If By “Portland” You Mean “Incredible City”…
After my long day of travel and midnight bedtime I slept in. Good choice.
And, when in Oregon (oh-so-close to Seattle) you should do coffee in a local coffee shop. I chose Stumptown on Mikey’s advice. Journal in hand, iPod juiced, writing in my quirky blue ink (I’ve always thought black was too morbid, so I always use blue ink–and the Sanford Uni-Ball, champagne color is the only way to roll. Deluxe fine point, of course) in my $0.99 composition book:
General Observations About The Stumptown Vibe
For some reason, Portland makes me feel comfortable. I’ve only been here about 16 hours but I feel very much at home. It’s a nice blend of the best of the U.S.A. and Europe as best I can tell. And I can tell. See, I was in Amsterdam in July, so I can speak from experience.
It’s September, so I’m a bit bemused by the abundance of scarves and knit caps. Not that they aren’t necessary, mind you…just that it’s SEPTEMBER and I’m barely used to people having to wear those in January. Fleece was also a big player among the patronage.
At Stumptown, there were Milk Bone dog treats at the coffee condiment table. Any place that dog-friendly is high on my list.
The place features local artists on a rotating basis. Very cool…and this go-round featured some good photography. My wife, however, would dominate those walls.
The house-blend to drink in-house was a buck. I paid $7 to park close enough to get to walk to the coffee shop.
The magazine rack included, Aperature, The Nation, Thrasher, Wired, Portland Monthly, Beautiful Decay, Punk Planet and some others. It dawned on me that I’m officially not “with it.”
The baristas are striking. In what must be a nose-thumbing at Starbucks, piercings were encouraged to be shown, as were tattoos. One girl was a genuine 50’s throwback in her checkerboard sleeveless top and horn-rimmed glasses. She couldn’t have been 25…but it was a good look. Clashed with the other typical grunge look, but both oozed hipness. It dawned on me that I don’t.
There was a computer-generated, hand-laminated (read: covered with scotch tape) sign that read: “Please refrain from using your cell phone while placing your order.” Pro-dog, anti-mobile phone bias = winning over this customer.
Lots of handbills in the shop, too. Everything from concerts to indie film showing to compilation CD makers to something by the Alternative Energy Coalition having a seminar on “Biodiesel Demystified.” I liked the handbill look.
Bikes were big players. In fact, I’ve been told that these green ones with the chain are for public use. You just use it as needed, and leave it for the next person. Maybe not this one, but I know that exists…just not sure of the color…so I didn’t feel free to hop on. People here have helmet clips on their backpacks.
The Best Part of the Late Morning/Early Afternoon
Next I spent a couple hours walking along the sidewalk next the Willamette River. There’s a huge park next to it. I read some. Had a little worship service with my worship playlist on the iPod. Prayed some. Walked some more.
A guy tried to sell me some drugs. I said, “No, thanks.” I wondered why I said “thanks” instead of following Nancy Reagan’s advice. Later that guy was in a fistfight with another guy. Maybe he should follow Nancy Reagan’s advice.
There were homeless folks under one of the bridges. Some of them had iPods. It seemed strange, but then if I were suddenly homeless, I’d keep my iPod. I just don’t know where I’d charge it up.
There were lots of joggers. I wondered if it had something to do with the Portland Marathon I saw advertised everywhere. I might could get motivated to exercise if it was 58 degrees and I ran or walked or biked by the Willamette every day, though. Turns out there was some promotion of “exercise during lunch hour” thing I saw in the newspaper I glanced at over lunch.
I won’t bore you with the things I thought about (that’s a nice way to say I’d rather not let you all in on my private walk with God)…
…or prayed about…
…our read about…
but trust that those experiences while seeing views like this…
…stuff like that keeps me centered.
And, later…dinner with Alperts & a Stevenson, with Evan and ‘Nardos thrown in for good measure.
Life is good, man. Life is good.