Portlandia the Magnificent
Julie is a wordsmith -- words and phrases that escape me quite regularly are mere toys to her. (In fact, she would have said that better.) Jeff is fully aware of -- and in possession of -- all things cool. If you ever admired the cover of an old pulp or a record that you can't believe ever got made, he has probably already seen it and acquired it, along with hundreds you haven't. In short, they're interesting, intelligent, thoroughly selfless, and a delight to be around.
The trip was exhausting, even though it went as smoothly as one could hope. We got up at a time meant only for going to the bathroom and returning to bed, so we started the day pretty tired. I simply cannot sleep on planes (which makes sense, since I often can't even sleep in bed), so I was very tired. Shortly after arriving, Julie, Leigh and I ate a Lebanese restaurant, went shopping for a game to play (Charoodles, a charades-based game with a doodle-based name). I can recommend it. That evening, I ate about a pound of cheese. No regrets. You have to die of something.
Friday, Julie took Leigh and me to some cool stores that used to be there. Powells, and thrift stores, etc. At the Goodwill store, I overheard an employee near the fitting rooms say several times, "Sir, are you trying to go to the bathroom?" I suppose there are worse places to mistake for a toilet. I can assure you that there was no mistaking the real bathrooms for anything but.
Portland is a cool city, but the air is rather thick with pretention. People walk around fully -- let me emphasize fully -- bedecked in bicycling regalia, even though I would bet that some of them drove their Suburu Outback or Toyota Prius that day. I feel like I'm being judged wherever I go in Portland, but that's probably common in most cities that are hipper than Albany (that's a large category). It's more noticeable in Portland than in New York City because most of the people in NYC are tourists.
Stinking hippies aside, I like Portland, if for no other reason than its abundance of cheap delicious food and secondhand stores. You can get tasty filafel in Albany, but not for $4. The service was also friendlier there than in Albany. It was by no means fast, but it was friendlier.
Saturday, we went to the coast, did some junk shopping, and walked on the beach for a bit. I bought a nicely illustrated 1948 copy of The Divine Comedy. We stopped at a record store that was full of fumes, some guy who had clearly been breathing fumes all morning, and records in no particular order. I was a little frightened in there. That evening, we watched a few episodes of Arrested Development. That always gladdens my heart.
Sunday, after some more thrift stores and Borders, Jeff and I went to a huge music store without fumes. It made me long for the days before I was musically jaded. At some point in my life, I bought the one album too many that had two or three good songs and several worthless fillers. I'm pretty wary these days about buying CDs, so I bought a DVD of Grandma's Boy, a thoroughly juvenile, but amusing, romp. Since I rarely buy DVDs even of my favorite movies, I did not foresee me leaving there with a copy of that. I hope it's as funny as I remember it.
Julie and Leigh made a delicious pasta dinner, then we took a LOT of pictures, many of which are of things I don't know why we were doing. The twenty-some pictures of Leigh and me pretending to fight, for instance. It sure was a hoot, though. Leigh fell and hurt her coccyx. Few things are more uncomfortable than a swollen coccyx. The pictures below are the beginning of the fall, followed by the post-coccycal impact.
It rather looks like I'm pushing Leigh, then pointing at her instead of helping her. I have been counselled by my attorney to assure you that that is not the case. Actually, I was pointing at the wine glass, which Leigh didn't know was there. No sense breaking a coccyx and a glass.
So that was an incredibly fun end to our visit, even though we didn't feel that great Monday morning. The flight was not what we expected. There was a stop that was not listed on our itinerary, so we sat in Salt Lake City for an hour or so. The police boarded and escorted some strange guy off the plane. He had made a lady and her kid cry by talking about the plane crashing, so the stewards separated them. He was wearing a fedora and a trenchcoat, which is never a good idea. Maybe it was the fashion police who took him off the plane, come to think of it.
Once back in Albany, about nine hours after we left Portland, we ate a fat burrito and slept the sleep of the just. Muchas gracias, Julie and Jeff!
(PS) You can see more photos at http://new.photos.yahoo.com/smrb321/albums, I think. Let me know if that doesn't work.