Tag Archives: Places

Sexual Delusions in Portland – Who Wouldn’t Want to Tap This?

Sexual Delusions in Portland – Who Wouldn’t Want to Tap This?

Back when I was super cool and lived in Portland, Oregon, Jim and I used to go out to tons of music venues to mix with the tattooed, pierced and alternative Portland element.

We were in a limbo of wanting to be those people and yet ensure our kids didn’t grow up to be them.

We would attempt to go undercover, hiding our suburban, parental underbelly but we missed the whole “ink” craze so our consistently flesh colored flesh made us stick out like Amish at a car show.

We began to compromise a bit because we couldn’t find babysitters who would stay until 3AM and, let’s face it, we were just too tired.

Enter Aimee Mann. I do love her. She has that mix of catchy tunes and pissed off lyrics that make you feel like you are retaining some sort of edge. She does say fuck so there is some street cred there.

So, we went to see her perform at one of the groovy, divey spots PDX is known for.

We took our seats and struck up a conversation with the nice couple next to us. He was all sorts of Portland middle-aged cool sporting a shaved head and a soul patch and she had a veritable kaleidoscope of colors streaked through her hair.

They were very chatty and we talked about all the liberal politics we wanted.

By the way, it is illegal to not be liberal in Portland. Go look it up. They put you in a re-training camp if they catch you at the city border.

This keeps the citizenry safe to have deep political conversations in line at the grocery store without fear of debate.

The night was off to a great start. Except for this one weird thing.

Jim and I both got this decidedly weird vibe. It was nothing anyone said but we both just had this feeling that they were a little too into us….in a kind of pervy way.

I have no idea where this came from. If you know us, you know we are not normally the types to go around with delusions of our sex appeal.

Maybe we’ve seen The Ice Storm too many times. Or maybe they were super high.

We were both oddly suspicious of this perfectly nice, if not overly friendly couple and assumed they were trolling for a wife swap/swinger situation.

Keep in mind that this has NEVER actually happened to us before.

Once the lights dimmed and Aimee was introduced, we settled into the concert and for 90 minutes or so forgot about our vortex of sexuality.

After the concert ended, our new friends/lovers said they would like to get together some time for a meal. Jim and I shot a nervous look to each other.

Is “meal” like a secret term similar to tapping your foot three times on an airport bathroom stall to indicate you are open to a BJ?

The man handed me his business card and said to give him a call to set up something. I took it and slid it into my pocket. We said our goodbyes and off into the rainy night we went.

They did seem a little dodgy about what they did for a living, as tends to be the case with Portlandians in general, and there was an odd symbol with very little explanation on the card.

We were intrigued so proceeded to Google stalk them.

A few searches later we came up with what the symbol was….

It turned out they were Freemasons.

See, we clearly get our information about how the world works from movies because all I could think of was The Da Vinci Code.

Why was it a “secret society” and what exactly were the “rituals”? Did they have a room in their split level suburban house that was dedicated to afore mentioned rituals?  Were they looking to take down the Catholic Church? Did they wear hooded robes and chant?

And, more importantly, were Freemasons swingers?

Sadly, we never found out. Day to day life swallowed us up and we never got to do a wife swap with the Freemasons (who has the time, really?) and to this day we are still sketchy on what Freemasons even are. Which I suppose is the point of it being a “secret” and all.

We also are relieved and yet a little disappointed that we are not, as suspected, utterly irresistible to anyone but ourselves. So rest easy, for you are all safe from our vortex of sexuality.

At least for now….

I Almost Killed a Small Thai Lady

I Almost Killed a Small Thai Lady

Here’s the question: Is it better to get a bad massage rather than no massage at all?

Up until my trip to Thailand, I would have said any massage was wonderful. However, I soundly retract this statement now that I have had a Thai massage.

Most people who know me would expect that if I were to end up in a Thai prison, it would be for being a drug mule rather than murdering a small Thai lady while in a psychopathic rage.

I hope no one actually put money on this but I suspect a few of you have.

I spent a month in Thailand years ago and it was a wonderful experience, overall. The Thai people not only made me feel happy and welcome, they made me feel like a giant. And I’m only 5’4”.

When reading up on all the awesome things to experience in Thailand, the very specialized form of Thai massage was brought up time and again. Being the total spa whore I am, I was all “sign me up!”

So roughly mid-way through my trip I found myself on the floor of a small room, dressed in loose fitting clothes and lying on an uncomfortable bamboo mat.

A miniscule, smiling Thai woman came into the room and said something I did not understand. At the time I gathered she was asking me if I’ve ever had a Thai massage before but I think she was actually asking me if I was prepared to meet my maker.

