Melancholy on Mars

The penguins marched on a perfectly iced road. Glaciers drifted along the murky seas. Hills of powdered snow soothed the bleeding heart. Wait, why is there a deli in the middle of Antarctica? “Oh, it’s not Antarctica, but New York in the winter.”

Like any good New York winter, it obviously snowed. The sound of shovels hitting concrete was surprisingly nostalgic. Salt dusted the sidewalk. Twinkling lights adorned the tiny shops of East Ninth Street with its funky vintage clothing and knick-knack empires.

Naturally, I viewed the serene falling snow from the comfort of a warm coffee shop. Although, I had many New York winters under my belt, there was a phenomenon, which didn’t yet contaminate my happiness. While drifting between coffee shop and bus stop, I fantasized about my hometown.

Across the Rocky Mountains, orange-hued plains, and tan desert sands is Riverside, California. It’s a historic suburb, sixty-five miles east of Los Angeles. Unlike most sleepy suburbs with bland homes, chain stores, and homogenous faces, Riverside was weird, in the tradition of Portland or Austin.

There was a surprising counter culture, which frequented the cozy coffee shops of Downtown Riverside. Gay friendly churches, a sizable live music scene, quirky antique shops, mom and pop restaurants, street lined with Sycamore trees, unexpected graffiti art gave and a multi-cultural population gave the leafy Suburb, an unexpected edge.

Of course, there were country clubs, a fabulous mall, old Victorian homes and mini vans, which reminded us, “Oh, yes, it’s not quite Brooklyn.” Alongside rolling hills was my childhood home.

My father still lived in the same house. I missed him, terribly. Since it was just the two of us, we reveled in our time together. We always ate dinner together on an old wooden table. It was a marvel, which symbolized wonderful memories and scrumptious meals.

The downfall of Riverside was it distance, over two thousand miles from New York City. Back in Manhattan, the temperatures dipped below zero. I daydreamed of my house, the smell of an old fireplace, and family.

Bravely, I took my evening walk. While the cold winds penetrated through my pea coat, I felt aloof from the world.

The sidewalks were crowded. In typical New York fashion, everyone was in a rush, but it didn’t deter me from aloofness. In a sense, I was viewing life from my own private planet. For the first time in years, I was homesick.

In the grand tradition of being homesick, I moped around. I was hopeful that a walk around the East Village, it didn’t. However, the loneliness stuck like a snow bank to a frozen sidewalk.

Steam rolled off Second Avenue. Sirens shattered eardrums. I played peek-a-boo with the Chrysler Building. On a typical Saturday afternoon, I headed to the Odessa. It was a distinctly old school Polish diner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the elderly New York population, which frequented the grease spoon. There was an older lady, who always sat opposite me. She was as a tough as nails, native New Yorker. We often had small talk whenever, I’d visit. We’d complain about everything. Therefore, we bonded.

One afternoon, I just sat silent. Staring out the window at a buzzing Avenue A, I tried to enjoy my surroundings. After finishing lunch, I paid my bill and said, bye to my dinner friend.

“You don’t have to eat lunch alone. Next time, come sit at my table, we’ll eat together,” she said, while cracking her coconut shell. I smiled, “I would love that, thanks. See you next week,” I replied.

I left the diner feeling a little less alone. Still feeling homesick, I went to the Strand bookshop. Retail therapy proved quite effective. Walking crosstown toward the Seventh Avenue subway line (with my yellow Strand shopping bag), a strange feeling sent electricity through my brain

“Oh, I feel at home,” said I, giving a stunned facial expression. “That’s right, New York has been home for years. Even though, it’s loud, crowded, claustrophobic, dirty, critter ridden and infested by juice bars, the city will always be my home. Being a brave penguin, I marched on.

Afterwards, I eventually traveled to Riverside. Thanks to Google maps, I felt at home without leaving the East. The Only thing missing was a hug from my dad and an amazing burrito, cha, cha, cha.

A Quirky Bookworm

Writing a novel, it’s what you do when unemployed. In fact, fun-employment land had its perks. While eating bacon donuts, browsing the titles at Powell’s Books, and breathing in the crisp (and very clean) Portland air, I declared, “ wow, fun-employment isn’t so terrible.”

