Do we really want to be weird anymore/were we ever weird to begin with/can't we just go swimming?
Now before you hop on the first plane to the Suicide Girls strip club, Portland has problems too. A highlight reel of my PDX week could be sold on late night cable TV under the title “White People Gone Wild”. There's terrible gentrification, racial homogeny, rampant unemployment, rising costs of living, three hour waits for brunch, no place to park at hiking reserves, and an eventual earthquake that's going to kill thousands. But the dream of weirdness is as healthy as a hydroponic kale salad.
So what's an Austinite to do when it seems impossibly hard to do even normal things in weird ways? The answer isn't to buy an umbrella [Editor's Note: PDX doesn't actually use umbrellas] and move to a place that's so thirsty for individuality that they literally stole another city's slogan (est. 2000, hijacked in 2003). Maybe it's realizing that our weirdness hasn't disappeared, it's more like an old shirt that doesn't fit well anymore. Eeyore's birthday just doesn't look good on us these days (trust us, we tried it on for size). As the slacker mentality gets squeezed out by growth, maybe we need to pivot our mindset and accept that the only way to Keep It Weird is through frustratingly normal channels, and we might have to wear our hard work on our sleeves.
Or just move to California! I heard that even though they're out of water, the grass is still as green as ever.
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Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national eat and drink team. In 2011 he scrawled “I'm moving to L.A.” on a T-shirt in neon marker and wore it all week during SXSW. Follow him to more jokes about California at @Dannosphere.