I laid face down so couldn’t see what she was up to back there but felt my fight or flight response begin to kick in.

She climbed on top of my butt with her knees and started to do a sort of dog walk up my body balancing on her knees and pointy little elbows.  OK, that’s uncomfortable but I’m here to experience this lovely culture so bring it.

Then, she sat and straddled my back, grabbed my ankles and started to bend my legs in all sorts of unnatural ways like I was Gumby…a very frightened and freaked out Gumby…psychologically curled into a fetal position…weeping.

We westerners are a tightly wound and stiff people and I’d like to keep it that way.

This went on for about an hour before she unceremoniously flipped me onto my back. For a person her size, she had freakish strength.

Figuring I was done, I began to get up but she pushed me back down, gazing at me with an angelic smile on her face. She was starting to look like The Joker. Heath Ledger joker, NOT friendly Cesar Romero joker.

I wish….

 

….what I got.

There was more to come.

She climbed onto my stomach, patted it and said “baby?”

Are you fucking kidding me?? I know that compared to you, I am the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man but now I’m feeling fairly vulnerable.

First you beat the shit out of me and now you call me fat? I can get this kind of treatment just by getting in my time machine and going back to Jr. High.

When I said No, she giggled. Really, bitch?

My rage mounted as she proceeded to continue the abuse on the front of me. She went through and cracked every one of my fingers and toes. Contorted my limbs and pulled my ears.

At one point I felt like I was in a Three Stooges movie. All I needed was a poke in the eye and a “nyuk, nyuk, nyuk”.

This woman weighed only slightly more than a kindergartener but I was using all my will to not punch her in the throat. I am a pacifist by nature but the surge of violence that went through me was startling.

I’m not sure, but I think this might be what it feels like to take bath salts…maybe I was more prepared for the zombie apocalypse than I thought.

Two hours later I limped from the room feeling like I had narrowly escaped death at the hands of a sadistic Thai Lilliputian masseuse.

My enlightened friends told me I just needed to do it on a more continual basis to really feel the great benefits and that I should add in some hot yoga as well.

I smiled at them (my Heath Ledger joker smile, not the friendly Cesar Romero) and soundly flipped them all off.

 

When Irish Eyes Are Blurry – My Time at Microsoft Part Deux

When Irish Eyes Are Blurry – My Time at Microsoft Part Deux

Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.
– Brendan Behan

I’m troubled, I’m dissatisfied. I’m Irish!
– Marianne Moore

I thought it might be time to circle back to the next chapter in my Microsoft adventure.

We left off with my landing in the international translation group at Microsoft after a corporate reorganization. Now, keep in mind that I do not speak any other languages other than “Another drink, please” in almost every tongue on earth as if I were a native.

This linguistic talent does not qualify me to run a program for a major corporation that involves finding and managing local international vendors for culturally sensitive translation services. For a lot of smart people they sure do make some shitty decisions.

You see, before they made the ill-advised choice to give me this job, translators at Microsoft were living in Redmond, Washington but attempting to sound like they were a local sitting in a café in France.

Evidently, no one bought it so the non-English speaking world was turning against us and we were in fear for our very existences (that is just a slight exaggeration…even I can’t ignore that…).

All of this culminated in them packing me up, thrusting me on a plane and farming me out to Ireland to work with our office there to get this all straightened out.

Let me mention here that I am Irish. Half Irish to be accurate but my father refused to acknowledge the other 50% of my DNA as if it somehow insulted him and he wouldn’t speak to it anymore.  His favorite saying was:

“Being Irish was like being a black lab, you could mix any other dog with it but at the end of the day, you still just had a black lab.”

So, until I blog about my Chilean side, I am, for this post, 100% pure, unpolluted black lab Irish.

Oh, and up to this point I had never been out of the country except for the wax museum in Victoria BC and throwing up on the sands of Mazatlan. Not exactly credentials to deal with culturally sensitive issues.

The second I set foot on Irish soil I was home. These are my people – sarcastic, annoyed and mostly drunk. It was like re-entering the womb.

I was swept up by my Irish brethren into the 5-hour work day and the 3:00 pub crawl. We’d share many hours over numerous Guinness.

And, the more Guinness I drank the prettier the designs looked on the foam head. These people are feckin’ artists!

 

Oooooohhhhh, so pretty!

And, the more pretty foam designs I drank, the harder I would try to do an Irish accent, which is melodic and lovely when an Irishman speaks. Coming out of my mouth, however, it sounds just like a drunk vampire.

They, on the other hand, thought everyone from the US sounded either like John F. Kennedy or J.R. Ewing.

