Odyssey Day 9: Portland; renewal

©2022 Michael Raven

I went to bed early last night; comparatively, anyway. I was tired and it was starting to show in my overall mood and disposition. I’ve been meaning to dial back my time to get back into my normal central time zone frame of reference for daily life. But I was sour all around from the lack of sleep the night before. I got surly and then I got down to spirit work to see if I could overcome my disgruntled self.

Both did wonders, and it didn’t hurt that I had a better overall day.

I had decided I was going to make sure I knew where I needed to be for Wednesday morning to catch my flight back home that early afternoon.

But, first, I needed to get some clothes hand-washed so they might actually be dry by the time I need them. I had planned my clothing count perfectly, except for one minor detail: I had counted on washing my clothes at my cousin’s place the day I left for Portland, not the day beforehand. So, barfing at the prices on the laundry machines in the hotel, I elected to hand-wash them in the sink so I wasn’t completely stinky wearing day-old clothes when I went home.

To be honest, what a tedious bit of work. I had forgotten how much I disliked hand-washing laundry. But I was determined to save the cash and kept up with both a light and dark “load”. My only hope is that they will dry by Wednesday morning.

I asked the hotel clerk and barista by the desk about taking the rail to the airport and got some mixed answers that might have made much more sense if you were familiar with the streets and the lingo. I nodded and smiled (although, why I do that still behind the mask is a wonder), and then walked in the general direction they had told me to go. I saw the mural in the first picture and thought some of you might like it, so I snapped it on my phone.

The most striking thing was the complete change of scenery from the north side of Burnside Ave. While the Pearl District/Old Town neighborhood has some well-masked charms, it is dirty and unmaintained and filled with a hodgepodge of stores in various states of being open, long gone, or on this mysterious “winter break” that I’ve never seen with retail.

I ended up finding the “Red Line” quite easily and there are ticket sales in a vending machine right next to it. The pricing is not tiered, so it’s a flat $2.50, which beats the hell out of the cost of a taxi or an Uber. And it is less distance than what I walked to get from the Amtrak to the hotel at about 1/4 the distance.

The south side was cleaner, better maintained, and had notably fewer mentally ill people wandering about. I ended up finding a Japanese-import bookstore and spent too much money there (last I checked, it was hard or impossible to get a copy of Vampire Hunter D, so you can guess one of the items in my purchases). I had a hard time not spending more money than I did, but it was a nice distraction away from the Pearl District and it helped improve my mood somewhat. I will say, I find it surprising that there were volunteers going around picking up all the garbage south of Burnside — which explained why it looked so much better. On the other side, there is still quite a bit of trash in the streets this afternoon.

I had also asked the hotel about the nearby pizza joint. I’ve been a good boy and eating almost exclusively in (and healthier for it), but I’m dying for something less healthy, and was debating about this pizza shop or pub grub. The hotel said it was fantastic and I am already enjoying the idea when I saw that, for a dollar more, they’ll add extra sauce in the shape of a pentagram on your pizza.

Sure, it’s expensive novelty, but I plan to do it all the same.

I also saw a nice little poster in a cafe window that I am tempted to have shirts made for.

Right now, I’m back at the old Starbucks with no plans whatsoever other than to pick up a few minor supplies at Whole Foods after I am done. And, after my “devil pizza”, I think I’ll continue on some of that spirit work I was doing last night to try and get my head screwed on a little straighter.

What was I doing? It’s hard to explain and a bit personal, so I think I’ll keep it mostly at that. Essentially, I think I’ve allowed myself to get into a bit of a trap of the hows of thinking about things that I think about and I can see some of the problematic approaches, so I started to shave the those hows away a bit. I’m tired of feeling trapped inside my own head with certain thoughts on obsession mode, when I really should be freeing myself from such entangled thinking that other parties have been doing on my behalf, but not necessarily for me, or with my best interests in mind.

Also… I wish I knew what the fascination was with Sasquatch around these parts. It seems somewhat like a manufactured obsession in order to have something to sell.

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