Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bend Snobbery Totally Sucks

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 southwest southeast side holds that dubious distinction. But Broken Top was more expensive and had more "upscale"appeal from the get-go, and after it the floodgates of phoniness opened and the snobs poured in.

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.


Jack Elliott said...

My son lives on the Eastside, near St. Chaz. He considers himself an Eastsider. But there are places on the Eastside where he, in his capacity as a locksmith, does not care to venture, citing rednecks and meth craziness. Once such area is near The Supply Depot, the "military surplus" shop just south of the 3rd St. underpass. There are other sections of the Eastside where he doesn't feel comfortable, either. He does not find similarly dangerous neighborhoods on the Westside.

As for occupied single-wides, no one has yet done an adequate census on how many are on the Eastside vis-รก-vis the Westside, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager that it's a 100:1 ratio.

Not that there's anything wrong with living in a mobile home.

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Not that there's anything wrong with living in a mobile home."

"Not that I would ever live in one, of course, ha ha!"

Spoken like a true Westside snob.

H. Bruce Miller said...

FYI, the photo at the top of this post actually shows Jack Elliott, The Best-Smelling Man in Bend(TM), at his morning toilette. Or toilet.

Rich Ray, Speaking Soley for himself said...

We only leave the West Side for one reason - the big box stores. Otherwise we hob nob with our own kind on the West Side.

Jack Elliott said...

Who's being quoted with "Not that I would ever live in one, of course, ha ha!"?

Huh? Whazzat? I never said that.

In fact, I've often thought that, should my financial and familial worlds fall out from under me I might find myself living out of Mellow Yellow, my '84 VW poptop camper van out in the boonies somewhere.

But yeah, HBM did somehow get a picture of me taking care of business. That's invasion of privy.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Rich: "Our own kind"? What kind is that? Snobs, phonies and poseurs?

H. Bruce Miller said...

But Westside poseurs are glad enough to take the property taxes of the Eastsiders to build fancy roads and schools for "their own kind."

H. Bruce Miller said...

"Huh? Whazzat? I never said that."

I was reading between the lines, Jack. Many of you Westsiders feign great humility, but we Eastsiders know better.

Jack Elliott said...

Read between your own darn lines, Miller, and leave mine unmolested.

"Many of you Westsiders feign great humility, but we Eastsiders know better."

Sounds like you're projecting your own lack of self-esteem onto others! We think Eastsiders are fine. Despite having all his teeth, my son's an Eastsider.

vgorilla said...

It seems you can't have wealth without having poor. You can't have a west side if you don't have an east side. Both sides need each other to survive.

Those railroad tracks sure are convenient. Without that, you might actually have to acknowledge each others humanity (and your interdependence).

Carl said...

The first time I saw this pix it was attributed to an Obamatron asking where his free stuff was? Turns out to be multi-purpose, huh?

H. Bruce Miller said...

Carl: I think it's more likely a Teabagger phoning to ask why his unemployment check hasn't arrived yet.

Marshall_Will said...

Meh... most folks I know that are Tea Partiers are self-employed and file as sole proprietors, dentists, doctors, merchants etc.

Unless you're large enough to file as a Sub S ( which is kind of expensive for a mom & pop ) and doing payroll deductions, you're better off just setting aside some savings to tide you over.

Like about 4 YEAR'S worth. But thanks for the cheapshot all the same.

H. Bruce Miller said...

I didn't know you were a Teabagger, Marshall.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Marshall: I didn't let your response to my last post go through because this isn't a political blog and I don't want to turn it into a forum for the exchange of political views. Sorry.

Unknown said...

Your post could have been filed under Portland Sux. It has always been the West side and the East side. (We live on the East side.)

On a side note, I go running at 4:30 am as a sign of intelligence. Less chance of getting in the cross fire of the 31 gang related shootings we have had since January (in Portland and yes all on the East side). By then the gang bangers are finally asleep.

Barely naked. said...

If the westside wasn't snobby and fake as hell already, the rip-off thrift store 'GOODWILL" Still parks at Newport markUP everyday.