Lyssa, microphone in hand, was attracting her own crowd in the midst of the masses. The publicity hungry animal was drawn irresistibly to her small black instrument, but the attraction was complicated by the fact that the animal was reluctant to show its attraction. Lyssa, however, had no trouble finding guinea pigs. "How do you like the new symbol of our city?" she asked, sticking her microphone at one hovering, attentive face.

The face beamed. "She's colossal!"

"Do you think the statue is an appropriate decoration for the building?"

Another face answered, and Lyssa turned her mike in that direction. "I don't know if she's appropriate, exactly, but she might make the eyesore less painful."

Lyssa smiled and several people in the crowd laughed. "She was commissioned to represent the Lady of Commerce," Lyssa continued. "Do you think she symbolizes commerce?"

"She doesn't look like she has anything to do with it."

"What does she symbolize to you?" Lyssa asked the crowd at large.

"The spirit of the city."

"And what is that precisely?"

"Oh, I don't know. Generosity?"

"No government agency is generous," a long-haired youth protested, and the crowd chuckled in agreement.

Lyssa joined diffidently in the laughter. "Then what do you think she symbolizes?" she asked.

"Portland's pompous pretensions."

"But the figure itself?" Lyssa insisted.

The youth glanced back up at the statue. "Actually, she reminds me of an ex-girlfriend of mine. That woman could do anything."

"And what does she mean to you?" Lyssa asked repeatedly, pointing her mike at one and then another eager face.






"She makes me feel more daring," one woman said.

"In what way?" Lyssa asked.

"It's as if she could lend me some of her size, as if just having her around could make me bigger too."

"That's interesting," Lyssa commented, wondering just how many women shared the same revelation.

"I mean, she's certainly not about to be ignored. She calls attention to herself in a big way. It's as if she knows she can dictate the terms."

"Of what?"

"Oh, I don't know. Whatever."

By the time Lyssa returned to her friends, the technical aspects of the statue's ascension had finally been worked out. Through it all, Portlandia continued to look bored. That would never change. Even when a few brave souls initiated a daring action to alleviate female bitterness and male dominance; not even that could change the bored expression on Portlandia's face.

And so, amid cheers and yelling and enthusiastic applause, Portlandia was hoisted to her pedestal, an indifferent image of the power of some kind of feminine principle which no one could agree on.

End sample.

Return to Cutting Edges title page.