Thursday, July 19, 2007

Portland - Saturday, June 2

[We begin with a large editor's note.]

Bloop bloop bloop.

My post frequency has dropped, and that's partially due to the Portland recap. See, I've already posted Day One and Day Two, but that left us asleep in Alphabet Town. Clearly, other things happened, and it's my responsibility to write about it. The problem is that I've wanted those summaries to be excellent. I've wanted to compose proper travelogues, with drama and humor and a unifying theme. I have given up that ghost. I just want to be done with this, and move on to other things. And you know what? Those other things aren't going to be groundbreaking literature, either.

You can expect more volume, and much less quality. (If you ever thought there was quality here to begin with.) I assume that's what you want. When I'm on the internet, I just want to read something my friend wrote. Of course, I can't do that anymore, because my friends abandoned their blogs. Maybe my friends are your friends, and that puts you in a tight spot. So you need my output. So I'm going to write.

So. Here's some stream-of-consciousness, not-fact-checked nonsense that happened over a month ago...

* * *

Saturday morning we went to a bakery -- a different one than the previous morning -- with our hosts. Our hosts paid for the meal, again. I had a French apple tart, she had a heart-shaped thing with strawberries. We finished up and began the caravan west.

She and I listened to the radio until the station dissolved into static. As new Travis single played, she asked me what I was thinking about.

"I was trying to place this song. At first I thought it could be Snow Patrol, which is funny, as they're Scottish, and so are Travis, who actually sing this song. And then I thought about a dream I had, where I was hanging out with Chuck Klosterman, and I was asking him, 'When is it okay to stop buying a band's albums?' That question was with Travis in mind, as I don't like this new song, but I like all of there previous stuff, and I've been to see them in concert."

Also playing: my favorite song from the '80s, The Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another". Then I started to ask her the "Inside the Actor's Studio" questions.

The Tillamook Burn museum was our rest stop. A large forest burned 40 years ago, and they replanted it. Using elementary school students. Perfect. Put the little bastards to work! We'll regain this timber yet! The forest is 40 years young, and still looks more distinguished than most destinations. Oregon is beautiful without even trying.

Our destination was Netarts, a small village on Netarts Bay, on the Pacific. It was our hosts' beach house. The first thing you see when you walk in the door is a gigantic, colorful painting of Rodney Dangerfield's face. The second thing you see depends on which way you turn your head, and whether or not you're myopic.

We ate a bit of lunch, salad and soup, prepared by a new proprietor of an established local restaurant, a young man who told us of his disdain for the local food inspector's "health codes", as well as his dream of naming his first born son Sebastian, and his first girl Taliano. He personality was far less robust than his clam chowder.

Beach time. Walter, the dog (I was going to write "the boxer" to be more specific about the breed, but I guess that would just be more confusing, given the other meanings, e.g. sparring partner, Simon & Garfunkel classic, one who places things inside of boxes), our two hosts, and we two visitors made our way to the sand. Fog. Wind. A dog enjoying the sand more than you'd think possible, making figure eights around us, running ahead of us, but not too far -- Walter likes the group to be together. If he gets too far ahead, he stops and waits for you. If you dally too far behind, he stops, turns, and stares, begging you to hurry the fuck up so he can gallop around with a clear conscience.

Walter will wait for you

We walked all the way to Oceanside, which put the song "Oceanside" in my head, and made me wonder if the authors, Portland-based The Decemberists, had my location in mind when writing their lyrics.

We walked back. This may sound pretty tame, and objectively, it was. It was just a walk on the beach, on a foggy day, no less. But it was calming. It was NICE.

The house was quiet afterward. Our hosts napped, as did Walter, and I finished "In Cold Blood" while she read some of the magazines lying about.

Dinner was superb. We went to Roseanne's in Oceanside. She and I were treated to:

A half-dozen raw oyster shooters
Shrimp/scallops pasta
Pacific snapper
Marionberry cheesecake
Triple chocolate cake

Back at the house, I sat on the dog-hair-covered couch and watched the parade on television. One of our hosts -- a real estate man -- could hear the parade play-by-play as he stocked the fireplace. As the television's voices said the phrase "Red Hot Chili Peppers" for some reason, he brought up he'd recently shown a house to Anthony Kiedis. "But I thought he was a Californicator," our other host joked. The reason AK gave for looking at the Portland housing market? Quality of life. I was stunned. Kiedis is a millionaire -- he can afford to live anywhere he wants, and he's poking around in Portland? What the fuck is going on in that city? And what the fuck is going on in CALIFORNIA, THE STATE THEY WRITE THE GODDAMN SONGS ABOUT, "CALIFORNIA GIRLS", "CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'", AND SO ON AND SO ON AND SO ON??? If you've got more money than God, and you can't find a quality life in California, what does that mean?

(You know what I think about when I think of California? There are two references that float around in my head. The first I can't recall the origin of, but I believe it was someone's internet profile. The profile had a list of like and dislikes, and under "likes" this woman had included "The idea of California". I like that.

The second is from Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius". He and his brother are newly arrived in the state, singing along to Journey, driving along, headed back to the Bay Area after goofing off south on Highway 1:
We run back across the highway, back into the red Civic and keep driving. Past the surfers, through the eucalyptus forest before Half Moon Bay, birds swooping up and over then back, circling around us -- they too, for us! -- then the cliffs before Seaside -- then flat for a little while, then a few more bends and can you see this motherfucking sky? I mean, have you fucking BEEN to California?
But maybe Mr. Under The Bridge is over it.)

We watch a movie about Al Franken, and I eat a lot of popcorn even though I'm not hungry.

Our bedroom's curtains are comically designed. We have one of those talks that can only happen late at night, divulging information about deeply personal subjects. I wake up during the night and use the restroom; when I return to the bed, I accidentally bump her leg, and she immediately deadpans, "Stop it." I chuckle and settle into my sleeping position, but she doesn't laugh. She doesn't say a thing. In the morning, she doesn't remember any of the previous night's topics, but does insist that "Stop it." was meant to be humorous.


Dougal said...

Your friends may have abandoned their blogs but you bloody well shouldn't! Since stumbling across this a year or so ago it's become one of my regular stops on the internet, your writing style is very entertaining. Keep it going!

Anonymous said...

While I was reading the section on the RHCP, a RHCP song started playing on my iTunes shuffle. Mere coincidence, or further evidence of Kiedis' mystical powers?

It's the little things, Dan.