A few weeks later, I returned home to New York City. Gone were gatherings around a bonfire, hills filled with rustic pine trees and the left coast laid-back attitude. Rather, than getting depressed over my lack of employment and many rejection emails from companies around the city, I created my Bohemian utopia.

I lovingly branded this era as the “great bohemian retreat.” Predictably, I wrote stories, lots of stories. Frequenting coffee shops from the East Village to Upper West Side, I sipped the stimulation of a strong coffee. I also read lots of books. Indulging in the eloquent and often humorous words of favorite authors inspired my writing.

Then one day, I looked at my bank statement. “Oy, I really need a job,” said I. While I continued job hunting, I was depressed. “God, I miss working,” said I.

I stared at the Upper West Side from that most dramatic of views, Lincoln Center. The epicenter of operas, which ignite great pathos served as the perfect location for my melancholy moment. While feeling beyond sad, I couldn’t write or daydream without feeling sad.

“What’s one place, which always makes me feel better?” I asked myself. I walked toward the Time Warner Center (it’s a mall, even though New Yorkers would never call it a mall). Going to the mall always cheered me up.

As I stared at the most cinematic city views from the second floor, I received the call, which would change my life. I was re-hired at my old ad firm. The sadness melted like a snowman in spring.

I really wish life were a Broadway musical, since I could’ve broken into the happiest song possible. Rather than feeling like a New York reject, I was happily returning to work.

On Monday, I picked up a $.75 coffee from the deli. I made my way to the subway and opened up a good book. After transferring trains at Times Square, I arrived at Grand Central Station. In the midst of typical Monday morning chaos, I smiled. That train ride led me to a new life and most importantly, I had officially left fun-employment land.

Although, it had difficult moments, fun-employment land had its charms. I spent quality time in Palm Springs with my father, marveled at Portland’s quirks, and found adventures in New York. Looking back at the bohemian era, I can smile and proclaim, “I got a three month holiday, which I probably won’t get again.” Goodbye to the great bohemian retreat. Hello, bohemian life with a job.

Gay-mer

“My future husband is just hiding under a rock. I can feel it.” Said I. Strolling the East Village provided me with a plethora of attractive men. Gawking was delightful, until awkward eye contact was made. This was followed by the even more awkward head turn (to avoid contact) maneuver (from the random guy).

“Whoops, I guess that one wasn’t interested. I must’ve had a booger in my nose or something. Why would any man not want some wonderful eye sex,” I said with optimism spewing from my tongue.

Typically, I stroll with a tote bag (man purse) full of books. Since, I live so far, Uptown, I kill boredom with the words of David Sedaris, Maya Angelou, & Gertrude Stein.While parading around Tompskins Square Park, I found a most inviting park bench to feast upon.

Yet, I couldn’t concentrate on any book. Behold, the Tinder dating app. “No, no, no, I shall not be distracted with men and dating. Hell, I’m not getting any younger here. Damn it, I am caving in,” said I.

Pulling out the phone app, I was met with the evil lord of rejection. There were so many gym bunnies and hipsters. Some guys were a hybrid, hipster + gym bunny (muscles, beards, and flannel, accompanied by a swig PBR beer). Holy shit, where are all the alternative guys? Where are the guys, who said fuck you to the gym, but revered Ezra Pound? Asked I.

In the midst of clones, I found a rebel. “A video game nerd and major dork in general?” I asked myself, while scrolling through the witty profile of an attractive guy (with glasses). I must like him. Surprise, he liked me back, and I finally got a match.

A family of folk singers magically appeared. They played a little jig with their traveling banjos in celebration. As the folk music intensified, I messaged my gay-mer. With fingers crossed, we connected. Quickly, we made plans for a date.

Preparing myself for a voyage across the East River to Astoria, I thought about interesting topics to bring up on the date.” It was my first date with a gay-mer.

“I did have a Nintendo back in the 80’s, been to an arcade and even danced, danced, danced to the dance, dance, revolution. However, I was never particularly good at video games. That’s it, I’ll suggest that he teach me the ropes, “ I thought to myself.

