Monday, February 07, 2005

Portland was crazy, not even real. From the moment I left my house on Thursday morning, everything had this sort of filmic glow, like everything that I was doing wasn't even real, like I'd taken a break from my real actual life and jumped into a movie about a person more interesting than myself. Everything was sort of blurry around the edges from sleep-deprivation, jet lag, fear, nerves, happiness, intense happiness, worry, triumph, often alcohol. Friday morning: wandering around outside my hotel, splitting hangover headache, looking for a drugstore so I could pop some Excedrin and get all my stuff out of the hotel room by noon and drop it all off at my friend Dan's apartment (thanks, Dan!) and then do what I had to do, which I can't really talk about but which was amazing and life-affirming and just ridiculous. Portland seems kind of big and small at the same time, like I have shin-splints from walking around it for hours and hours but somehow it doesn't seem like a city big enough to have a basketball team; I kept expecting to see Blazers walking around, buying shoes or eating sushi even though I live in a medium-sized city with two large professional sports teams and have never once seen any of the players out. The mountains look amazing from a plane; I knew what Mount St. Helens was even though I'd never seen it before and the pilot didn't point it out. Here are some things I learned about Portland: 30% of the population is between twenty and thirty years of age, there is at least one cinema drafthouse, the hills are steep and plentiful, public transportation is more than decent, bars are cheaper than you'd think, microbrews are better than you'd think (and I hate microbrews), record stores are all over the place even though only a few are really any good, trucks selling Mexican food set up shop in every parking lot, most of the bridges are the kind of bridge that goes up when a boat goes under it, the air tastes different. I love Portland.

Right now I could talk about the Chemical Brothers album or the Super Bowl or Alien vs. Predator or Chunklet magazine or the Super Bowl commercial with Diddy driving a Diet Pepsi truck or the Pitchfork half-decade album list, but I'm tired. All I really want to say right now is that you need to fly out of Chicago right after the sun sets and the city stretches out beneath you, all lit-up flourescent interlocking checkerboards bleeding into each other, the plane's wing sitting right behind you, reassuringly blue, Spacemen 3's Playing with Fire on your Discman. You need to do that.