Hero Portlanders Live to Tell of Journey Through America's Savage South
Remember how last week we were talking about the "post-pointless" era of journalism, in which any and all experiences no matter how banal can be packaged as journeys of discovery and wonder, and sold to superficially pop-intellectual sites like Slate and Salon as something that appears just meaningful enough for a bored office worker with an advanced degree to justify wasting ten minutes of her life reading it, only to be left with the mental equivalent of the junk food hangover we get from feasting on an entire bag of unadorned Tostitos™ brand white corn chips?
Yes. Well. We present to you Salon.com's "Escape to the red states: We were tired of Portland's yuppie brunch culture. Volunteer farming could challenge our thinking, and way of life." Sounds promising.
Why were we quitting our jobs [ed.: as "occasional poet and part-time barista, although the latter position I have recently resigned"] and subletting our apartment (effectively putting our lives on hold) to spend our summers sweating on organic farms?
PROVOCATIVE RHETORICAL QUESTION SETS UP LOOMING JOURNEY OF WONDER.
It had something to do with the festering distaste we felt with northern cities, Portland the latest in a succession of such communities that had housed us since birth.
Jenne and I were both raised in Seattle, we began dating in Brooklyn, N.Y., and we moved together to Portland. We had been born and bred in blue America. Our parents held college degrees, professional jobs and predictable points of view on issues like reproductive rights, marriage equality and preemptively launched wars
LIVING STEREOTYPES BECOME SELF-AWARE, IMMEDIATELY GROW TIRED OF SELVES, DECIDE TO TAKE ORGANIC FARMING JOURNEY THROUGH REDDEST AMERICA.
Our destination is somewhat less exotic, though perhaps no less foreign: the southern regions of the United States.
Our decision to venture south of the Mason-Dixon line confounds many of our Northwest friends. They seem to conceive of the South as a backward place: plainly racist, politically reactionary, possibly inbred. It doesn't matter that most of them have never even been.
We won't spoil the journey for you, but suffice it say that our heroes do manage to travel through the South whilst farming and learning many valuable lessons about organic farm work-vacationing along the way. They make it back to Portland at the end. But not without a little bit of life under their belt.
Now, I want to go back. To pour slop for the pigs and harvest squash blossoms in the dawn, before they close up in the heat, and tear bindweed out with my fists. To weed and water and water and weed.
I want to grow.
Well, sure. Whenever you want.