find myself a city to live in

28 Mar

For a while I have been wondering why Portland seems so much like home to me, even more than Cape Cod, where I grew up, does. Obviously, I’m not a little kid anymore, and I couldn’t stay with my family forever, and I live with my boyfriend  and I have a job and friends here, but I guess I never fully expected to fit in anywhere the way I feel I do here. I didn’t even notice how comfortable I had become until I went to a store called Ranch and Home in Kennewick, Washington, and was thoroughly stared at. To be fair, I was wearing this outfit:


I didn't think I looked weird

And Ranch and Home is the store where I saw this sign:

good deal


Still, I was not expecting the tough-looking-but-tiny saleslady to come right up to me, slooooowly look me up and down, and sneer, “May I…” (long long look at my silver heels) “…help you?”

It seems like such a small thing, and I did find it more funny than offensive, but it wasn’t until then that I realized how long it had been since I had been openly gawked at. For most of my life, whether I tried to tone it down or not, I was usually thought of (and treated) as the weird girl– in school, at work, in church, walking down the street. I kinda got used to people staring. As a kid, it never even occurred to me to try to conform. I was awkwardly tall, with a beak of a nose and a mop of bright red hair. People were going to notice me no matter what I wore, so I might as well have fun. I wore a necktie on my first day of preschool, and there was no looking back.

I don’t want this to sound self-pitying. I would be a total jerk if I expected to be able to dye my hair green without old men constantly saying, “I think you got something in your hair.” But still, this feeling that I belong is something I didn’t experience outside of my family until I moved here, and it happened so easily that I almost didn’t notice.

I should also note that scary salesladies aside, Ranch and Home is a great place to buy cowboy-cut jeans. And saddles. And boots that cost more  than my rent.

7 Responses to “find myself a city to live in”

  1. Aileen March 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

    This makes me happy. Plus, seeing your outfit put a certain zing in my night that wasn’t there before.

  2. Josh Grimmer March 28, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I know exactly how you feel. I went back to the Cape a few months ago on vacation. Despite staying in my parents’ house, sleeping in my old bedroom, I felt homesick.

    Then again, I hate my family and it was shitty and rainy back home. Los Angeles is usually shitty, but seldom rainy.

  3. Rusty March 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    You may have been the weird girl at church, but you were objectively not the weirdest kid there by a long shot. You had the sense to not wear your Marilyn Manson merchandise as your Sunday best.

    • Kate March 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

      Holy crap I forgot about Tom!

  4. Mike March 30, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    Cowboy cut jeans? Did you tell brian? And why didn’t you bring me home any knives?! At those prices I think I can deem you criminally negligent!

    Also, I like your blog and it has almost nothing to do with the talking heads reference in the title (or with you being my girlfriend).

  5. Daniel Berman March 30, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Hey, we saw your post, we try to provide excellent customer service. If you can better describe the “tough looking but tiny saleslady” we will look further into the situation. Please contact us if there is any way we can be of further service to you.

    • Kate March 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

      Wow, I never thought you guys would see this! Honestly, I really loved your store, and I feel it would be wrong of me to get anyone in trouble for staring at what was, to be fair, a pretty crazy outfit. I found the situation to be pretty funny, and it’s totally possible I was being oversensitive. Though my writing style can be a bit dramatic, I would hate for this blog to upset anybody, and I don’t want this post to be misconstrued as a knock against your store, because both locations were wicked cool. My aunt got some supercute pajamas there, and I am impressed that your company would take the time to write to me!

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