Eventually, I arrived in Astoria. It was chilly evening. Steinway Street was bustling with shoppers in pea coats and fancy wool hats. Through a darkened side street, I found the charming little restaurant for the date.

I walked into the grilled cheese and beer specialty restaurant. It was an intimate place with exposed brick walls, long tables, and a very arty crowd.

“Dinner for one,” asked the friendly host. “Two please,” I replied. He walked me over to the communal table. I ordered a beer. My date arrived, dressed in a pea coat, black beanie and decorative glasses.

He was cute. My glasses were in the primary stages of fogging up. “Was this the animal lust, Cosmopolitan magazine always talked about?” I wondered to myself. “Quick, quick, think of video came terms. He arrived at the table. We hugged. I felt at ease.

“I’m unemployed, 31 and live in a walk-up,” I told him. He responded, “I work two jobs and have several roommates. We laughed and drank beer, noshed on delicious grilled cheeses and had wonderful eye contact. After dismissing the men of New York, I found my ideal geek. He understood my geek-dom and I relished in his quirks.

After four hours of gabbing, two geeks strolled into the Queens night. The pubs were bustling. 24-hour markets were alive with neon. Green cabs raced through Broadway. The sounds of typewriters shattered the evening quiet.

We were cold. Our teeth became musical instruments, as we shivered the night away. Walking toward the subway, I didn’t want to say, goodbye. Along the above ground, Broadway train station, cold winds awakened our spirits. More good conversation followed.

The train arrived. He hopped off on the last stop in Queens. I returned to Manhattan. In my own geeky universe, I was head nerd. However, I needed someone to help me rule the kingdom. Luckily, I received a text from him. He wanted another date. This was a brave step for two boys with highly decorative glasses.

Dog In A Sweater

People, I’m always around people. Sounds, there are so many exotic sounds. Like most Americans, I wake up to an alarm clock. Atypically, this alarm clock is a honking car horn in the morning.

When I wake up, I stroll over to my window, half asleep. I glance down at busy Seventh Avenue (Harlem side), where I plan my wardrobe according to the fashion outside. The grey skies of New York, intensify.

“I feel so alone out here,” declare I. With millions of people around me, a feeling of utter isolation developed. In the tradition of over dramatic gay men, I took initiative.

“Oy, why must I be so alone? With so many single gay men, I stand all alone in this chilly apartment,” said I, throwing myself onto the floor. It was a Tony award worthy performance. Tears fell from my cheeks, “there’s only one thing, which could cure my deep sense of isolation,” I said, staring up at my shabby white ceiling.

“Howdy, small coffee, enough room for cream,” said I. I could’ve seen my shrink, but a $2.00 coffee would work perfectly. My favorite coffee shop was bustling on that bitterly cold winter’s day. There was only one table available, but it came with a catch.

I locked eyes with the most adorable puppy. Reluctantly, I sat next to the puppy. “Shit, this dog better not cause me to spill coffee all over my lap top,” said I. With a faithful glance, I stared into her owner’s eyes.

He was boyishly handsome. Dressed in hip, but understated attire, he was very friendly and approachable. We greeted each other. The dog then licked my face.

“Gross, gross, germs, germs, cooties, cooties,” said I, internally. “I’m so sorry, “ he said. His charm was contagious. Rather than expressing disgruntled angst, I smiled and embraced the puppy.

“Is she a lab?” I asked. “She’s actually a mix pit bull and black lab,” he said. The puppy wouldn’t stop staring at me. She sat right next to me. I opened up my laptop and proceeded to work.

Then the puppy laid her head on my arm. “Don’t get dog hair all over me, “ I thought to myself. “Sorry, about that she’s just super friendly,” he said. I smiled and said, “It’s okay, I love adorable puppy. I just can’t stand crying babies.” We both laughed.

I stared down at the super affectionate puppy. Her loyalty grew into an endearing quality. My feeling of isolation and loneliness dissipated for a moment.

