PORTLAND—You really fucking suck sometimes. This I, Anonymous ["Small Talk," Aug 4, in which the author deplores the perceived insincerity of friendly grocery store employees] pissed me off to no end, and made me consider moving away from Portland for the first time in my life. I've always heard that places like New York were full of unfriendly people who pushed passed you on the street and screamed insanities if you were moving too slow. After spending this past week in different parts of New York City, I realized that New Yorkers are actually MORE friendly and down to earth than most of the people I run into in Portland. If being forced to talk to a stranger for 30 seconds out of your day really drives you that crazy, go to Whore Foods, where they will ring up your $7 coconut water in silence.
DEAR MERCURY—How about the bikers that don't watch where they are going, or the bikers that run red lights in front of traffic often, or the bikers that squeeze between cars so they can be in the front at the light, not watching to see cars with turn signals on, or the bikers that intentionally ride the center of the traffic lane when they have plenty of room to be along the curb, or the bikers who don't have proper lights/reflectors and are nearly invisible at night, or the drunken bikers who often get hit by cars because they're riding drunk ["What Causes Bike Crashes?" News, Aug 11, regarding factors such as infrastructure and transportation trends in accounting for the recent uptick in collisions]? I have had to slam on my brakes more times for an asshole biker than an asshole driver in this city.
This little column's sort of like the Michele Bachmann Newsweek cover, right ["What's Your Story??" Feature, Aug 11, in which author Alec Quig interviews people on the streets of Portland. Hit blogtown.portlandmercury.com for more in the ongoing series.] Like if you freak enough people out and generate enough disturbed buzz, it's gotta be worth it, right?
-posted by Ron
I happen to think this concept is a GREAT ONE ["What's Your Story??" Feature, Aug 11]! I like the author's take on it, and his goofy questions. We are becoming more and more of a self-involved, ethnocentric, finger-pointing people. The more we realize the other person is just a GOTTDAMN human being, the better for us all! Excellent new section.
-posted by Dr. Pickles... the real human pickle
As a bisexual nerd, I think Matthew is being rather oversensitive and should look into finding the source of his anger and how to deal with it ["A Lonely Fight for Geek Rights," Letters, Aug 11, in which the author equates the use of terms like "geek" with racial and homophobic slurs, to which Mercury Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey responds by pointing out the offensiveness of such a disproportionate comparison]. The larger portion of the nerd and geek society has embraced the term and identity, and wears it proud. Though, the Mercury didn't do anyone any favors by going for the cheap answer. The GLBT community does face a (diminishing!) threat of daily violence outside mostly safe places like Portland, but most aren't dragged to death. And while there is still (illegal) slavery in the world, it isn't limited to one race.
-posted by Frost Indri
THANK YOU, FROST, for further aiding in the reining in of hyperbole surrounding this issue. For your peacekeeping efforts we give you two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch at the People's Sandwich of Portland, where everyone is probably too busy eating to notice whether or not you are a geek or a bisexual anyhow.