Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peace Out

Everyone was talking about the moon. I sat on the bar patio, listening to the folks around me chatter about the sky's celestial state.

"You guys, blue moons only happen every couple years! "

"Look how big and bright the moon looks! It's almost eerie!"

"I bet we see a werewolf tonight, LOL!!!"

Through my four-beers-deep repose, I thought, Y'all a buncha teen witches. The night's rare occurrence of a blue moon seemed of little importance to me. I had more pressing matters on my mind.


There was a warm, late summer breeze in the air, making my usual effort to be cynical and aloof futile. I gazed up at the moon, and indeed it appeared remarkably bright, though this could have been my imagination or the patio's collective enthusiasm rubbing off on me.

I was deep in thought. For months I'd been harboring a secret unease, an itch I wasn't sure how to scratch. I wasn't sure what to make of the feeling, but I knew one thing: I needed a change in my life. Something big. I'd been living in Portland for four years, and as much as I'd enjoyed my life there, maybe it was time to start a new adventure someplace fresh. Someplace exciting, like New York. But the notion of relocating to a new city brought up the usual string of self doubt:

Moving is so expensive. It's scary. You're not ready. Maybe next year. 

But, staring up at the sky, I realized something. The moon, so full and bright, would look the same no matter where I moved to. I could decide to live anywhere in the world and certain things would always be the same. I was comforted by the fact, even if it sounded like something a teenage girl might write about in her Lisa Frank diary. I thought some more about moving, and by the time the bar closed I'd made up my mind to leave Portland.

Then, as expected, the doubt kicked in, and I immediately questioned my decision.


Though the prospect of moving was daunting, my mind was made up. I was leaving Portland. The question was, when? After the holidays? Sometime next Spring? I pondered it for a bit and realized I didn't have to wait if I didn't want to. My work goes where I go, and I have no real responsibilities besides making goofy doodles and surrounding them with text on the interwebs. Standing alone in my apartment, I announced aloud, "I am moving to New York City at the end of the month!"

With my plan nailed down, I set about packing for my big move. It didn't take long, since I own very little.

bouncetoss1 bouncetoss2

I filled two suitcases full of clothes and shoes, with the understanding that I couldn't take much else with me. It didn't matter, really. The notion of a new beginning sounded exciting. I booked a one way flight to JFK, and in a sublime bit of coincidence I'd accrued exactly enough TrueBlue points to cover the flight. It seemed like it was meant to be, written in the stars. Silently, I gave thanks to Fortuna, the Roman goddess of JetBlue airline miles, and went to bed.

Over the next few days, the initial excitement waned and a bit of melancholy set in as I realized I'd be moving away from Portland, a city I truly loved with whatever charred, fetid husk remains of my heart. My friends seemed surprised when I told them I was moving and asked me what prompted the decision. It was difficult to explain. "It just feels like something I need to do," was all I could really muster. I knew my answer was vague, but it was hard to put into words. Luckily, my friends seemed to understand.

I began to mull over my time in Portland, making a mental list of things I would miss. First and foremost was the food. Food is so cheap and tasty in Portland, it's almost offensive. I pictured myself months down the road, trying to convince my new New York friends of the wonderful food back in Portland, like some crazed food shaman recounting culinary myths that no one will believe.


Even when the food is sub-par, it's inexpensive enough to make up the difference. In Oregon, all bars must serve food to maintain a liquor license. Additionally, bars can't advertise happy hour drinks, but they can advertise happy hour vittles. This results in patrons being able to order food during all hours of the night at insane prices, which is probably a double edged sword. Ordering greasy snacks at 1:45 AM is seldom never a good idea.


The list of Portland restaurants I will miss is endless: GrĂ¼ner, Thai Peacock, Tasty and Son's—thank god Pok Pok recently opened a sister restaurant in Brooklyn. Perhaps most of all I'll miss Salt & Straw and their interesting, sometimes strange ice cream flavors. Most of them are delicious and exciting, though a couple, like their "kaffir, lemongrass, and fish sauce caramel" flavor, were never quite to my liking. And yet, I think they could make even stranger flavors and folks (including myself) would line up around the block.


Like Liz Lemon, my world view is unsurprisingly food-based, but it's not the only thing I'll lament about departing Portland. I'll miss the fact that Oregon is one of just two states with no sales tax, meaning I have plenty of money left over for more important matters:


On the flipside, there are aspects of Portland I definitely won't miss. Over the summer it was announced that the new season of Real World would be filmed in the city, and that information alone should be enough to cause me to bounce out of state. I anticipate a city-wide breakout of syphilis in Portland next year and I expect the investigation leads to a hot tub in the Real World house. Patient Zero will undoubtedly be some orange skank named Anastasia.


Likewise, I'm thrilled to be escaping the clipboard goblins that linger downtown, begging passersby for a moment of their time. And while I understand that these petition wranglers who stand on street corners are not exclusive to Portland, they have an aggressive urgency I've yet to witness anywhere else. Maybe it's the lovely northwest weather allowing them to stay out year round instead of crawling back into the sewers where they belong, along with the Ninja Turtles and Alicia Silverstone's career.


I certainly won't miss the cyclists who seem to think the rules of the road don't apply to them.


In general, I won't miss the internalized hipster hate plaguing the city. Portland is chock full of hipsters, all despising each other for no real reason. It seems nobody can walk around the city sporting an ironic mustache or hockey puck-sized plugs without someone calling you a try-hard douchebag.


New York has its fair share of hipsters, sure, but everyone's too busy worrying about making rent and fending off bedbugs to put much effort into hating their peers. But just in case, I might keep my Portland roots under wraps for a while, though. I'm already getting sick of answering the question, "so, like, is Portlandia accurate?" Because yes, it is. Stop asking me.


I write this post from the east coast, having left Oregon behind, at least for the time being. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, and though I'm filled with trepidation, I'm mostly excited about new experiences and new stories to tell.

Here's to new adventures!