Hey, it's almost summer! It's sunny-ish! What a wonderful week to be alive in Portland, Oregon—oh wait OH NO HERE COME THE BATTLESHIPS, IT'S GODDAMN FLEET WEEK.
Fleet Week is not a treasured Portland celebration. It's a huge fuckin' hassle. I'm not saying the ships shouldn't be able to dock here and give the sailors a break—everyone needs a break—I'm just not excited about it. Here's my case:
Things That Are Good About Fleet Week:
1. Hundreds of guys running around in natty sailor outfits steps up the absurdity of downtown Portland. A phalanx of dudes in matching garb fit for Chippendale dancers make an awesome band, excellent karaoke companions, and take the pressure off Portland cops being the constant target of bachelorettes' affections.
2. Battleships* are pretty cool looking.
Things That Are Terrible About Fleet Week:
1. Bridge lifts completely screw over downtown commuters. This is bad every year, but yesterday, the Steel Bridge had a mechanical problem that kept it stuck in the air, delaying TriMet riders for ages. Here's the list of planned Trimet delays for Monday. Ugh.
2. The waterfront turns from a heavily-used public park into a giant cage.
3. Rampant, semi-hysterical security concerns. The Navy asks the police to enforce a series of ever-changing "security" rules that seem ridiculous. For example: Yesterday, police were blocking people from biking and walking westbound on the north side of the Burnside Bridge, but cars could still drive over. Let's just *say* I was hypothetically hellbent on committing an act of terror like dropping a bucket full of zines about Lyndon LaRouche onto the battleships docked below the Burnside. Not being able to bike or walk across the bridge is not going to stop me—I could just drive, quickly hop out of my car, and make the propaganda dump. In the meantime, hundreds of people biking and walking home from work were inconvenienced.
4. The Fleet Week infusion of drunkards leads to a downtown crime spike.
5. Celebration of militarism. I'm not going to go all KBOO on this point, but I just can't really get psyched about throwing a party for killing machines. If these weapons weren't boats and their operators didn't wear cute hats, we wouldn't be so excited about them.
BONUS: Terrible but probably good, I guess, thing about Fleet Week
1. The battleships unearth dead bodies, which float to the surface of the Willamette. Yikes.
*The technical term for these ships is not battleships but "navy vessels," I believe. If you're not like me and actually care about things like navy vessels, here's some info on them.