about the new people too. —Portland Wood Achievers
How long do you have to have lived in Portland before you're allowed to be insufferable about it? I think you know the answer: longer than you.
I'm not ragging on you personally, Wood Achievers (in my younger days, I used to achieve wood fairly often myself). No, by "longer than you," I just mean "longer than whomever you're talking to at the time."
For example, with my 37 years in the trenches, I can lord my Portland bona fides over you all day long (or at least until I break a hip from gesturing too animatedly toward where Satyricon used to be).
But just when I get cocky, some ex-roadie for Theater of Sheep will come along with a story about how he and Bud Clark used to take Quaaludes and go to Quality Pie, and boom, I'm a novice all over again.
Of course, there's more to Portland cred than how long you've lived here—there's also your experience with Portland's unique brand(s) of misery. During the five years you've lived here, have you been priced out of at least three neighborhoods? Rear-ended someone who braked for a green light? Had your wedding rained out—in August?
If you answered yes, I'm inclined to say you've paid your dues. Then again, if you spent those five years telecommuting to a CTO job in San Jose from your Pearl District condo, you might as well have moved here a year ago.
All that said, Wood, you do have one thing going for you: I don't think there can be any doubt that future generations will divide Portlanders into those who were here in 2020 and those who weren't, and you will always be on the insufferable side of that divide.
Sure, it doesn't seem like much now. But if our great-grandparents' experience living through the Great Depression is any guide, the fact that you survived 2020 will give you great satisfaction in your old age—and, more importantly, something to yell about while you chase kids off your lawn with a rake.
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