Like most Europeans, they eat dinner at midnight. The first night I had dinner out with all my new, snarky Irish friends, we were finishing up our meal at about 1:30AM when everyone ordered coffee. Not any coffee, either, but Turkish coffee. This is the crude oil of coffee drinks. Not wanting to be left out of a great cultural experience, I also ordered Turkish coffee at 1:30AM. Why not?

I’ll tell you why not!! I ended up doing the following for the rest of the night in my hotel room:

  • NOT SLEEPING
  • Watched Irish news for hours on end – in Irish Gaelic
  • Wrote postcards to everyone in my address book – including but not limited to my best friend from 6th grade and several ex-boyfriends.

My last night in my homeland, I was taken to the oldest pub in all of Ireland. I’d question the honesty of that statement if it weren’t for the fact that it was black as coal on the inside and the smell was a combination of what I can only guess is a thousand years of smoke, a hint of Viking sweat and some sort of animal urine.

I assumed I’d be on the dole once they figured out at corporate headquarters that I basically drank my way through our international crisis. So, it was with a splitting headache and a heavy heart that I boarded my flight the next day.

This black lab was sort of sad to go home.

My Big Fat Greek Crisis

My Big Fat Greek Crisis

I don’t want to get all high and mighty, but I will. I predicted the whole Greek economic crisis years ago. That’s right, a liberal arts geek who went to an agricultural college in rural Oregon saw it the moment I stepped on an Olympic Air flight to Crete.

Before I launch into this I will let you know that my darling husband who goes by the name of “Jim” will most likely dispute some or all of my impressions and memories of these events. I, however, dispute his dispute so suck on that!

We were in Athens on our way to Crete to meet up with a bunch of very odd, ragtag people who also thought an REI Adventure Vacation sounded like a really cool thing to do. (More on those details and the idiosyncratic behaviors observed another time.)

We’d been travelling for about 15 hours by the time we lined up (and I use “lined up” in a totally sarcastic way) at the Athens airport to get on the last leg of our trip.

If any of you have been to a Greek airport you know that my entire argument about queuing up and zippering in crowds as being the very foundation of a civilized society simply does not apply here. Without it, it’s anarchy – which is exactly what the Athens airport is.

For being the supposed seat of civilization, its subjects are decidedly uncivilized in a crowd.

There was a literal sea of small, old, babushka-wearing grandmothers, who all bore an uncanny similarity to Larry Bud Melman. As good, order-loving Americans, we allowed these women to cut in front of us in line.

That’s what you do when you are polite and don’t want to be perceived as ugly Americans from Texas (sorry Texans but that’s how we feel about you….if you could just lower your volume a tish….).

These old ladies are an unstoppable force. They seem to work well in small groups, they ignore protocol, don’t take no for an answer and, in head-to-toe black, can go undetected at night like elderly, annoyed ninjas.

When we finally made it on the “plane” (again, sarcastically speaking) we took the first seats we saw. I really don’t think we had assigned seats – pretty sure this is like a metro bus that happens to fly. We sat for a few minutes observing the surrounding din of screaming Greeks, crying children and utter chaos erupt around us.

I SWEAR I heard chickens and saw some feathers come out of a crate a little grandmother was shoving violently in the overhead bin. “Jim” says I was hallucinating but again, I dispute that!

Someone came on with what looked like a bunch of band equipment that would not fit in the overhead. There was a loud argument between the band and the flight attendant until they all seemed to agree it was fine (and well within the Greek aviation safety limits) to just leave it in the aisle.

When it was time for takeoff, we started to buckle up only to find there were no real buckles – or, at least none that actually would secure you in a seat. Pretty sure this aircraft was some remnant from the Greco-Turkish war. I tied my two pieces of fabric around my middle and proceeded to break out in a sweat. This would be fear sweat on top of the temperature and humidity sweat already going on.

I feel I must state here that I seemed to be the only one concerned about any of this. It would appear that this was just another day on an Olympic Air flight for everyone else. This, combined with my lack of sleep, made for a very Twilight Zone vibe. The start of the plane engines sounded like the lawnmower we got off craigslist.

As the wheels lifted from the tarmac, the plane did a sharp bank to the left with literally inches of space between the wing and the asphalt. In fact, I will swear to this day that I not only could see specific pebbles on the runway as I looked out the window, but I saw some sparks come off the wing tip as it dragged along the ground.

Again, Jim disputes this but I say, who had the window seat, dude?

By some miracle of the gods, we ended up in Crete alive.

Listen, people, put the ouzo down and think about it. If you can’t queue up a simple line, you can’t balance a budget. Seat of civilization my ass.

Next time I’m going to Switzerland.