|A Bend Eastsider relaxing at home, as envisioned by a Bend Weststider.|
When we moved to Bend back in 1985, there wasn't much snobbery in this town. There were some rich people, and everybody knew who they were. But they didn't drive around in Bentleys or Maseratis or otherwise flaunt their wealth. They drove and wore pretty much the same things everybody else drove and wore.
That started to change in the early 1990s, when Bend began to promote itself not just as a place to visit for a few days for the hunting or fishing or skiing, but as an "outdoor recreation paradise" with an "upscale lifestyle" where affluent people should make their permanent residence.
I believe the watershed event was the opening of Broken Top, a snooty gated golf course community located on the northwest edge of Bend, in 1993. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Broken Top was not Bend's first gated community; Mountain High on the
There are several kinds of snobbery operating in Bend. One, of course, is money snobbery, which is found in almost any community of any size. Another kind that's more peculiar to Bend is the snobbery of the jocks and -- mostly -- the jock poseurs.
The local media constantly tell everybody that Bend is packed wall-to-wall with "elite athletes." But bona fide "elite athletes" are pretty damn rare; there probably aren't more than about a hundred of them in Bend. But there must be at least 100 times that many Bendoids trying to pose as elite athletes.
These are the silly twits who are always wearing running shorts or bicycling tights or yoga pants (not that I have any real problem with yoga pants per se). They'e constantly posting on Facebook about how "awesome" their morning workout was, or telling you about their performance in their last triathlon and how they're going to totally kick ass in this year's Pole Pedal Paddle. They're ridiculous.
Equally ridiculous, if not more so, is the snobbery that residents of Bend's Westside display toward residents of the Eastside. As Westsiders see it, the Eastside is a forbidding, repugnant and probably dangerous place full of tumble-down shacks and rusting single-wides inhabited by drooling redneck semi-imbeciles who live on Twinkies, Dr. Pepper and methamphetamine, spend their evenings slouched in front of the TV watching NASCAR and ultimate cage fighting, and (very likely) marry their sisters.
It's a false image, but I don't mind encouraging it if it helps keep the Spandex-clad, jock-poseur, Westside hoi polloi away.