Portland was a natural stop for Y on the interview trail - it's our favorite city, and my sister lives there. My sister loves to show off the quirk that Portland is famous for - perhaps you've seen it portrayed on Portlandia? I've only been to Portland 6 or 7 times, but even with my small exposure, nearly every part of that show rings true.
And based on my latest trip, I've got a pitch for a sketch.
The scene: a mother (Mom X) is tucking her eleven year old twins into bed in their shared bedroom. Posters of baby animals line the walls, American Girl dolls lay scattered in the threshold of the room, on the brink of outgrown.
Twin A: Mom, puh-leeeze can we get our ears pierced?
Twin B: EVERY one in our class has them pierced!
Cut to PTA meeting
Mom X: I'm thinking about letting the girls get their ears pierced.
PTA mom 1: I hope you're not thinking about taking her to Claire's.
PTA mom 2: Did I hear someone say Claire's? As in, the corporate chain of tween jewelry that's ruining America?
PTA mom1: Don't even get me started!
PTA mom 3: What are we talking about?
PTA mom 2: Claire's!
PTA mom 3: (gasps) Why?
PTA mom 1: Mom X is thinking about going to Claire's to get the girls' ears pierced.
PTA mom 3: (pulls out phone) Mom X, I'm going to send you some literature on Claire's. You know they practice inadequate sterilization techniques, right?
PTA mom 2: And the quality of the jewelry they put in the poor children's ears is disgusting!
PTA mom 1: Don't forget about that horrible gun!
PTA moms, in unison: (shuddering) Not the gun!
PTA mom 4: I took my kids to The Wanderer.
PTA moms nod enthusiastically.
Mom X: The Wanderer?
PTA mom 4: He does body piercings, so he has to be up to code and sterile.
PTA mom 3: And he only uses the best quality metal.
PTA mom 2: My kids said it didn't hurt at all!
PTA mom 1: And his shop is within a tribal art museum, so everyone can get a really fulfilling experience.
All PTA moms in unison: And there's a coffee shop next door!
Cut to The Wanderer's piercing shop. Mom X, the girls, and a little boy enter the shop.
Boy: (wide-eyed, whispers) Mom... where are we?
The Wanderer: Okay, can we get this over with? I need to go to Ikea.
Twin A sits on the piercing chair. The Wanderer rubs iodine on her ear, and she flinches as the needle approaches.
TW: (rolling his eyes) Listen kid, I pierce babies' ears all the time. If they can do it, you can do it.
Boy: Mommy, where ARE we?
Mom X: So tell me why you're better than Claire's.
TW: (sneering) Claire's and Hot Topic... they're big corporations, so they're above the law. They don't have any inspections to make sure they're sterile. My shop is fully sterile.
Cut to the shop exit; both girls have had their ears pierced.
TW: Listen here, ladies. You better not go to Claire's and buy any of their crappy earrings. That stuff will rot your ears. If you come back to me with an infection, I'll charge you $100 because I'll KNOW that you went to Claire's. And NO dangly earrings. Ever. Your hole will stretch out.
Camera zooms in on The Wanderer's ear.