Friday, December 04, 2015

Touring @ Home


The area of the world in which I live is undergoing a lot of development, and is certainly not alone in that regard.  Portland is sprouting new skyscrapers, not nearly as tall as New York's, but still part of a growing skyline.  There's a cable car, and a new bridge, open to public transit, foot and bicycle traffic, presumably Segways are fine.

So just to stay mentally more in sync with the times, it pays to get into tourist mode from time to time, and re-visit your home turf.  Those of you living in boom town China will know what I mean I'm guessing.  Drive around and go "wow", or just walk around here in Asylum District, noticing all the turnover.  When did that Growlers move in?   I'm not drinking beer these days but it doesn't all revolve around me, pizza world either.

So that's what I did today.  Actually my driver is a citizen from the neighboring state so really what we did is visit his home town of Vancouver, which is not the big one in Canada, but a small one just over the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.

The great religious wars that have left so many scars in our region, made it illegal to openly partake of various medicines that have lately become commercialized.  I asked my driver if this were a sign of a weakening central government but he just laughed at that.  States are laboratories and some states get to go first when it comes to experimenting with legalization of new categories of formerly criminalized substance.  Lots of new rule-making, lots of new careers.  So we studied that scene some (I was the more gaga as my driver is a native).

Let me assure my readers, many of whom are far away, that my neighboring state of Oregon is part of the experiment too, as is Colorado and a few others.  In other states I think they've just lowered the fines, this is not my specialty.  Anyway, the rule-making has progressed a lot further in Washington so I was not just seeing "more of the same" (like in Asylum District).

One could say I was in another country, which in the EU would be true, the USA being zoned like an EU, to have "countries inside" called "States of America" (not forgetting "United" by freeways and lots of airports -- I liked the trains a lot too).  We don't need passports or paperwork to move around, though actually there is usually paperwork, or web forms, to fill in.  Touring is easy but changing one's state of residence takes a lot of filing.

In addition to the fifty federally recognized States and myriad Territories (Oregon used to be one of those), sovereignty rights of N8V peoples show on maps.  Warm Springs Reservation for example.

Anyway, I learned a lot, not so much about changes in infrastructure, as with Tilikum Crossing (the new bridge), but about patterns of social and cultural behavior, more economic matters, as well as mental / social.  I'll need some time to digest what I've learned.