here i am.

Friday night Mary and I biked downtown to meet Reyna at Sushi Takahashi (she was at Stumptown dealing with some male ish). I ate an inordinate amount of avocado. Like, I only grabbed plates off the train that contained avocado. I was on the verge of a migraine (I had been seeing shooting stars and flashing lights since I woke up that morning), but I somehow believed that avocado was the solution…along with popping lots of migraine pills. Since an evening of jumping around to loud music was planned, I was a little nervous. I haven’t had a migraine in months (although in the past they have been a regular occurrence), thanks to a steady routine of yoga, minimal booze and nicotine, and a regular sleep schedule. I knew that I could not drink any alcohol that night. Even though it seems as if a stiff drink would alleviate any headache, I have found that it only makes it worse. And furthermore, it also increases my likelihood of a vomiting (accompanied with weepiness) episode. No fun, especially when one has a MFNW wristband to fully utilize.

But back to dinner…So my favorite thing about Sushi Takahashi is not the high quality, super cheap sushi. Nope, it’s the endless amusement that can be garnered from writing notes on torn up chopstick wrappers and then sneakily placing them on the sushi train. Boundless delight! After covering the standard subject matter (“666” and “See you in hell”), I wrote a note that said, “Dear boy in the red shirt, I want to kiss you.” This was extra-funny to me because the aforementioned fellow was approximately 15 years old. And he was with his teenage girlfriend. He didn’t write back, but I’m sure he saw me. Now I guess I’m a cougar or something.

Next we went to Backspace to see Southern Belle. Oh heck…the boy in the red shirt was the drummer! I further amused myself by taking pictures of him while his band was playing.

The next stop was the Muslims at Dante’s. We ran into my friend Rob, who revealed that the Tube was giving out free High Life from 10-10:30. So we ran over there. Because we were early, Rachel and I bought cocktails. After all, they were only $2 (because happy hour at the Tube runs until 10 pm!!!!). A few minutes later, it was free beer time…so I was chasing a gin with “the champagne of beers.” Ugh. And with lightning fast speed, I was suddenly drunk enough to think we should just stay at the Tube to dance to rap music for white kids. Thank god Mary and Rachel were the voice of reason.

When we raced over to Ash Street to see Danava, I was flushed and tipsy. I kept declaring, “I am so metal now!” But I have to say, Danava kind of blew my mind. Imagine 10-minute songs with 7-minute guitar solos. And lots of long hair! It was then that I realized that I have a soft spot for the Portland metal guys with long hair, those plastic glasses that indie rock boys always wear, slightly ill-fitting jeans, and Converse low tops. Dang! Let’s get together and play Magic: The Gathering.

We should have stayed for Witchcraft (we agreed to this the next day), but we went over to Berbati’s to meet Reyna instead. I had a brief conversation about cats with The Ice Cream Man. I declined his offers of vegan treats, mainly because I suddenly realized that my head was killing me beyond description and I didn’t want to vomit in front of him.

We were in Berbati’s for like, five minutes, and then I left. The band on stage was awful, I felt sick, and I realized that I could no long stand upright, much less have raging amounts of fun. Rachel and I unlocked our bikes, hugged goodbye, and I pedaled off in opposite directions. The bike ride through downtown was pretty treacherous. Imagine streets filled with SUVs driven by drunken residents of Beaverton who have limited experience with bicyclists. Perhaps they have only seen bikes in movies. It was scary!

I felt a lot better as I crossed the Hawthorne bridge. It was a beautiful evening, the stars were highly visible, and I was pedaling so fast I was able to pretend I had superpowers. “I’m so lucky to live here,” I thought. And then I remembered that I don’t live in Portland. I live thousands of miles away in the anti-Portland. Bummer. I corrected myself. “I’m so glad to be here right now. I’m so glad for discount airline tickets and finally earning the maximum vacation days allowed by my employer…and borrowed bikes and comfortable sofas and friends who still love me, geography be damned.”

When I arrived at my destination, I threw up (yes, I made my usual “I can’t believe this is happening” statement and there were copious amounts of tears) and then crawled under a mountain of blankets on the couch. Mary’s dog, Sadie, joined me. I wish I could say that I fell asleep, but mostly I just laid there and thought about how much fun I was having on vacation.

Today I am so exhausted (thanks to stupid airline schedules and a night devoid of sleep), I can barely speak in complete sentences. At lunch, Alex and Marlyn wanted to know the details of my trip, but I could only respond with, “I’m really tired. I can’t speak very well. Let’s talk about this tomorrow.”

But I have to say…I had a really amazing trip. Perhaps one of the best vacations ever. Lots of late night bike rides, inside jokes taken to the nth power, good shows, sunshine, and general fun.

Every time I ran into someone I know, they would ask, “Are you back for good? Oh, you’re not. Well, WHEN are you moving back?”

Obviously this question has been on my mind since the day I arrived in Philadelphia. My current response is usually “in a year or two.” You see, I have a lot to do. Like, get at least one more promotion at my job. And move to West Philly with Janelle (and build a teepee in our dining room). And have more photo shoots. Play lots of Boggle. Take more trips to the Sand Lake. Visit all of those roadside attractions Janelle told me about. Go to that flea market that JT loves. Watch the sun rise over the Art Museum. Finish my book. Convince Janelle to move to Portland (after all, the boys are cuter there). And so on.

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