It’s like an alternate universe.
You wake up in the morning in Vancouver, safely across the river from Portland, and flip on the TV hoping to watch the newly minted Pac-12 Networks.
You expect to see the Washington version of the Pac-12 Networks, aware that the conference’s effort to take over the world consists of seven — yes, seven! — different channels. And instead, you are reminded that Comcast thinks Clark County is in Oregon.
See, if you are a Comcast subscriber in these parts, you receive the national Pac-12 feed and the Oregon feed, but not the Washington feed. Because, you know, we just can’t get enough Ducks coverage in this market.
“Just like the broadcast channels — you get KATU and KGW — you’re part of the Portland Designated Market Area,” said the extremely helpful and friendly Rebecca Brown, community relations manager for Comcast in the Portland area. “It goes up to Longview and down to Eugene.”
And you give a little bit of thanks that you aren’t a Dish Network or DirectTV subscriber, which would mean you don’t get any of the Pac-12 Networks for now.
So, you take your frustration and leave the house to do a little shopping. You stop for some gas at the local Chevron, only to find a sign saying “Support your team” and offering to sell you one of those annoying flags that people fly atop their cars.
Flags are popular these days. Just in case other drivers couldn’t determine your allegiance from the window stickers and bumper stickers and license-plate holders, you can add a flag. Except that the local Chevron stations are offering — for $1.99 — Oregon and Oregon State flags with no sign of the Huskies or Cougars.
All of which sends you to the location finder on your iPhone. Just to confirm that you are, indeed, in the state of Washington, something you should have known when you sat there waiting for somebody to come pump your gas.
You see, Vancouver long has had a bit of a complex when it comes to being across the river from Portland. We’re not only a smaller city, but we’re an entirely different state. And corporate America seems unable to understand the difference.
As a recovering Oregonian, I can tell you that people over there think of the Columbia River as more of a wall than a waterway. As a Sports editor, I can tell you that there’s no shortage of people over here who love to say, “We’re in Washington; we don’t care about Oregon teams.”
Yes, there is an identity crisis, the kind that led then-mayor Royce Pollard to purchase and smash two “Portland” mugs that were on display at a local Starbucks in 2005.
“Vancouver is the fourth-largest city in Washington,” Pollard said at the time, “and people better start showing a little respect.”
So you go looking for that respect. You travel to the Fisher’s Landing Fred Meyer, where you find a warehouse worth of Oregon and Oregon State paraphernalia, along with an equally impressive collection of Washington and Washington State items.
And you travel to the JCPenney down the road to discover plenty of Ducks, Cougars and Seahawks items, but scant Beavers and Huskies representation. Talk about an identity crisis.
All of which leads you to ponder the fate of Huskies and Cougars fans in Vancouver. They can’t get Washington-centric programming on their TV; they have businesses promoting the flags of their rivals to the south; they reside in an area often tied more closely to Portland than to their own state.
And it’s then that you realize things could be worse for Vancouver USA. They could be trying to sell us B.C. Lions gear.
Greg Jayne is Sports editor of The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4531, or by e-mail at greg.jaynecolumbian.com. Follow him on twitter: col_gjayne