Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Saturday morning was one of those rare weekend days when I was actually kind of excited to get up early, for it was the day when all the Santas flock to downtown Portland for Santacon. Ever since I moved back to Portland and read Chuck Palahniuk's Fugitives & Refugees I have wanted to know more about this event, so I made it my business to be shopping at Saturday Market at the time appointed for Santa to meet at Skidmore Fountain. This year I only watched, took some pictures, and collected some swag (a stuffed santa, candy), but I can already tell that next year will I feel the need to amass some cohorts and procure a wintery red dress with some leopardy muppet fur trim!

The truth is that I am completely taken with the concept and LOVE that there are people in the world who feel compelled to organize such outings. The event (which apparently attracts 100's of Santas) is basically a day long bar crawl interspersed with breaks for activities like Santa Tug-o-War. If nothing else, it is an awesome visual, but more than that, it just looks so FUN. As someone who could use more fun in her life, I say "Yeah, PDX Cacophany Society!" (and thank you to the Santa who gave me the little chocolate bottle filled with Southern Comfort - you didn't know it, but I actually do have a soft spot for a little bourbon now and then!).

But the weekend wasn't only about Santa. I also enjoyed visiting Saturday Market for the first time in a while AND managed hear some really awesome blues AND got the bulk of my Christmas shopping done in the process. I am really pleased to say that most of this year's Christmas gifts will NOT involve big chain stores or mass producers of merchandise. It is such a small thing, but it feels really good to support local businesses and artisans.

Because it was also the day my kicker check arrived and I was feeling cheery and generous, I treated my mom to lunch at the Oyster Bar. And who should be sitting there at the bar when we walked in but Santa(s)? One of my big memories of childhood is having lunch there with my mother whenever we went to the market. She would have oysters and I would have scallops. The place was much as I remembered it, but different too. I'm not sure if it's my age or if I just didn't notice when I was a kid, but it seemed a little nicer than it does in my memory.

Mostly, I remember the Oyster Bar of my youth as a place with a neverending bounty of free crackers on the table and where the waitresses were all old, called me "honey" and looked like they should have diner names like "Vi" and "Flo". They still have the same glass containers of oyster crackers and the decor is about the same, but the waitresses are younger and the menu a little more evolved with salads less iceberg and thousand island oriented (which is fine with me, since I personally think that if gack were a dressing, it would be thousand island).

Either way, it was good and I enjoyed going back. It was a lovely day that wasn't even thwarted by the abyssmally poor service we received by from the customer service grinch in the plumbing department at the True Value Hardware on Sandy in Parkrose on the way home. If you passed not even remotely helpful and travelled another thousand miles, you'd be at about his level of customer service. On the other hand, if you ever have a leak and are hoping that someone will suggest when go looking for a part that you hire someone to fix it (ostensibly because you are just a silly girl, who could never understand the intricacies of plumbing), that's your place to shop.

So, in conclusion: Huzzah, Santa, Blues & Oysters! Boo and a stocking full of coal to all misogynistic hardware store dweebs! I may be a stupid girl, but that won't stop me from ripping your arm off and beating you with it! (Being a passive-aggressive pacifist is what stops me from doing that, even if it doesn't stop me from making snarky references to you in blog posts and giving you the stink eye when you're not looking...)


Sonya said...

your blogs always cheer me up! Thanks for the card :)

Martina said...

Awww, thanks! I am happy to be part of your cheering process. Thank YOU for the card. It was the first one I got this year!