“It must be great having such a cute puppy. I’ve been in New York for years and it’s incredibly lonely at times,” I told him. He shook his head in agreement, “yeah, I get super lonely. That’s why I bought a dog.”

“Wow, this guy is cute, friendly and charming. He gets lonely too. I’m glad I’m not the only one,” I said to myself. He and the puppy eventually left. I really wanted to ask him out on a date, but didn’t.

After my coffee house day, I strolled around the East Village. Surprisingly, puppy love helped me feel a little less lonely for a few hours, afterwards. I stared at the dogs dressed in festive holiday sweaters, roaming around Avenue A.

Oh yes, one day that’ll be Augustan & I (my future pup) wandering the East Village (in our most delightful sweaters). We’ll also have a coffee dates. He’ll enjoy New York tap water and I’ll relish in my gourmet cappuccino. It’ll be quite a life.

T.V. Dinners In Bed

“I’m schvitzing. I’m schvitzing,” I declared, upon arrival at my favorite East Village coffee shop. The heat turned the quaint coffee shop into a tropical paradise, close to the equator. It wasn’t pea coat friendly, obviously.

Rather than ordering a tropical drink and wearing a decorative Hawaiian shirt, I sat outside. In the midst of a chilly New York evening, I sipped on coffee and observed East Village humanity walk by.

Sipping on black coffee on a Sunday night was a treat, but pangs of hunger soon ravaged my creative juices. “I really want Chinese food,” said I. Oy, I’m on a budget. “Don’t think about sit restaurants, rather you fantasize about a hearty T.V. dinner, since it’s on the budget, “ I told my famished brain.

Walking crosstown, I passed my favorite Chinese restaurant on Sixth Avenue. Across the street was the rival restaurant, which was tastier. I had only been going to the rival for a few months.

Faced with a classic, first world dilemma, I made a bold decision. “Dinner for one,” I said. The waiter walked me over to an inviting table by the window. “Don’t sit me by the window,” said I.

He sat me closer to the back of the restaurant. That’s right I went to the rival restaurant. I didn’t want anyone from my typical Chinese haunt to see me. I ordered a wonton soup, pepper steak and brown rice. Sitting alone, I savored in the warm and comforting tastes of China.

I dipped my chopsticks into that last morsel of rice. Staring into the sea of couples, I felt completely alone. This is where I break into a fantastic dance sequence and sing about how lonely New York is. In a perfect world, the restaurant would have morphed into a Broadway stage.

Instead, I contemplated resurrecting my imaginary friend from the dead. He & I hadn’t spent quality time together, since the early 90’s. A week after a lonely Sunday dinner, I flew to Riverside, CA for Thanksgiving.

While New York was more barren then a drive through the Arizona desert, Riverside provided me with something I was missing. “I have a date, wow,” said I. Thanks to modern technology, the Scruff app to be exact (the one where guys with beards meet other guys with beard), I was no longer a lonely urbanite.

I sat in a restaurant, which screamed authentic Indian food. Bollywood played on the television. Curries, roasted chicken, Nan bread hypnotized the soul. In the midst of Indian kitsch and culture, my date arrived.

“Wow, this fella looks like a young John Wayne. If John Wayne looked like a modern day hipster with a trendy haircut,” said I. Charming him with stories of the old world (a.k.a. New York), he glanced into my eyes.

“Would you like to be my house husband? I have the job offer in Bakersfield and we can live together. I can bring home the bacon,” he said.

I was sickened by the thought. Then I thought about my life in New York. Being alone had its disadvantages. However, I had my urban family and didn’t answer to anyone, but myself.

Soon, Mr. John Wayne and I parted ways. I told him, I wasn’t interested via text. He called me “ a straightforward guy” and thanked me for not leading him on. We stayed in touch as friends.

I returned to New York on chilly winter’s evening. Dreading the loneliness of that old studio apartment, I grew scared. Finally, I stepped into my shabby residence. It was lonely, but I was still the king of the tiny principality (a.k.a, my studio on Seventh Avenue)

An hour after arriving from my flight, I had a spontaneous dinner with my gal pals. In the midst of the East Village, we laughed and shared stories. I was thankful for an urban family to laugh my way through the gloomy moments. Now, excuse me as I find another date off Scruff.

