The first time I lived in PDX, it was 2001, and I worked my fool head off cocktailing at Pazzo and Veritable Quandary and made adequate websites for little businesses. I lived in the tiniest apartment on Hawthorne with no furniture except for Gabe’s fancy table and chairs, but I lived above the boiler room, so the floor was always warm. Plus! It had been the building manager’s office, so the laundry folks left a bag of quarters in the mail slot every week. It was like living in a diorama: a shoebox from which to peek out at the rain.
Jimmy would take me to the movies, or for a ride around the neighborhood on the handlebars of his bike. We’d go hiking somewhere impossibly green.
The chef I was almost-dating would acquire me a lot of fancy cheese, which I’d often trade for a slice of pizza to the bartender I was almost-dating. The joys of being in one’s baby-20s.
I listened to a lot of Jeff Buckley. I learned a lot about writing from a salty old Armenian. “You’re in love with him, aren’t you? It’s terrible, isn’t it?”
The second time I lived in PDX, it was 2010, and I moved there from New Orleans to work for Wieden+Kennedy. B and I lived in a schmancy apartment in the Pearl with a view straight across the city and into my dentist’s office. I had things like a dentist. I could afford to buy my own cheese, but I still listened to a lot of Jeff Buckley. I went to London. I went to wine tastings. I met amazing, smarty smart people who I am looking forward to giving a big neck hug to.
It was an entirely different city, except for the weather, which has always made me skeptical at best.
Now I’m moving back again. Portland. You are the furthest thing away from my hometown I can think of, culturally and geographically, while still being a place I love. You quirky thing, you’ve always been nice to me when I’ve been down.
Be sweet to me again, won’t you?