Monday, April 27, 2015

Keep Portland Weird

I love my little house in New Jersey (I'm not considering weather, traffic, or taxes here, mind you). That being said, there is little explanation for why I've always felt compelled to wander.  The closest I've come to any explanation for this was something my mother once said to me:  "I don't know where you came from!  The gypsies left you!"

The mischief I'd been up to that prompted that comment is long forgotten, but I clearly recall mentally smacking my forehead and thinking:  "That explains EVERYTHING!" After that, I would perk up whenever someone knocked at the door at night, picturing a swarthy man in a vest with a bandana, gold earring, and violin, come to pick me up.  My real father.  I never felt that I fit in - not at home, not at school nor, when I got older, at any job I ever worked. 

Perhaps this wanderlust is an expression of my desire to find someplace where I feel as if I truly belong.  So, when my young friend, Melody, asked me to visit her in Portland - a city whose motto, she claimed, was "Keep Portland Weird" - I had hopes that I had found my Mecca.

I arrived in Portland at 10 pm last night.  Its reputation as a green city was immediately confirmed when I confronted this item in the airport restroom:

UP for liquids; DOWN for solids.  Very Left Coast.  Green, but not exactly weird.

And, speaking of green.  Spring had just begun when I left my NW Jersey area.  It is full blown here in Portland.  Outside the window of the home where I am staying is a tree with an EXPLOSION of white, puffy flowers.  Across the street, the sun emphasizes a fuchsia azalea, promising me a very good day.  The folks I have met so far - Mel's landlords and two other twenty-somethings who share this home - welcomed me warmly and explained Portland's arrangement into quadrants, readying me for whatever beautiful, colorful, magical mischief this gypsy can arrange.

I hope some of it is weird.  

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