King Of The North

Bagpipes, kilts, and punk rock, this is Scotland. Craving a fried Mars bar, anyone? Too bad, this northern story doesn’t take place in the United Kingdom. It centers round the Northeastern United States, New York City to be exact.

On a winter’s day, the sky resembled the distinct grey of Scotland. Journeying along the Upper West Side, I listened to my favorite Scottish band, Garbage. Cloudy days were romanticized for me. I enjoyed the fog, buttoning up a smart pea coat, and relishing in heartwarming whisky.

However, I was feeling down, very down. I had returned to New York City, unemployed. Moping around Broadway, snow fell from the sky. It mirrored frosted corn flakes. I was mesmerized, but jaded. “How am I going to make it without employment?” I asked myself.

Feeling increasingly blue, my hands froze. Surprisingly, I found relief. “Next station is Columbus Circle,” announced the train conductor. Sitting on the near empty subway car, I contemplated life. I relished in the warmth of a train, and observing quirky characters. Regardless, morale remained low.

The snow let up, I strolled the Bowery. In search of CBGB’s ghosts, I ventured into an island of counter culture. Tompskins Square Park was typically filled with homeless punks, arty old people enjoying rent control and a few yuppies lost in the madness.

Sitting on a park bench, I huffed and puffed. Anxiety was kicking in. Then an elderly gentleman sat next to me, with his crumpled up newspaper. “Holy shit, it’s Sean Connery,” I thought to myself. He opened up the newspaper and I played it cool.

He stared at me. I glanced quickly at him. “You looked depressed,” he said. My ears were deceived. “Why does Sean Connery sound like Vinny from Queens?” I asked myself.

Maybe this wasn’t Sean Connery, but he certainly was brilliant at reading obvious body language. “Why so glum? Seasonal depression? He asked. I shook my head, no and replied, “I’m unemployed. It’s been tough to get a career started.

Staring at me, sternly, he replied, “Have you heard of GOYA?” Oh god, yes, I know it means, get off yours ass.” I replied. “Exactly, shit happens to everyone. We’re all struggling here. Take a look around at the neighborhood today. It’s a ghost town. Go out and enjoy it, buddy,” he said, while giving me a pat on the back.

Quickly, he left the quaint park bench. He returned to his rent-controlled apartment, which existed only in my head. The snow fell from the sky, again. Disregarding disappointment, I enjoyed the moment.

The East Village was eerily quiet. It was wonderful. I read a book and drank coffee. My mood was elated, no bagpipes needed. With all this talk of Scotland, I could use a fried Mars bar right now. Cheers to grey skies, bagpipes and Sean Connery look alikes.

Super Geek: The Musical

Forget cowboys, bandwagons, & gold mining, my expedition out west was a bohemian affair. While taking in the atypical winter weather, I wrote short stories in California, sipped on gourmet coffee, and explored Portland’s quirky side.

Reality hit, while in my childhood home in Riverside (CA). “Shit, I have to go back to New York. I ‘m so unemployed in New York. This deserves a major “oy vey.” Said I.

Packing up my suitcase for the land of uncertainty was scary. Then I boarded my connecting flight to Dallas. As I jammed to campy Christmas music, I began thinking happy thoughts. “Think show tunes, Chinese food, strolls around the East Village, snow falling from the sky, gracefully & of course, trips to the Strand Bookstore for fantastically used books,” said I, internally.

My smile grew. The happy thoughts were working. Then Darth Vader and his storm troopers attacked through the airplane intercom, of course. “Ladies & gentleman, we’re going to have to deplane this flight,” said the pilot. The passengers were shocked and disappointed. As we deplaned, I was stressed.

“No East Village, lavish Broadway dance routines or Chinese food for me, I’m going to miss my connection to LaGuardia airport,” I proclaimed. As I stood in line to rearrange my flight, I grew gleeful.

“Maybe, I could stay in extra day in California with dad?” I asked myself. The airline fairies were on my side. I was able to take a connecting flight to Dallas in the morning, which meant an extra day out west. The great bohemian expedition was revived.

