- The unhappiest American city: so says Business Week. Can this be right? Bollocks, say my hosts, but they have a reason: evidently Portland is the mother church of cheap/free and readily accessible mental health care. Who said that the doctor's definition of a healthy patient is one whose case hasn't been worked up yet?
- Theater: I took in a production of Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest on the Portland Center Stage at NW 11th and Counch (link). It was agreeable enough in itself but what stuck in my mind is that these people--the audience, I mean--are clean. Not pathologically clean, but pleasantly so--reasonably scrubbed and trimmed and manicured, with mostly wrinkle-free slacks and jackets.
I found this surprising. I don't think of Portlanders as depressive, but I do think of them as scruffy. Evidently I have been spending my time in the wrong part of town (southeast, between Hawthorne and Reed College). It's a funky and relaxed environment, but with no shortage of grunge.
My friend Virginia clarifies: the theatre is in the Pearl District which is to begin with mostly upscale. And since customers don't have to walk far from their condos to the box office, they don't get quite so beaten down as they would if they really had to cope with Portland's perennial grey damp.