Alien Returns to Portland

Returning to your hometown for Thanksgiving is a little disorienting. Either Portland is growing up, quickly entering the adolescent popularity obsession phase of its development, or I'm really getting old. Every time I come back it's a little bit different. Every time I come back I'm less of an expert, feeling like a tourist in my own sandbox. Around every corner I find interesting new extensions of the city I once knew so well, and I wonder if the Portland I remember still exists. Did I forget to preserve it, or did I forget to preserve the Portland part of me when I moved to Los Angeles? Reminiscing becomes impossible when everyone has moved to the present in your absence. Catching up becomes almost pointless when everyone's rushing twords the future.

I'm turning 25 on Saturday. I think I will write some grandiose quarter-century reflection and hopes/predictions for the next quarter-century, so stay tuned.

Right now I'm just really disoriented about being in Portland. I should probably just stop thinking about it and enjoy it. Enjoy the width of the three-lane freeways. Marvel at the people who walk around the city. Even though it's 40 degrees out, they don't need to get in their cars. Breathe the clean, crisp air. Walk inside a bar and inhale the cigarette smoke haze that will lodge its odor under my skin and in every fiber of my clothing by last call. Count (on two hands) the number of Starbucks we pass on the drive from Downtown, through the Pearl, to the NW 23rd District. Drive past my old house, now painted puke green with pee green trim, with so many bells and whistles that it would look better to just throw a bunch of actual bells and whistles in the front yard. Collect familiar glances from people walking past, familiar people who may or may not have known me, who may or may not have changed the course of my life in some smigden of a way, who may or may not live in Portland...they may be ghosts haunting Portland, ghosts trying to reconcile their pasts, trying to figure out whether Portland has changed, or whether they have changed.

Between the two of us, I think I've done most of the changing.


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