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There is No Pizza Here

I’ve been despondent since September because there is no pizza in Portland. Yes, there are places that say that they serve something called “pizza” but they’re lying. Pizza doesn’t look like that. Pizza doesn’t taste like that either. Making pizza is an art form and if you don’t do it right, people from New York will look at you angrily and be hungry because now they have nothing to eat. Sure, these angry people could appear cold and emotionless, as if they don’t care about your feelings, but they’re not sociopaths, they are upset about the travesty that’s being presented in front of them. Let me show you what pizza actually looks like:







This is what New York pizza looks like and even a bad version of this is better than what exists in this town. I was absolutely horrified the first time I ordered pizza. The place that I called insisted that it was similar to New York pizza and it looked like this:

That is not pizza and please do not pretend that it is. Do not attach the word “pizza” to that horrible piece of garbage. You should be ashamed of yourself if you even remotely consider that thing to be in the same category of what is produced at Ray’s Pizza, Famous Famiglia, John’s Pizza, and other traditional pizza joints including of course Big Nick’s that exist in New York and serve pizza. I’m offended every time I see a “pizza place” here. I want to punch through the glass windows and demand that they close their restaurant immediately. I want to have my friends in New York send me real pizza in the mail so I can through slices of awesomeness at the employee’s faces. They deserve to be confronted with an authentic piece of pizza rather than a sham.

These people are liars and they are insulting us by trying to pretend that what they have produced is in the same category of greatness and the triangular wonder I grew up eating on paper plates or no plates at all. Plates were optional actually, and I

refused a paper bag when I was offered it because that was a sure fire way to compromise the integrity of the pizza. Don’t mess with perfection and real pizza has the ability to eradicate genocide and cure diseases. We want to acknowledge something beautiful rather than soiling its name with a product that is an imposter and not even a convincing one. It’s like a person wearing a white sheet and insisting that they are actually a ghost. That’s not convincing at all; you’re obviously a human in a sheet being ridiculous, and you should go sit down and eat some fake pizza while you’re at it.

I would like to start pizza education classes for those human beings who are unaware of what they are missing. You might not be upset if you don’t know what to look out for. That’s why I’m here to educate you. The first sign of a good slice of pizza is that the crust is thin but not too think. It should have a crispy feel to it as well. There is also a matter of the sauce, it should be seasoned properly. It doesn’t need to be too sweet because that will throw off the flavor of the entire pie. There should be a hint of garlic-y flavor in the sauce that makes the pizza irresistible. The last thing to be aware of is the cheese to sauce ratio. There shouldn’t be more cheese than sauce and vice versa. I have had both experiences and they are unpleasant.

I’m happy to guide you in the direction of a good pizza place. I’ve only found one here in downtown Portland called Escape From New York, and it served what I could comfortably refer to as “pizza.” However, the owner was from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There you go!

How to Survive in The Pacific NorthWest If You’re From New York

I’ve been living in Portland, Oregon since September and it was quite the culture shock. I’ve lived in New York City for entire life, 37 years. I was excited about a change but also scared. I was under the assumption that people were generally super nice here, which I perceived as a welcome change from New York where people were so abrupt and mean. I was in for a surprise when I actually arrived in Portland. My utopian fantasy was shattered when I started to see how people actually were. Listen, it’s enough to move to a city when I have multiple mental illnesses. But then, I had to spend the majority of the days alone (when the kids were in school) and while there are some people who actually love to be alone by nature, I am not one of those people.

After my excessive alone time, I decided it was time to make some actual friends as opposed to sitting in my house crying on the phone to all my New York friends but here is what I learned: people in the Pacific Northwest pretend to want to be your friend but they actually don’t. I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are some survival tips from a native New Yorker about how to survive in the PNW when you’re kind of an asshole, I mean from New York. I’m not sorry.

Nobody wants to be your friend even if they say they do

Okay, not “nobody,” but I can tell you as a weird, loud, blunt New Yorker I have had so many “first dates” with people. These encounters involved hanging out with our kids together too, which makes for an entirely additional factor. Our dates would be going to the playground, the zoo, hanging out at someone’s home while I awkwardly drank coffee that I didn’t like but was too polite to say anything about. So many wonderful first encounters. I was polite, said thank you, the mom had my phone number, but she never called me. Because she didn’t want to be my friend. I know I’m not a loser, as evidenced by the fact that I have several friends back in New York. But these people pretended like we were having an awesome time and then ghosted me. I’ve been crying in the fetal position ever since. I learned that most people here don’t actually want to be your friend. BUT the good news is, I found a couple people who like me! WOW.

Don’t say “fuck.”

People do not curse here. It’s weird because in my hometown “fuck” was a verb, adjective, noun, adverb and also something that we do to make babies or have fun. I think that’s a verb actually. Anyway, I made the mistake of saying fuck one too many times and I happened to be in a school setting and someone told someone and then I was asked to sign a contract saying that I wouldn’t use profanity on school grounds. I was tempted to sign the contract “Sarah Fucking Fader,” but I didn’t. I have some decorum within me. I refused to sign this ludicrous piece of garbage that wasn’t legally binding. But I learned that I could only say “fuck” around other people who also say “fuck,” and it’s hard to find those people around here because most people are smiling and saying “you’re fine.”

