Good lord, the crowds out there! The teeming hordes have all crawled out of their dens, pale as maggots, and descended on every retail outlet here in my part of the planet. It's like a state fair, where all the weird people you've never, ever met, but who clearly live nearby, come shambling out of the forest like lost Innsmouthians, slavering after deep fried Twinkies and corndogs.
I do not miss The Reddest Corner of the Bluest State at all when it comes to shopping. Yes, the crowds were thinner, but they were made up of white folks busy policing everyone else's morals,
folks with too much religion wearing MAGA hats, and they had truck nuts on their vehicles. On a farm truck this form of ornamentation is barely excusable, but on the family sedan it's just heartrending.
I really have felt like a kind of social weight has been lifted from my shoulders here in town. I live in an area with two colleges nearby, so there's a lot of diversity, a lot of young energy, and a huge out and proud LGBTQ+ community too. Many, many hippies. Big pagan presence. Many, many people from places other than Holland. It's wonderful! Example: I can exclaim 'Shit!' absentmindedly and nobody looks at me as though I'd just shot a loop of gut out my ass! I CAN WEAR MY FRANKIE SAYS RELAX t-shirt and people laugh! And talk to me! About the Eighties! Not about how God disapproves of butt sex!
We've been doing a pile of necessary shopping amid all the holiday preppers. Most of it's just been replacing things we lost in the flood, which was kind of boring (Oo, a blender. Oo, a toaster. Oo bedding.) But now the bulk of that is finished, and we've been able to turn our thoughts more toward Christdugongmas and gifts and thank-you cards, and it's starting to be fun again.
'Merry Christdugongmas! Ho ho holy shit I'm drowning!'
Retail is nice. I have nothing against retail. But thrift stores are more fun, and the thrift shopping out in this area of Bellingham is fuckin' nuts, y'all. There are warehouse sized places, small places, weird places, smelly places, clothes only places, machinery and tool - only places, shit; I could keep going but you either get the picture, or you don't care. I've picked up so many high-end items for so cheap lately it's stupid. And that stock revolves, let me tell you. Not a week goes by that they haven't all completely turned their inventory!
And here's something that kind of blew me away, now that I'm back in the new and improved, bigger, better, faster Bellingham I've found that in my absence apparently all of Bellingham has become a Designated Wildlife Corridor. There are warning signs everywhere. I've seen more of Gods lil' critters here in a week than I did in a month out Sumas way. Deer! Birds galore! The fattest, sleekest squirrels you've ever seen, like real American squirrels that need to go on a damn diet and stop wearing tennis shoes everywhere!
Back in 1985, when we first lived in Bellingham, there were the occasional deer, black bear and cougars (the Wilderness Death Kitty kind) roaming around at night right in downtown, and since it invariably follows that where there's deer - and there sure in the fuck are some damn deer -
- there will also be black bear and Wilderness Death Kitties, I can but surmise that there are now more black bears and Wilderness Death Kitties out there too to go along with all the freakin' damn deer.
It's just like living in downtown Portland Oregon again! (sniffle)
And let me make the same parallel when it comes to nutty people. I haven't seen so many free-range nutty people since I left Portland multiple decades of years ago. (Don't make me count on my fingers, just move on.) Portland back in the 1970's was overflowing with floridly nutty motherfuckers. So too is Bellingham lo these many years later. And the odd thing about the nutty population is: if they're wearing a lot of pink? Man or woman, they're meth heads. I've had lots of people tell me the same thing, and it matches up with my observations. Apparently you ingest a certain amount of meth over time and bammo, you're weird as shit and in the girls' apparel aisle shoplifting tutus. Meth heads love them some pink clothes. Dora the Explorer-themed togs are au courant among the meth set, followed by Barbie anything and Glitter Girls. I do not know what this is about, but it's killed my urge to try meth once just to see what it's like.