Block 522: November 17, 2014



Date: November 17, 2014

Crane: 522

Days Spent on Project: 637

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Stuart Connor MacLeod.

Stuart was the Scottish Terrier that was given to us on Christmas Day of 1994. I had– well, my parents, sister, and younger brother– just ten days prior been involved in a car accident that left me slightly bruised and with a broken middle finger and slightly shortened index finger. It was set to be a low key Christmas…

Until we got our VERY OWN DOG.

I was a freshman in High School at the time, and taking some time to adjust to life in a private Jesuit school. I grew up with asthma, so I was always told that having a dog was strictly impossible for health reasons. My eldest sister, however, adopted one in college, which would come and visit. I didn’t seem to have problems with HIM, so it seemed possible that we *could* get one.

Ultimately, Stu started out as my brother’s dog. As my brother and I grew up, Stu was always attached to him– sleeping in his room, and so on. But as the family left the house and went to college, my parents became the primary caregivers.

He really was a great dog. He certainly wasn’t the smartest dog, of course, but he was insanely loyal and pleasant and goofy and serious in that Scotty way. He was really great.

I’m choosing to dedicate today’s Crane to him because of yesterday’s dedication. I remembered hearing from my mom and sister the night before he was put to sleep; I was at a Halloween party, dressed as The Sartorialist, when I got the phone call and text. It kind of ruined the evening. I ended up leaving the party on the Upper Upper East Side, taking a cab down to a diner and ordering breakfast. I ate my omelette and sobbed while I spoke on the phone to my parents. He was 15 years old, a very lengthy life for a Scotty, and he had let my parents know that it was time.

So, he was our family’s (in my awareness) first dog. Yes, there were pets before and another co-opted dog along the way, but he was the first one adopted specifically for us.

He was really great.

There’s something about owning a dog, you know? Everyone, I believe, should be lucky enough to own at least one in their lifetime.

Music I listened to while sewing: Nothing today. Let’s fix that, shall we?

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I could only run so far, it seems.

This morning I woke up feeling the same feelings that I was used to in New York.

A few months absence was a good stretch, I guess.

I’m down because– I’ll be frank with you– because I’m incredibly worried that one of my big fears is coming true.

I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life.

In one sense, I was raised to be a solitary person. No one in my family was ever really a social butterfly, and I don’t think that out-going behavior comes naturally to us. I have moments where it’s very easy to be amongst crowds and work within groups, but I am so much more comfortable now in my space and doing my things. And all the things I do have become solitary things: I sew quilts and cranes, I draw and sketch, I read and research (for fun!), I run, I walk my dog.

I went on a date last night with someone who’s eight years younger than me. I found him attractive. I thought he was fun. But, at the end of the evening, I couldn’t get any sense of what was happening. I was trying to flirt. Was he? Is this how gay men in Portland flirt?

I’m also realizing that I can no longer say “I’m new here.” It’s been four months and two days. Why don’t I have friends? Why don’t I have a place? A group? A vested interest in Portland? Why haven’t I been across the river more than I have?

I like being at the theater, and I like working on the things that I have going on in the theater. I like my work. If I were still in New York and I had this much theater-work to do, I’d be happily doing it as much as I could.

Maybe that’s the problem? I finally have the chance to immerse myself in theater work and designs and budgeting and reading and paperwork and organizing, and I’m enjoying it. That’s not a problem, right? I like what I do.

But I really do worry that– no matter how long I stay here with this job or theater company– that I’m just going to be at it alone. Portland isn’t captivating me with its urban wiles. The idea of working is.

I’m going to turn into a crazy cat lady… or a crazy Frenchie gay. One of the two.

Or Cathy.


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