My father picked up again from the airport, and I took part in intellectual activity. Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein & Maya Angelou would be proud, if they were really into pop culture.

I watched television shows from Portlandia to the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Saving intellectual stimulation for New York, I indulged in pop culture. I don’t own a television, which made the experience a real treat.

The next morning my airline fairies carried the mighty flight to Dallas. Those girls had some real muscle power. I was generally upbeat on the flight. When the plane landed, I prepared myself for a delightful stroll through DFW.

It didn’t compare to the East Village or the Upper West Side when it came to scenery. However, it was still fantastic for people watching. Anxiously, I waited for my flight to New York to board. From the corner of my eye, I saw the bohemian dream.

He wore a beanie, which covered his strawberry blond hair. With a distinctive nose, pretty green eyes, & a smart sense of style, I found my token airport eye candy. “Holy moly, “ I thought to myself.

Finally, I was boarding my flight home to New York. Drifting away to the sounds of Bjork, I received a surprise. “Am I in the right row? I can never tell with these exit rows,” asked a male voice. Glaring up, I was in awe. It was my bohemian dream in the flesh and he was sitting next to me.

He smiled. I smiled. Naturally, I made conversation with him right away. “You’re an actor. I can tell these things,” said I, trying to boast of my worldliness. With a giggle, he asked, “how did you know? I shrugged my shoulders and replied, “I read people really well.”

The conversation progressed. I learned he was in Amarillo (TX) visiting his folks. He lived in Astoria, had a side job & was struggling to find a new apartment. I thanked the airline fairies, Darth Vader & storm troopers for not allowing me to leave the day before.

Our flight landed. I mustard the courage to ask the following question, “Can I get your number?” Surprise, I got the digits. I walked him to baggage claim. Thanks to fate, I met an amazing guy.

Happily, I hoped into a cab, bound for Manhattan. The next day, it snowed. “I wonder if Mr. Bohemian dream would like to build a snowman with me?

“Wait for it, wait for it,” said I, after sending the text. I didn’t receive a response. In fact, I didn’t receive a response for days.

In a Broadway theatre (the great white way, which exists in my brain), I sang the following song, “rejected again, oy, rejected again. It’s New York and rejection is always around the corner like a deli. So, shit, I’m still super geek at the end of the day. I’ll find my fellow nerdy cape crusader.”

Back to the real world, I looked on the bright side. I spent quality time with my gal pals. While eating delicious diner food and enjoying laughs, I forgot about my bohemian dream. Instead, I took my rejection and made it into art (and you’re currently reading it).

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

That Bearded Dude

Saturday mornings, I typically frequent my favorite Upper West Side diner. Sitting with a cup of coffee, I often wondered if I would ever find romance. Grindr, Tinder, & Okcupid, I was on every dating site. Yet, I couldn’t even get a handshake from perspective dates.

Something peculiar happened when I left for a holiday in Portland. I met a guy, at a gay bar. I only happened to travel 2,454 miles to find him. On my last night in Portland, we sat across from each other at a wine bar, which could easily fit in (New York’s) West Village.

It was utterly romantic and terribly cliché. “Hey do you wanna go to Voodoo donuts,” he asked. Secretly, I did want to go. Rather than playing it cool, I shook my head with great enthusiasm.

Noshing on maple-bacon donuts, I glared into the pavement. It was gritty and grungy, the great 90’s alternative rock bands would approve. While eating our hearty donuts, we decided to take the plunge. I experienced some fear, since it had been a while. He grabbed my hand and led me to a dark den with glowing lights.

I know what you’re thinking this isn’t a romance novel, is it? Correct, we didn’t end up some seedy hotel room, but in a video game arcade. It was the boozy, 21 and over arcade, naturally. We competed with each other on various video games.

As expected, I really sucked at shooting ducks and driving racecars. Continually, he beat me in every game. I hated loosing. In my defense, I hadn’t played a video game, since the Clinton administration.

Sensing my frustration with continual loses, he grabbed and kissed me. In the midst of pinball machines and Japanese pop music, I fell for a guy in the most unexpected of places.

