Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oregon-isms... organisms?

I just couldn't help it, having fun with the play on words. So we have been living here for 6 months now. That makes us locals right? So I guess I would talk about some of the things that are particular to Oregon.

Speed limit: For some reason Oregon did not follow the rest of the US when speed limits were raised back up to pre-1970's embargo days. This means most freeways are still at 55 in the city and 60 out in the middle of nowhere. They also use sand for frozen roads instead of salt which leads to guaranteed window chipping during the winter. I wonder if the two are related?

No sales tax: It is kind of nice going into a dollar store and really paying $1 to buy something. I have a feeling that this has something to do with the belief of eliminating non-graduated taxes. I just know that it is a lot easier to catch being mis-charged for something and walking around with a lot less change in my pocket is nice too.

Pumping gas: In Oregon you are not allowed to pump your own gas. (Fire Marshall says it cuts down on accidents.) One very conservative person complained to me that it was enacted by a liberal government to create more jobs. I also heard a rumor that Oregon still has the highest rate of people driving off with the pump nozzle in their car. (This one makes more sense since there is a larger disconnect between the person and their car) I just know that it does not make much sense in the modern world where everyone pays by card to get out and pay at the pump then wait for someone else to put the nozzle in. It is funny to watch at gas stations near state lines when the gas attendant comes running out because someone didn't know they couldn't pump their own gas.

Rain: Oregon is known for the amount of rain that it gets (At least the west coast is. It is more rainy here then when I lived in Washington). Now that we have made it though the rainy season (down to only raining at night), I have become suspicious of sunny days. In California you know the rain is coming 3 days in advance because it builds up. Here the cloudy/windy/calm/storm/sunny cycle can happen within a couple of hours. I finally broke the habit and now grab my coat without looking outside. (As opposed to California where I would grab my sunglasses without looking.) The rain leads to EVERYTHING outside becoming green. For a lot of lawns it is hard to tell where the grass ends and the moss begins. It is funny to watch tree's leaves turn color and fall only to leave behind a tree still green with moss and ferns growing on it. I did not know that lichens come in a full rainbow of colors. I have to keep reminding myself that moss is not bad like mold. We live in a well insulated apartment so we have not had to worry about mold like some people here.

Coffee: Being in the Northwest means that coffee is an art-form. I'm not to sure of the details since even the smell of coffee makes me ill but supposedly you can tell someone's political leaning based on the brand on their "cup of Joe" (Which everyone has). The only one that I have pinned down so far is Starbucks=staunch conservative (well all relative since Eugene is one of the more liberal places in the U.S.) I think it has something to do supporting big business. It is just weird to have a cup of caffeine be a status symbol. (I guess it's like cocaine in the 80's).

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