Note: This is one of several articles about Superheroes Anonymous 4, a gathering of Real Life Superheroes being held in Portland, Oregon. This series, written by Treesong, is a collaborative project of Heroes in the Night and Song of the Trees.
Today was the final day of Superheroes Anonymous 4. It was hard saying goodbye to people, especially since I had to leave before the final dinner. But since we spent so much of our time together, it feels like we managed to pack more than three days worth of experience into less than three days worth of time.
I stayed out late last night for patrol, then stayed up even later to write about the day’s events. This was almost evened out by the fact that I was able to sleep in until about 7 am this time. I only slept about a total of 7 or 8 hours between Friday and Saturday nights combined, and I believe others slept a similar or lesser amount. As you might imagine, we were all tired â€” but we were also excited about walking in the Race for the Cure!
We weren’t able to do a big group breakfast this morning, so we ended up eating in a few small groups. I ate breakfast with Zetaman, Apocalypse Meow, and Civitron because we were riding together in the Zetavan. (Yes, Zetaman had a Zetavan!) We ate at this great little diner called Burgerville. At a glance, it looked like it might just be a typical corporate chain restaurant. Once inside, however, I discovered that it was actually part of a chain of local restaurants that focus on local food and ecological sustainability. I’m pretty sure this was the first chain-style restaurant I’ve seen so far where there were separate bins for recyclables, compostables, and disposables, with three illustrated signs to help the novice determine which was which. Portland is filled with many such pleasant surprises, and I hope that I can go back there again sometime just to explore the city more thoroughly.
Once breakfast was taken care of, we made our way over to the Race for the Cure.
First of all, I was amazed with the turnout. I knew that it was going to be big, and it’s not the biggest mass gathering I’ve ever been to. But it’s definitely one of the biggest, which is pretty amazing since it was for a charitable cause rather than a political protest.
Since we were staying in different parts of town and eating at different places, we ended up arriving at different places and times. It took a bit of walking to bring us all together. What started as a few isolated pockets of soon gathered into a prominent cluster of nine Real Life Superheroes plus several other people who were walking with us. Most people were wearing either the Race for the Cure shirts or their own everyday clothes, but there were also a few other costumed activists, including an entire group of Star Wars characters fighting against breast cancer. We have some photos of superheroes and Star Wars characters posing together, although I didn’t get to pose with them because I was busy taking pictures.
The atmosphere was very friendly and festive. My own costume is simple and low-key enough that it wouldn’t have drawn much attention in a crowd of this size and diversity. We were often walking together, though, or spread out into two or three smaller clusters, which added to our visibility. Civitron, Zetaman, and Blue Blaze in particular seemed to catch people’s eye due to the colorful spandex and frequent friendly greetings. In Blue Blaze’s case, it also didn’t hurt that he was often scaling nearby objects in order to gain a new perspective on the scene! Some people simply noticed that we were superheroes and cheered us on or asked to take their picture with us. Others actually asked us for more information about who we were and what we were doing. I can’t remember who was the first person to say this, but after a while, several of us started telling people who talked to us that EVERYONE who was marching today was in fact a superhero. The money raised will be going to prevent and cure breast cancer, so all of us who are supporting the cause are superheroes.
We didn’t end up staying in a group during the walk, due in part to the fact that we all walk at different speeds. I was sometimes floating between the two or three loose clusters of superheroes, as were a few of the others. Zetaman and Apocalypse Meow were generally at the lead, while Skyman was usually bringing up the rear. I’m a pretty fast walker, so I didn’t get to spend much time with Skyman. However, I was impressed with his commitment to keep going throughout the walk. I’ve been the person at the back of the group before on hikes, so I know it can be tough, but he stuck with it.
All in all, it was a great experience. I don’t have the final dollar amount from Zetaman yet, but our team raised several hundred dollars for the cause, and we got to show our solidarity and meet plenty of cool people along the way.
After the walk, I had time for one last meal with Zetaman, Apocalypse Meow, Civitron, Dreamer, and a couple of their friends. Then, it was time to make my way to the train station for the journey home.
Now that Superheroes Anonymous 4 is over, I plan on writing one last entry on the subject. This epilogue will offer my overall summary of how I feel the weekend went, along with some very important thanks to the people who helped make my own participation possible. First, however, it’s time for some much-needed sleep.