I'M SITTING in a FedEx Kinko's (FedEx Kinko's! Oh, our name is clunky and doesn't make sense? Fuck you. Ship your own fucking T-shirts, Eric. No, don't apologize! You're right! We'd probably just mess it up 'CUZ WE CAN'T SENSE WORDS MAKE DUHHHH ©) Sorry, I'm sitting in a FedEx Kinko's writing this right now, the one near Lloyd Center, it's the only building in, like, a square mile that isn't a fast food restaurant. I'm writing it here because I didn't bring my computer with me from Los Angeles and I expected to be back down there by this point—but I'm not, because Portland in the summer is impossibly dope, unparalleled magnificence, a perpetual-motion machine that churns out moments of untold laidback splendor.
I was supposed to leave on Sunday morning, real, real early (6 am early), so early that the only thing open at the airport is the place that sells magazines, and the ancient Vietnamese woman working there appears to be angry at you just for existing at that hour, and you completely understand it, and both you and Trang can sit there in that moment of emotional clarity, bleary-eyed and frustrated at the unwhimsical absurdity of fucking 6 am.
Anyway, I was supposed to leave Portland that early, but as I sloshed drunkenly back toward my hotel the night before, I called the airline and told them, "Hell naw, hell naw." I also told this column's editor I wanted to write about how great it is to be back home—but it isn't completely like that.
In many ways it's kind of heartbreaking coming back home. Portland is like an ex-girlfriend who I haven't figured out how to be "just friends" with yet. You come home and you start thinking, "Oh, I can make this work—I can just live here and write and do a local TV show, and then I can get coffee here every day, and maybe I can get my own place, and oh, maybe I could take this money and open a store or a comedy club or something... everyone will forgive you for having three going-away shows and then coming back a year later, it'll be fine, it'll be fine." Then it's four days later and you're in a cab headed to PDX and sad because your vacation back to the Sensitive Hedonism Capital of Charmingly Naive Forward-Thinking Idealism has come to an end, and you have to go back to work.
Portland is the kind of city that will make you homesick while you're still here. Maybe I'm just prone to being wistful... or maybe it's impossible not to be wistful when you're sitting on a patio and staring at a clean blue sky, drinking an incredibly reasonably priced beer, talking about something dumb with smart people who have dumb jobs. Maybe the many comforts of this city are so reassuring that you can't experience them without also experiencing the dread of knowing they're going to come to an end. I mean, Jesus and the Christs, Portland is so spectacular during the summer that I'm in a FedEx Kinko's near Lloyd Center, with a screaming baby and her disinterested mother at the computer next to me, and I still already miss it.
I'm not sure if this column is more about Portland or just me sub-tweeting Los Angeles. I guess it doesn't matter. Soak this city up, for those of us who can't right now.