Block 787: September 19, 2015

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Well, today is my first day off in 2 weeks, and I intended to do nothing… but instead tried to do 2 weeks worth of errands throughout the day.

Crane, gym, a Target run, picking up books from the office, cleaning the the tub and the toilet and the sink and the mirror and mopped the floor, taking the trash out, three long dog walks, groceries; I’m now sitting on my balcony with a glass of wine and Fort Fairfield playing.

Tomorrow… so much more to do.

Date: September 19, 2015

Crane: 787

Days Spent on Project: 942

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: TBD

Music I listened to while sewing: Spotify shuffled through the old favorites this morning. I sometimes wonder if my neighbors care that I listen to the same songs for days/weeks at a time.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: I’m tired.

My dog must feel the same way too; he’s been napping fairly intensely all day, and snoring audibly throughout. I think he’s still recovering from the time at the kennel. I think he enjoyed it.

Flying to New York six days ago, and then returning to Portland three days ago, was exhausting. Having come from a week of tech prior to the trip, my sense of time is a little amiss right now as well. Arriving back when two new shows immediately enter the shop is also somewhat overwhelming.

It’ll all be fine. It will.

This morning, after a dog walk at 7:30am, I ran into my neighbor. She and her boyfriend moved to Portland from New York City a year before I did, and she and I bonded a year ago about the transition to this new city and the relief (and also frustration) that came with the move. She asked how my trip back east went. I was honest: it was amazing and fun and tiring and a lot and so so so great.

I think New York City can give you a kind of perspective.

I spoke to her about something I realized Thursday morning, when I walked with my dog to work. Portland is NOT a city. Portland is a suburb with urban tendencies. It’s a suburb that exploded 10 to 15 years ago with an artistic, “edgy,” askew population boom and that has been coasting on an aura ever since. This “city” is not quite urban; this “urban” space is not quite a city.

That isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just what it is.

Walking through Times Square at 7:30am, seeing the lights and billboards silently but loudly broadcasting themselves, walking alongside what seems like thousands of people simultaneously going to A Destination: THAT experience teaches you what humanity is, what humanity can do, what humanity can achieve. It’s thrilling, the rat race of New York. I was floored by the speed at which people walked on Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, I was matching the speed, weaving through crowds, texting while walking, and being annoyed by “the tourists” in my way.

It was great to be back. It was.

My neighbor and I had a moment this morning where we both silently connected on our nostalgia for parts of that experience. I miss the rat race, the speed, the crowds, the people, the ambition, the energy that buzzes through the air, the subway (oddly), the interconnectedness of it all, the scale of it all (how large it all is! how small it can feel!). I miss the feeling of diving into an electric stream when you walk out of your front door in the morning to commute to work. Yes, it was tiring. Yes, it was overwhelming. But walking out of my small apartment building on Second and 80th Street– and later the nicer apartment building on 180th and Cabrini– you stepped out into the ether of New York and walked. You walked with intention and A Place To Go and with Things To Do. I miss how my steps felt like they had a purpose and a destination behind them.

Later this morning, I was talking to an acquaintance I met while getting coffee. He came to Portland from Park Slope, Brooklyn. He similarly agreed that he missed it and loved visiting. He loved visiting it; the quality of life, for him, was much better here.

He wanted the option to visit whenever he could. But he also wanted to know that he was leaving to go away.

In Portland, well, I’m not sure how I feel about the city yet.

Do I stay? Do I give it time? Do I just submit to PDX and all it’s “quirkiness?” Do I stop rolling my eyes when I see the “eccentrics” of Portland? Do I start to admit I live here? Do I stop thinking that I moved here for work and work will also take me elsewhere?

When I went back to work on Thursday, a lot of change happened. Yes, it was all the same-old, same-old. But, I got news of developments. The *new* production manager gave me a contract that “hired” me as a costume coordinator for the Christmas remounts. (As someone who has remounted several shows done by other designers, this is what they SHOULD HAVE DONE HERE LAST YEAR.) They’d give me a small bonus, and a credit in the program for redoing and rethinking design ideas.

Also, space was found in a nearby building that could be used as storage for (some of) our costumes. This theater does not currently have storage space: this means all the old costumes are placed on whatever racks are around and pushed into corners. Space is at a premium in this growing company. That my costumes are literally making the space burst at the seams is a well-known problem. This *new* production manager found a space and committed to getting (some of) the overflow off-site. It’s brilliant and amazing and needed and I am so thankful for this development. It’s going to help so much.

One of my co-workers in the building has decided there needs to be a “Queer Caucus” in the theater. He’s bored by how sterile the environment is; he wants the gay men in the building to be able to meet whenever we need to and talk and socialize and discuss life and work and Portland. It’s great to know there’s one other person in the building who’s also frustrated by the social scene in the building. (Why are the gay men in Portland so… demure? quiet? When I was in New York last week, I had reverse-culture-shock; I went to two different bars on one night and met two different friends and I was floored that all the men around me were gay and that there was a community around me. I don’t feel that exists here in Portland, and it FRUSTRATES ME. I commented to one friend: in the past 14 months, I haven’t seen so many gay men in one room… why did I take this for granted when I lived here!?)

Portland.

Is it possible that you’re finally opening up after a year? Am I glad to be here for the work opportunity? Is there a social scene for me to find?

I’ve been feeling a lot of emotions this week with the jaunt back east. I miss it. I’m glad to be away. I want to go back. I want to nest here.

I don’t really know what I’m moving towards.

I hope and wish that something will come along and help me make up my mind about this place and experience.

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