The Port of Portland has announced that it will replace the turquoise airport carpet we all grew up with with a new, green one.
How can you do this to us!
Exclaimed an entire generation of Oregonians – each of whom realized only in that moment that there are others who feel an attachment to the carpet.
The secret is out. It's a social revolution. We are all gathered round this carpet like a Dead Poets Society; only, the dead poet is a carpet.
We express our love for the carpet through art: people have begun making murals, cross-stitch samplers, yarn colorways. There is this crackling new unity among Portlandians and I'm enjoying every minute of it. But I keep asking myself why I, and the rest of us, get so emotional thinking about a carpet.
I suspect it's because we all grew up traversing that carpet en route to adventure and again to home. When you see the carpet, you know you are about to embark on a great expedition. And airport walls all look alike but when you see that carpet again, you know you are about to come back to people who know and like you.
When you return to PDX after years of wandering in places where you are known as the Portlander because there are no others, the carpet is the first thing you see with which you have Portlanderness in common.
When I got older, the whole idea of carpet became really arresting, coming from Israel's holy white stone floors back to this land of complications where a person treads on fabric loops. It's so complicated. It's so extravagant. It's so American.
You can go and travel and see the world and change in a hundred ways, but the carpet remains constant.
So it is rather a shock to the system that they are replacing it with something hunter-green and trendy.
Ah, I guess the world is changing that fast, after all. Everyone stick near the boat.
I love that the first instinct of Portlandians, upon receiving this jolt, is to make art about it. I admire that the Port of Portland's response is to give away the carpet for free to the distributors who will make sure that as many sentimental people as possible get a slice of it. ...And I love that Portland is such a total original that we are all bonding over a carpet.