DID YOU READ

Tales of Portland Public Transit

streetcar

Posted by on

In Portland, public transportation is a culture unto itself. I suppose that’s true of all major cities, but it’s especially valid here, in a city considered to have one of the best transit systems in the country. Combine the ease of getting around with the other things that make Portland so Portlandian, and that makes every ride on the bus, MAX or Slothcar—sorry, streetcar—an illuminating adventure for the armchair sociologist.

Luckily, someone thought to start cataloging those experiences. At TriMet Diaries, frequent participants in the culture of Portland public transportation are welcomed to contribute stories, observations and important life lessons learned while traveling across town. We asked site editor David Strom for some of his favorite essays and anecdotes. These are the abridged versions; click the links for the full entries.

The Bus Was Smokin’ by Samantha

After running an errand at my credit union, I got on my usual 9:45 bus at a different stop. I got to avoid waiting with the white trash lady who likes to smoke right next to me under the shelter.

However, when I sat down, it only took a few blocks of travel for me to notice the distinct smell of burning…something. I honestly thought it was burning toast from one of the various cafes we were passing by. Then the white trash lady notices the smell too and says, “Hey, dude, you’re on fire.”

Actually, it was just the dude’s pant leg. But still, that is definitely a new experience in public transportation for me.



My Nemesis Revealed
by Bill Reagan

The guy sports a van dyke, which should tell you everything you need to know. If you’re not familiar, the van dyke is part soul patch, part handlebar mustache – think three musketeers, or the painted beard on the V-for-Vendetta mask. He’s a good looking twenty-something, well-dressed, and it’s easy to picture him in his natural habitat, drinking canned beer at this month’s trendy dive bar, quietly besting every earnestly mutton-chopped man with his black-belt-level hipster facial adornment.

We’ve both ridden the #35 for years, though not always together. My schedule is static, his seems flexible, so it’s only a few shared rides a month, but I always notice him when he gets on, wanting to take his picture and send it to LookAtThatFuckingHipster.com. He’s always aloof, not talking to his fellow riders, and considering I’ve seen most of my fellow 35-ers at King Burrito and other neighborhood cheap-eats spots, but never him, I imagined him traveling to Farm or Rontoms for dinner so that he could eat with his own kind. Fine by me.

Last week, I had a two-seater to myself when he got on and sat down beside me. … He started getting out a book, which I imagined would be David Foster Wallace or perhaps Catcher in the Rye, but it turned out to be a children’s chapter book. … He was audibly struggling to read the large-type text, sounding it out slowly, clearly focused on the words more than the sentences. As he read, his finger inched along the page to accompany the labored soundtrack of syllables, and I began hurriedly deconstructing the damning picture of him that I had assembled using years’ worth of insignificant and inaccurate so-called clues.

He wasn’t aloof, but shy, and avoiding conversation meant avoiding the struggle to communicate. He probably didn’t eat at King Burrito because the massive billboard of a menu over the cash register – all words, no pictures – was a flagrant taunt of his capabilities.
When my stop arrived, I wished my seat-mate a good day, and hoped it was the first time he had ever noticed me. I hate to think he had spent the last few years dismissing me as a judgmental bastard who stupidly assesses people based on superficial information. And if he had, I hoped he would never know how right he had been.


Public Transit Doppelganger Bingo by Dr. Jeff Guardalabene

If you spend any time at all on public transit, you can’t avoid the doppelgangers. They add a little low-grade celebrity spice to the trip. Hey, there’s Justin Bieber as a woman! Look, that guy looks like Alec Baldwin as a homeless dude! It’s a rolling Entertainment Weekly out there. TMZ on wheels. After you’ve been riding a while, though, spotting the lookalikes just isn’t enough. After a while, it’s time to up your game and step into the big leagues.

I’ve moved on from simple solo celebrity spotting. I’m into groups now. For example, all I need is a Justine Bateman to fill out my Family Ties card. Michael J. Fox is everywhere in Portland. Tina Yothers was tough. If I really want a challenge, I work on the cast of Lost, or some buddy cop movies.

If you really get into this game, you’ll need to take a few days off so you can ride lines that you wouldn’t normally ride in the course of your workday. For example, say you wanted to fill out the cast of Entourage. You might start with the Green Line MAX, and keep an eye peeled as you roll through downtown toward PSU. But you’ll most likely need to disembark and hit the streetcar up through the Pearl. And someone with a Portlandia bent is going to want to work the low bus numbers – 4/9/14/15, Division/Powell/Hawthorne/Belmont will probably do the trick.

You get the idea. Start easy, maybe “Friends” on the Green Line, and work your way up the ladder to something really difficult, like “True Blood” solely on even-numbered bus lines. Soon, you’ll have toured Portland and made some new buddies along the way. And, on weekends, you can turn this into the only drinking game you can safely play on city streets.



Fun Game on the Streetcar
by Heather

I live in a city with a half million other people. With such a high a concentration of people in a small space, you will likely run into all kinds of folks. And as a veteran of city living, I’ve become adept at identifying stinky people. It’s a skill you learn quickly. “Oh, he looks ripe. Hold breath. Okay, danger averted.”

However, sometimes people are “stealth stinkers.” It’s not obvious from how they look that a person has created a cloud of odoriferousness for everyone to enjoy. And riding public transportation, this can become a problem.

But it can also be a fun game! Sometimes on the streetcar, I play a game of “Guess the Stinker!” when it’s not completely obvious. Sometimes I guess correctly, as evidenced by the sweet wind of fresh air as the offender departs.

I can’t say that I win anything by guessing the stinker correctly. But I like to start my days with a sense of accomplishment.


Public Service Announcement for Randall by Bill Reagan

Dear Randall,

Just wanted to send you a quick note to say, dude, what’s up with the way you’ve been behaving? Getting caught visiting that little psycho girl while Angela was out of town, then claiming you just wanted to make it clear to her that you have a new girlfriend? Telling Angela you were sick and had to go home at 8:00, then going over to that little psycho girl’s house at 10:00 because you “felt better”? C’mon, Randy, you aren’t fooling any of us with your bullshit.

The trouble is, you might not be as sly as you think. Believe me, Angela sees through your bullshit. Don’t laugh it off, clever man – Angela has a shotgun at home, and she made it clear she’s got no problem with shooting that little psycho you’ve been sneaking around with, especially since that little psycho wrote something on Angela’s Facebook wall. (Awkward!) Add the gun to the medical documentation that proves Angela’s mental capacity is “borderline retarded” (her words) and she might be right about having a viable courtroom defense.

I’m writing because I’m concerned for you, Randall. I know you don’t know me, but Angela is clearly pissed about all this, considering how loudly she told the person on the phone and the entire population of the 5:45pm #6 yesterday. I’m not passing judgment – I’ll leave that to Angela, as she seems primed for it – but from what I’ve heard, it’s time you step up and be the man you said you were when you first started dating Angela. You remember, right? Back when you had a job, paid attention to her, and didn’t constantly spew all that bullshit that you do now. That’s all Angela wants. (And rest of us concur.)

Best wishes,

Bill

(Photo by Chris Phan)

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

Posted by on

He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire-Sam-Adams-great-effing-beer

Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on

From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet