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Dear Portland (Month 2)

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dear Portland,

Wow, these past two months have gone by quickly! And yet it seems like so long ago that I was last in Ohio. Time is weird.

This past month, we did the vegan bakery outing (it was not as good as pattycake bakery in Columbus, but that’s to be expected) and ate at Tin Shed while exploring Alberta Street. I like Alberta! I’d definitely like to check it out during one of their street festivals, too. A rainy Monday afternoon didn’t really do it justice, I suppose. You also humored me with the Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy statues at the park. You may not have known this, but Beverly Cleary rocked my socks in grade school. I was Ramona. I’m glad you finally treated me to some Voodoo Doughnuts this month, too. They sort of made up for all the Friday donuts I’ve missed since graduating. I didn’t realize that your art museum didn’t have a free admission day – what’s up with that? – so I visited the Oregon College of Art and Craft for their holiday art sale instead. I really loved the ceramics! I’ll have to buy some pieces at their next sale. Is it strange that the smell of the art studios caused my stomach to knot with anxiety, though? That was an unexpected and unfortunate reaction.

I didn’t really do a whole lot of adventuring this month–

Okay. I just had the most random interaction with a 90-year-old genetics professor from Egypt. Portland, did you get annoyed that I was typing that I didn’t do much adventuring this month? So you decided to send a cute old man shuffling my way at Starbucks? He told me I am beautiful, and that I reminded him of Nefertiti. (Because I’m not self-conscious about the length of my neck or anything already.) He was using all sorts of old man flirty lines, reminding me of the crazy Hungarian professor for whom I used to TA. He said he has a PhD and three master’s degrees. (He couldn’t remember what two of them were in. Funny. That’s so going to be me.) I can hear him across the shop, still talking about me. Nothing like being charmed by a 90-year-old!

Where was I…oh yeah, lack of adventure this month! What am I saying? I now have two jobs. I’m not sure when I’m going to fit in fun stuff. Right now I’m just so pooped. I’ve done this before, throwing my work-life balance completely upside-down until I can’t take it anymore. I need to find an apartment south of you, Portland. This makes me sad, but not quite as sad as the hour-long work commute I currently have every morning and evening. Both drives are in the dark, and the morning drive is typically cold and foggy. Oh, the fog! It makes me feel like I’m sleeping. That’s not a good feeling to have while hurtling down the road at 70 mph. But anyway, the dream of commuting via the light rail is gone.

Holy crap. The weirdness of the evening just got weirder. The old man came back over and decided he was going to try to set me up with his son. What the hell? He described him as “heavy” and asked if I had a problem with that, and I’m all, “Dude, if you want to introduce your son to me, go for it, but I do not do set-ups. Especially with strangers’ sons.” Then he added the always-positive selling point of “He’s an electrical engineer!” Ew. He shuffled back to his son, then came back to me and asked me to follow him over to his table so I could meet his son. Um, no. I’m no longer charmed. Then I spotted a heavy-set middle-eastern-looking guy at the coffee counter, his buttcrack peeking out of the top of his low-slung jeans. He came over with his drinks and his dad asked me, “What do you think?” Oh my GOD. The son started telling me that even though his hair is buzzed, he doesn’t have a bald spot. “Look! No bald spot!” I have been awake since before 5am. It’s taking everything in my power to still be awake at 10pm. Tact and politeness is a struggle. I broke their hearts by saying no thanks, and the son scurried away. The dad looked at me like, What is your problem? and I just told him that I’m already seeing someone. Which is true! I wonder how Runnerboy is going to like this story.

(Who the hell uses their 90-year-old father as their wingman?)

This is turning into the most disjointed letter to Portland ever.

I’ve made some interesting discoveries about my mental health this past month, identifying PTSD triggers (and others). Just this past week I started practicing mindfulness regarding my attitude about my new engineering job, and it’s definitely made a noticeable difference. It doesn’t hurt that my coworkers are really kind (as far as I can tell). Sometime this month I’m going to launch next year’s marathon training plan, and that should help keep my brain more delightful than it has been during this past month of slacking.

Driving home from work yesterday, I finally got to see some daylight and get visually reacquainted with the surroundings. As soon as I pulled onto I-5, I looked to the right (rather than to the left to enjoy the sunset and coastal range like I did the previous day) and saw a snowy peak (Mount Jefferson, I believe) and the Cascades in the distance. “Hellooo, mountain!” I said. I drove further north as the sun dropped further behind the mountains, and I glanced to the northeast after about a half hour…and there it was. Mount Hood, in all its glory, even better than the view from your city limits. I definitely squealed with joy. I cannot wait to enjoy that view as the daylight gets longer.

Love,

Caitlin

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