We took a walk alongside gritty Burnside, holding hands. Then we came to an obvious, but shocking fact. “What are we going to do now? It’s your last night. I live in Portland. You live in New York, but I’ve never felt this way about a guy before,” asked my beloved, Oregonian.

Frustrated, I had fallen off the puffy cloud of fantasy. In the echoing sounds of street musicians and wind speeds, I grew dumbfounded. “That’s right, we just happened to have a whole continent, separating us,” I said, with relative sarcasm.

It was a terribly emotional moment. “Why couldn’t I’ve met this guy in New York? I wish he would just move in with me.” The awkwardness grew. Rather than dwell on specifics, we reveled our last night together.

Toward the end of the evening, I walked him to the Max (the Portland streetcar). It arrived, too quickly. Giving him one last kiss, I bid him, farewell. It was truly the end of a spectacular holiday.

The next day, I was riding in a cab to Portland International Airport. I received a text, “You’re complicated, but I adore you” he wrote. Giggling, I wrote back, “It takes a complicated guy to know a complicated guy. I adore you too.” He sent a smile-y face.

Taking in a deep breath, I stared at his picture. “If this is actually true romance, I’ll be seeing you again soon,” I declared with confidence. I arrived at the airport, hoped on a plane and left my heart in Portland.

The Raindrops of Portland

Fun-employment was a miserable, but (surprisingly) exciting era for me. After interviewing for countless jobs in New York and not garnering a new position, I decided to nourish my bohemian roots.

Rather than dwell on what I didn’t have, I focused on art, writing and experiencing a new culture. Although, I couldn’t afford to climb the Himalayas, play on Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, or walk the Great Wall of China, I opted for a grand bohemian retreat on the West Coast.

After experiencing too much sun in my native California, I longed for rain, lots of rain, and bacon, lots of bacon with a tasty brew, of course. As my plane took off to Portland, I tear nearly ran down my cheek. “Repeat after me, rain, rain, rain, coffee, coffee, coffee, bacon, so much bacon and plenty of cute bearded men,” said my quirky brain.

Predictably, I was met with rain, upon arrival at Portland airport. The drops were so massive. They practically needed their own zip code. Delighted with the puffy clouds and rain, I made my way into the rain-slicked pavement.

Food carts were clustered together on SW Washington Street. My stomach rumbled. While dashing toward the den of food porn, I was presented with a curious situation.

“Blood, blood, blood, I hate blood. Oy, I couldn’t be a doctor, since I am terrified of my own blood.” Said I. On the road to curing a rumbling tummy, I slipped on the rain soaked sidewalk and scrapped my knee.

Running back to my hotel, I screamed “disappointment.” I was shocked to have slipped on my first hour in Portland. A part of me wanted to stay in the hotel room and just cry over a minor injury. Instead, the warrior and adventurer in me prevailed.

I placed a bandage over my knee, and merrily walked back to the sidewalk. Rather than crying, I ventured to Powell’s Books (world’s biggest book shop) for some much needed book therapy.

Growing lost in the rain, I had a terrible time finding the legendary bookshop. Even though, Portland was on a grid, I was lost. Finally, I decided to actually ask for directions.

“Burnside divides SW Portland from NW Portland,” said the kind Oregonian. With her help, I finally found my bearings on the directions. From a distance, I saw Powell’s Bookstore.

It was one of those places in the West Coast; I’d always wanted to visit. When I flung the doors open, my mouth open wide. Powell’s Bookstore fit every adjective associated with the word, huge. Books upon books lined shelves. They towered to the ceiling. It was a cathedral dedicated to the written word.

Feeling like a seven-year old running around the world’s greatest toyshop, I gleefully read excerpts from my favorite authors. I also discovered local authors. Buying books on Maya Angelou and Gertrude Stein, I felt well accomplished.

Leaving Powell’s bookstore was difficult, since I always felt there was more to explore. The rain intensified and I had forgotten about my previous slip. Instead, I found great joy in exploring Portland and getting immersed in the dizzying array of Pacific Northwest-ness. It was the ideal bohemian retreat.

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