People here in Bend, Oregon call themselves Bendites. I’ve never been very comfortable with that appellation because it sounds like a mineral and “I don’t want to be a mineral.” They can be very pretty, but like the chicken in the movie Chicken Run said, “I don’t want to be a pie!”
As fine as these minerals look it still seems wrong for a warm, soft, living person like me to be classified as a rock. We can be included together as things — both people and minerals are things — but I contest the assertion that we are the same kind of thing. I am more than a thing! I am a human being, and although I must admit I drink coffee at the Looney Bean cafe and that many people whom I’ve met seem to consider me a lower form of the human species, still I bleed blood when pricked and minerals don’t. It’s been said, “You can’t squeeze blood out of a rock.” I have, during my life, accidentally hit my flesh upon rocks several times, but have never noticed any blood oozing out of them other than my own. A billion years from now we will all be something different and it may be a mineral in part, but in the present we live in USA, Bend, OR and it seems more appropriate to call any one of us a Bendor.
This illuminated sign is on Wall street in downtown Bend. It’s about the size of a STOP sign. I see it as a traffic sign and I’m motivated to bend slightly every time I approach the sign, although other locals don’t seem to be so inclined. Perhaps they are minerals, or perhaps it’s my fifty years living in Berkeley, where traffic laws are a predatory source of city revenue, that makes me so reflexively obedient.
Should I not bend and become a Bendite, or bend and remain a Bendor?