Hello everybody in the 50/50 universe. Due to Alicia recovering from surgery these next few weeks, you all are going to be stuck with me, Megan. So be prepared for my musings on the trip, dating, Alicia, and everything. And though, if I had my rather, I would exist entirely in a Princess Bride/Doctor Who mash up universe, perhaps I can entertain you until Alicia’s triumphant return.
And now, back to the beginning.
Beginnings are hard. First days of school, first day at a new job, first dates: all difficult. Now imagine you are going on the first date of fifty first dates, and you have been put in the role of creepy, stalker, camera girl, and you can start to wrap your mind around what I was going through in Portland. It was also hot, and it has no right to be hot in Portland. As far as I am concerned, there should always be a fog bank nearby for the cast of Grimm to wander out of.
Beginnings are hard, and this neighborhood of Portland was just beginning in a new life, and it was trying too hard. Trying to be Portlandia, the expectation and the ideal. Posing a giant chicken and egg problem in my mind. Was the show directly lifted from the town? Or was this neighborhood using the show as justification? It was trying too hard not to be new, not to be fake, which just drove the point of its recent gentrification into even sharper focus. A community that had been created whole cloth just years earlier, desperate to have history, striving to be a thing, a place and a reason. When starting out something new, the instinct is to make it work as fast as you can, but you end up trying too hard and too fast, forcing the thing into something you didn’t envision, and don’t necessarily want now.
Beginnings are hard, and Oregon was trying too hard. He was throwing everything he had at Alicia, from his dreams of chickens, to homebrew, pausing at coffee roasting before transitioning into the fact he didn’t use napkins. Anything he thought he could say or do to try to impress her, he trumpeted out like a parade of all things Oregon. What he didn’t try, from what I could tell from my eavesdropping position of two tables away, is ask what Alicia had to think about any of it. And while this date seemed to be going well, I could only imagine what their fourth date would look like, after he had run the gamut from his third grade baseball participation trophy to his dreams of Pinky and the Brain-esque world domination plans? When he would finally have to look at Alicia, and hear what she had to say, not just the projection and hopes he was shining on her.
Beginnings are hardest when there is no history. After listening to me complain about how clingy guys from the Internet often came across to me, my friend Andy postulated that the reason guys tried so hard was that like Portland, they were trying to fast track history, mainly, your history together. Where years gone by, you would flirt over the water cooler before being asked out, now you suddenly find yourself at a bar auditioning your life to a stranger, and in that situation, who wouldn’t want to trot out the 5’s you got on your AP tests? But I think that backfires, and we get hung up on rigmarole trying to impress each other and not enjoying the ride. Maybe, just maybe, relationships (and towns) need time to grow into their full potential. Beginnings are hard, but enjoy it, because you only get to start something once.
Make your own Venn diagram about Alicia’s and Meg’s experiences in Portland by checking back to Alicia’s remembrance of the first first date.