Thursday, May 31, 2012

City of Grunge #1

We discussed grunge and music and people who conform to nonconformity yet flock together; but we didn't discuss anyone like this. My host in Portland, Oregon had taken us out to a concert to see a few no-name bands. The second turned out to be all right, but not anything much to dance to for me, since I'm so used to goth music now. Meet Guy-in-the-fake-fur-cap. I didn't catch his name since it wasn't offered to me; my host to the right, Arya, heard his name but she forgot it quickly. I had actually dragged us into initial contact with this guy. He was asking us about clubs in the area, so I assumed he was a traveler like me; not so. He said he was from Portland and didn't go out much, which left me immediately disinterested. He talked about poetry and then he and Arya got into a conversation about South America--she stayed there for five months, visiting Ecuador and Argentina, among other places.

While they talked, I admired the treehouse in the center of the room and the writing on the walls in the bathroom. Writing on bathroom walls, and toilet paper dispensers, and doors, seems to be a passionate passtime for people in the small-town city (Arya's view). It became clear that neither Arya nor myself were interested in no-name-fur-cap, so we got away and left just after the third band got onstage.
We admired the way these boys were touching this pool table. "It reminds me of 'Gossip Girl'," she said, those books with the active images on the cover, waists and legs walking with shopping bags barely visible in the top corners; no faces visible. Everyone at the concert (maybe they don't call it that?) was dressed down, it seemed: baggy t-shirts and sweaters, pants, messy hair and hats; no one was attractive. I felt out of place, and thought that maybe Arya did too, since she was wearing the lowest top in the building. I never asked.

Arya likes dancing, but it seemed like no one else did. I am no longer used to the stillness of bodies in a room blaring music, it seems rude, almost disrespectful in a way. It isn't classical jazz or opera, people, it is music, just live a little! I never would have said something like that before last summer.

Arya studies anthropology in town. She doesn't seem to like it as much as she thought she would, saying that her school is "liberal-arts" based, meaning that there is no doing, that it's all textbooks and studying. However, since she is an anthropologist, and I am a journalist, we got along very well, and talked for hours about everything from major-related studies to our favorite teas. Part of me wishes I had asked to stay just one more night, but I decided to head to Seattle.

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