Like Oregon, But Not

Published 2006-12-04

Hey Transplants to the Pacific Northwest! Remember your first winter in [Oregon | Washington | British Columbia | SE Alaska]? Remember how, after about 60 days or so of ceaseless drizzly gray, you woke up one morning and heard the rain outside and realized “I don’t need to think about what to wear today. I won’t need to think about what to wear ever again. Because it’s raining today for the 61st day in a row and it will rain every. Day. For the rest. Of my life.”? Remember the day, perhaps around early December, when it was sunny for most of one morning and that only made it worse because then in the afternoon it clouded over and started raining again, but now you had that one glimmer of hope that “maybe this time it won’t last 60 days?” Remember how that felt?

Now imagine all that is happening to you, but subtract:

  • The rain
  • The lush green foliage the rain sustains
  • The velvety smell of cedars and fir-trees, emanating from the said foliage
  • The just-washed clean, crisp air, through which you see the distant hillsshrouded, as if in a sumi painting, in a veil of life-sustaining moisture.

And replace it with:

  • Coal soot, smog, the vapor rising off untreated sewage, yellowish steam pouring from innumerable smokestacks, tire dust, concrete dust, plain old dirt dust
  • Grayish withered foliage powdered with a fine layer of all that stuff
  • The pungent odor of [see ab.]
  • The stagnant, icy, filthy filthy air, through which you can vaguely discern the shapes of buildings you know for a God-given fact are barely a mile away.

Sunny this morning, about 70 deg. F.