I got a message from my friend Rachel (who I met like 5 years ago or something, thanks to this very blog), who lives in California, and she said she was going to be in Portland for a few days this week. I am legit swamped at work lately, but you what: who isn’t? And you know what else: who cares? FUCK IT. I booked a place to stay over night, gassed up the car, and drove down there to see her. How’s that for decision making? Falling behind with responsible grown up things…or ROAD TRIP? Answer: vroom vroom suckuhhhhhz.
When I really think about it, some of the best decisions I have ever made in my life were made with the sentiment: FUCK IT. I feel like this is a strategy that works well for me.
I went in to work on Tuesday, busted out as much as I could for a half day, then was all PEACE OUT and drove the 3 hours from Sea-town to Stumptown. It has been years since I have been on a solo road trip, and yes, I understand that 3 hours isn’t that far, but still. I forgot how fun it is. You get to drive fast and belt out as many Velveeta-covered songs as you want (Backstreet’s back, alright!!!) and eat junky snacks and feel like you are just leaving whatever shit you want behind. It’s frigging delightful.
When I got to town I checked in to a nutty little studio that I found online for rent. It was a hot pink one room house with a sleeping loft which: awesome and ridiculous. Honestly it was perfection, other than the fact that in order to get to the sleeping loft you had to climb a ladder. Not stairs. A ladder. This is a litmus test for adulthood: is climbing up and down a ladder to get into bed (a) fun or (b) a pain in the bootango? I wanted it to be “a.” But when I had to get up to do a 3am Number One (another sign of being an old) I was not feeling so charmed by that ladder. In fact, I felt like that ladder wanted to murder me. Also, the sleeping loft had a slanted ceiling so I kept bumping my head when I would get in and out of it. GRANDMA CAIN’T FIDDLE FADDLE WIT ALL THE UPSY DOWNSY OK?
I headed out for dinner with Rachel and her crew of fun ladies that she brung with her. It was a Christmas-in-April miracle because it wasn’t raining, so we sat outside in this food truck table area (how Portland of us) and shot the shit for a while and then went to a little deli place for dinner. The dinner place had trivia cards on the tables so we teamed up for a two-on-two trivia game. I never did keep track of who won, but I did learn that I do not know the names of more than 2 cities in Vietnam (embarrassing), and Rachel made an amazing deductive guess about shrimp fishing in Greenland. I also learned about a thing called “Operation Cat Drop” that happened where, in order to combat a rat infestation, cats were parachuted into Borneo in the 1960s. Cats in parachutes! Wikipedia says that this is maybe not a thing that really happened, but the trivia card said it did.
After that we walked a bit and talked some more, and then I took myself back to my little pink rental. The next morning we went to brunch and then walked over to one of my favorite shoe stores in Portland, where everyone bought something except for me. The highlight of that leg of the trip was the fact that we saw a dude that looked exactly like Laird from Girls. Doesn’t it seem like Laird should live in Portland? I think so.
By midday I was back on the road, headed back to normal life. It had been a while since I had seen Rachel and I’m so glad I went, and I am happy to have met two more fun people in the bargain. It can be a little daunting to show up to a situation where your friend is hanging out with their friends who you don’t know. There is always a little bit of 8th grade me that is nervous about that sort of thing. But the thing about Rachel is this: she is so delightful, so goodhearted, so welcoming, that she just overpowers everyone with it and makes everything easy. There are a few people I know that have that openhearted, un-self-conscious warmth. My friend Allison has it. Nordic Boy’s mom has it. I wish I had it. That Rachel- she’s a ball of outwardly radiant awesome. Just a joyful person. Like a storm of cuddly cats parachuting around you. Only real.
View from prime head-bumping position.
The ladder that tried to end me.