Friday, August 13, 2010
Dallas Vs. Portland
I reside near Dallas, Texas, but I am currently visiting Portland, Oregon. These are two very different places. Want to know the differences? Of course you do.
1. Dallas is hot. Portland is not. Portlanders say it is unseasonably cool this summer, but even ‘normal’ in the Northwest is most often under 100. The central air vents are in the floor. When I left Texas, it was close to 110 degrees, and I’m currently basking in the mid 70’s. Every ten minutes or so, I exclaim, ‘I can’t believe we’re actually outside!’
2. Portlanders recycle. Public places like the zoo and the science museum contain at least one recycle bin for every trash can. The domestic recycle bins dwarf the trash bins as they sit side by side on the curb. Little kids role play tree huggers. None of this happens in Dallas. Especially the tree hugging part.
3. Dallas is ugly. Yes, I said it: flat and dried up with scant vegetation. Most everything is paved, and, unless you pay to water it, the grass turns yellow and crunchy. In Portland, serious forests and hills intertwine the entire urban landscape, even along the freeways. At any moment, a fairy could pop out of these woods and enchant you...in a good way, I think.
4. Portlanders do more than drive LOVs (low occupancy vehicles) to get places. They ride public transportation. They ride bicycles in their very own lane on the streets. They even (gasp) walk; sidewalks are everywhere, and people actually use them. Dallasites turn their noses up at public transportation, vent their road rage at cyclists, and assume anyone on foot has a screw loose.
5. Dallasites spend a lot of time and money on appearances. Make up, clean shaven-jaws, professional salon hair, name-brand clothing, certain types of surgeries. They reapply lipstick in public and check themselves in reflective windows. Portlanders wear beards and pony tails, seldom dye their hair, and dress in loose-fitting, natural fibers. Most babies are worn instead of carried, and just about everybody has a backpack.
6. Portland does not have Red Imported Fire Ants. If you live in the Southeast, you know and hate these little buggers. They made their way from Brazil via boat to Alabama in the Thirties and have been migrating across the U.S. ever since. They haven’t reached Portland yet...Yet. Just you wait, Portlanders. Your lovely outdoor fun will not be so lovely soon enough. Mwa-ha-ha-ha (I like to think fire ants laugh maniacally at West-Coasters like Dr. Evil does at Austin Powers).
Thanks, Nancy, for pointing out my bias. New things always get more weight with me; I have that grass-is-greener syndrome. Upon reflection, I'm adding some spectacular things about Dallas to the list.
7. Dallas has the best shopping. There are seven malls within half an hour of my house. Just about anything that others have to order by internet, I can get in a store somewhere locally.
8. Dallas is the restaurant mecca. I've heard that Dallas can make or break a restaurant start-up. There is every kind of imaginable cuisine, both chain and mom-and-pop establishments. Restaurants are born and die everyday along the many Restaurant Rows, so, even if you ate out every day, you'd never have to eat at the same place twice.
9. Dallas has professional basketball, hockey, baseball, and football. The Ballpark in Arlington and the new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys are feats in engineering, technology and architecture. The American Airlines Center is pretty, cool.
10. People in Dallas have some of that Southern hospitality. Fort Worth residents have even more. I don't know Portlanders enough to say anything about their friendliness on a big scale, but I do know Dallasites, and a lot of them are pretty nice people.
11. DFW has cool attractions. Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor. The Texas State Fair. Horse racing at Lone Star Park. Car racing at Texas Motor Speedway. Fort Worth Stock Yards and Mesquite Rodeo. Fort Worth Zoo and Dallas Zoo. There's also all those urban art things like ballet, opera, museums, etc.
12. Dallas has very affordable cost-of-living. You get more square footage and acreage for your dollar than you would in Portland.