Saturday, May 27, 2006

In Praise of White Trash

I'm back in Portland for the moment. It's been a really wonderful vacation, just exactly what I needed. I spent the afternoon at my prom-date's wedding up in Olympia, Washington, and now I'm back at my mom's in Cedar Hills, Oregon doing laundry and resting up a bit before I head to the airport to fly home tonight.

A large part of my trip was spent driving through small, out of the way places in rural Oregon and Washington. I made an effort to avoid the interstates and stuck to small country backroads -- the scenery was spectacular. I'll have pictures coming soon.

But goodness gracious, I encountered some colorful folk on this trip.

Overheard in Centralia

Father in overalls and baseball cap: Hey, know what they say when it's rainin'?

Buck-toothed kid: Nah.

Father: They say that's God takin' a piss.

Kid: (obnoxious laugh that I can't find a way to describe but next time you see me ask me to demonstrate)

Father: Yup yup. Know what they say when there's thunder?

Kid: God's fartin'?

Father: Heh heh, you shore are one smart kid.

Me: [aside] Oh, dear Lord!

Timeless Fashion

The hair. Oh, my God, the hair. It's not 80's or even 70's, it's just white trash. It's like they go to the salon and ask for thin and stringy cut (or not) in whatever fashion is absolutely the least flattering for their face. It's not big hair, it's just bad. Big hair would be a major improvement. I mean, these people still do the feathers on the sides of their face and/or have the fountain bangs going on. Or the remants of their peroxide job have been scrunchied back into a tight ponytail.

The eyeliner. They don't tend to wear any makeup other than eyeliner. And lots of it. It's like they're worried Cleopatra or Maria Callas might come back at any moment and they wouldn't want her to feel self-conscious. Of course, Maria Callas could come back and she might as well be Eleanor of Acquitaine for all these people would know or care. Do they use petroleum to make eyeliner? We might be able to reduce our dependency on foreign oil just by hiring a make-up consultant for Benton County, Oregon.

And Yet There's Hope

So one of my goals for my trip was to go to a redneck bar one night and just see if I could fit in. Well, I didn't get beat up, so I guess I passed the test. It was nice, everyone was pretty friendly. I just didn't mention that I work for a gay civil rights organization.

Though on the other hand, it might not have mattered. The bar I picked was dark, smoky, smelled like stale beer, had peanut shells all over the floor, and was playing loud honky-tonk. They had many televisions, each tuned to a different sports event, except for the big screen TV, which was set to American Idol. The sound was off, but I was encouraged that it was on. (Yay, Taylor!)

One guy looked like the kind you wouldn't want to piss off. He must have been 6'4, at least, with a big, burly beard, steel-toed boots, and a plaid flannel shirt over a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it. But I liked him. I liked him a lot. Know why? Because the "skull" on his shirt was George Bush and under the crossbones it read "IDIOT."

Now, if you were watching the Idol finale, you know that the performer formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince who now, I believe, is called Prince, again, made a surprise guest appearance.

Redneck: Now, that is what I call a fag.

Woman with bangs: Honey, don't be crude.

Redneck: Oh, I'm not sayin' he's gay. I don't know or care if he's homosexual, but you gotta admit, he is a fag.

Me: [silently concurring]

Redneck: I mean, show me one person gayer than Prince.

Me: [thinking] Well...

Anyway, as I said, it was a great vacation, totally what I'd hoped for. (Okay, it could have rained less. Sigh.) I'm off to the airport -- I'll be in New York first thing in the morning.


little-cicero said...

THAT is the heart and soul of America. Unfortunately you liberals will never take hold of it. He he he!

Matthew said...


Glad you are having a good time. "colorful" is a great way to describe them. As a North Carolina native, I've the met the Southern version of those folks.


The heart and soul of America wears anti-Bush shirts and doesn't care who is homosexual? This might bode well for electoral change =)

Future Geek said...

Redneck: Oh, I'm not sayin' he's gay. I don't know or care if he's homosexual, but you gotta admit, he is a fag.

Me: [silently concurring]

I laughed out loud at that Andy.

I had a similar experience at work - a new supervisor came in, short, muscular, shaven bald, with about a 6 inch long, thick goatee. I was thinking, "skinhead", but one day someone was talking about Rush Limbaugh and the new super said "He's a @%$#$#@ idiot. Him and President Bush. They need to send them both over to Iraq."

So appearances can be deceiving.

kr pdx said...

Now Andy, remember the time you griped about the LA fashion critic who was yarping about Portland's "horrible" footwear? You know, "WHAT are they THINKING with those huge SOLES? Platforms are so 199(whatever)!" Um, yeah, except where it RAINS ALL THE TIME, close-minded LA fashion geek.

Maybe those high bangs and side feathers keep farm bugs out of their eyes and ears ... you know, like the long eyelashes on a camel for protection from sand. It could be evolutionary adaptation or something ;).

The eyeliner? That's harder. Perhaps to help others focus past their hairspray altered headshape ... ?

Andy said...

Honestly KR, I have zero recollection of such a conversation. I am intrigued by your natural selection theory of white trash fashion, however.

jwc said...

i DO read your blog you crazy bitch. i am NOT gay.

Andy said...

Does your boyfriend know?

Jade said...

It's not 80's or even 70's, it's just white trash.

Andy, I had no idea you would run into my sister, I'm sorry! ;)
KR - I like the evolutionary theory of the Big Hair as well... I always thought it was to define a circle around oneself so that nobody invades your space while line dancing.

Centralia is an OK place to stop for a "home style" meal while you're on the road.

Andy said...

I was at a Jack-in-the-Box. Mmmm, curly fries!

kr pdx said...

Jade: :)! The line-dance theory would be self-propigating, too ... once you commit to that spacing, more line dances would result ;).