Passive Aggressiveness Sucks

The majority of people here are passive aggressive, especially if they were born here. It’s extremely hard to deal with because you don’t actually know if they are telling you the truth or just being nice. Some of them are actually nice, which makes things even more confusing. It’s not fair. I hate everything. If you’re a blunt person like me, this sort of communication or lack of actual genuine communication will drive you insane. Don’t try to change these people, they won’t adapt for you. My best advice is to pick and choose who can handle your honesty by using your intuitive powers. There are also times when you have to be blunt and even though they won’t understand, it doesn’t actually matter. Just be yourself or don’t be depending on who you are talking to.

Honesty = Aggression

Because the default communication style is passive aggressive, when you are honest with people in the PNW they are terrified of you. The exception to this rule is if they aren’t natives. If someone is from L.A. they will be unphased by any of the things on this list. But people who were indoctrinated into the PNW culture and brainwashed are going to see you as a scary monster who wants them to die if you tell them the truth. You have to find some shiny object people who value honesty. They’re out there and I have found them, but they aren’t actually from here. You see my point?

Go See Trees When You’re Sad

The great thing about the PNW is that there are trees everywhere and they smell good, unlike the hippies who don’t wear deodorant. When you feel horrible because someone said something to you that you didn’t like or understand go outside and smell the trees. They will not judge you and when they don’t talk to you, you don’t have to take it personally. They can’t talk and it’s not their fault. Don’t blame them, please don’t, they are trying to be the best trees that they can.

There is hope for you! You can survive in this strange land of dishonesty and false niceness. There are actual kind people here. But it’s hard to tell who they are. So just remember to get to know someone first before you call them a friend. Chances are they will only hang out with you once before you scare them anyway.


Oy Gavolt I Miss New York

In the summer of 2017, I couldn’t wait to leave New York. I’d lived there for 37 years and it weighed on me. I was a stunted teenager who was enabled emotionally by my parents and our co-dependent enmeshed dynamic. It was my “fault” for not growing up, but I didn’t know how to, even though I am/was the mother of two kids. I have some mental health “issues” (I hate that word) otherwise known as OCD, anxiety, and ADHD, but the most problematic was OCD because I didn’t know I actually had it at the time. I still cannot believe that I saw my New York psychiatrist for 13 years and he didn’t diagnose me with the most obvious thing that I actually had. I know why though; I didn’t have compulsions, or my compulsions were so subtle that he didn’t notice them. I was checking to see that my wallet and keys were there a lot of the time, but they were always there. And I could justify it because it’s something people do, right? They make sure they didn’t lose their shit in a restaurant or on the street or whatever. But OCD is brutal, man, and it is primarily treated with positive rewards for not being afraid of your brain.

So I finally found out I had OCD but not until I actually moved from Brooklyn to Portland (west coast PDX) and saw a psychiatric RN who formally diagnosed me with it. It makes sense because I am genetically predisposed to OCD, but now I know and the more you know, the better you can handle life. And I’m handling life now in the Pacific Northwest, except that I totally not. I miss New York, I miss blunt people. I miss the mysterious liquid that drips on you in the train when you’re walking down the platform. I miss thinking that you’re getting a seat on the 6 train in the summertime, but the car is actually just not airconditioned. I miss that stuff so much. And I’m not going to get it back in the same way.

I made a friend the other day, over the phone. It’s a complicated story and I’ll try to make this brief, but he tried to help me and my family. And then he got in trouble for it. So now we’re not friends anymore and there’s nothing I can do about it. You know the reason this happened? Because – 1. I am an inappropriate person and 2. I am a New Yorker living in the PNW. People do not know what to do with me. They think I’m aggressive when I’m being assertive, they think I am rude when I’m being myself and I’m tired of it. You might think I’m being a whiny entitled person, but I am so sick of being misunderstood. That’s been my raison d’etre for my entire life. I don’t need an external societal force to tell me that I’m too much to handle. In New York, I am nothing, I’m like a kitten who has rolled over and exposed its belly. These people have not seen what aggressive is. And their sensitive virgin evergreen tree ears cannot handle the word “fuck.” I was told that I had to sign a contract indicating that I couldn’t use profanity on school grounds of my children’s school. It was as if I was starting fights with people, but I wasn’t doing that. You know what I was doing? Being my fucking self, being from Brooklyn, being a person, being someone who uses the occasional f-bomb to enhance a sentence that needs some colorful language. I curse with other adults occasionally, although now I’m starting to stay away from that mode of communication.

What is wrong with me? I’m turning into someone I don’t recognize. Get me out of this land of passive aggressive people who say one thing and do something else behind your back. Not cool at all. I’m not saying this whole place is terrible. I love nature, hiking, friendly people who are actually friendly, dogs, animal shelters, coffee, trains that don’t smell like urine, and trees. But I miss people telling me the truth without being terrified. I miss that, and that’s okay. I miss real pizza and sidewalks that have mysterious black tar stains that probably used to be gum but no one knows what they are. I miss that you mostly don’t know when the train is coming except for when you see the light on the tracks and then you have to quickly step back so that you don’t die from falling onto the third rail.

I’ll come visit and it won’t be as awesome as I’m envisioning it to be; nostalgia is a powerful drug. I don’t miss anxiety-ridden walks down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn where nobody has an understanding of personal space. I’m not excited about people who yell at you when you’re a pedestrian crossing the street and they’re in a car. Anyway, I miss you, New York. You gave birth to me and I’ll always love you, okay? never forget that.