I fall in love all over again for new cities. Architecture is exciting, people are fresh, there is much to fascinate and explore. Portland is especially easy to love. Unlike in San Francisco, Portland has quiet streets, small houses, and serene spaces. Long rains and the invention of sun cause Portland to explode with spring. I run after massive cherry trees bursting with overwrought pink fur. Dogwood, dahlias, white apple trees. It is epic.
For my third Portland visit, Greg and I stay a too-short weekend with Howie–new home owner, newly fifty-two, and new professor of anthropology at Portland State University. Howie puts up with my roaring while psychoanalyzing my projective, regressive behaviors.
The three of us are traveled enough that we no longer desire to hit all the city sites. Instead, we drink in bars, snarf snacks, and sit in Overlook Park to savor spring. Portland certainly has embraced craft beer and artisanal dining. Greg tackles a grilled octopus in its own ink while I try gnocchi with spring garlic and a kale salad. I try to eat healthy, although it would be better to do away with all those pints of porter.
We wander into a dive bar with a country-western band. Portland occasionally clashes the older working classes with the newer wave of hipsters. Everyone can agree on happy hours that stretch leisurely from four to six and later again from ten to midnight. I slurp an artisanal jello-shot at Inter Urban for part of the first happy hour and beer at my favorite Kennedy School for the later happy hour with a break between for a drunken nap.
I dream of previous parts of my life: my parents’ home, college, high school. Road travel means I can turn up anywhere in the country. Nebraska? Why not! Nashville? Sure! My home is everywhere for a night and yet nowhere for long.