Illustration by Ryan Alexander-Tanner

SOON I will be 30. I'm not nervous about it... Vin Diesel is 47, you guys. I've got 17 years until I'm Vin Diesel? Straight cash, homey. Still, 30 is a ponderous age. I won't be able to drop that "LATE 20s" card anymore, I have to be 30. "Late 20s" is lavish as fuck. "Late 20s" is a glorious era, when you can still refer to your potential without people making a vigorous jack-off motion in their brain.

I nailed my late 20s. I climbed to the highest turnbuckle and dropped one of the meanest elbows of all time on my late 20s. I got hammered, and lived check-to-check, and created pompous works, and did drugs, and wallowed, and lost the deposit on an American Property Management apartment. I complained about gentrification with my words and celebrated it with my actions. I saw bands first. I showed up at bars at 1 am, behaving as though last call would never come, not even hearing it when it was hollered. I was hella HELLA hella in my late 20s in Portland Fucking Oregon.

I was two to 18 years old in Beaverton Fucking Oregon, though. I grew up around pre-owned Acuras and brand-new couches. Sometimes my family would go to Pier One Imports, and sometimes we'd go to the OTHER Pier One Imports. I grew up with people who went to doctors when they WEREN'T sick. I grew up with people who had enough money that emergencies were just emotional. I'm not celebrating suburbia, but I saw that way of life and I experienced its comforts.

I do plenty of overcompensating in my life, but pretending like a life of suburban comfort is a ONE HUNNIT PERCENT AWFULDEPLORABLE THING isn't one of them. I have zero desire to go back to the physical manifestation of the suburbs, but as I approach 30, I think about the suburbs as a philosophy.

I often fly back to Oregon from LA, mostly to return bottles. I was having an evening in a bar, enjoying the company of a woman and some kind of bourbon drink, and I saw a ghost from the future. He looked like he was pushing 50 with his white hair and taxed skin, and stories he probably had about Satyricon. He was dressed like he hadn't changed his clothes since he lived those stories. He looked like he'd dressed up as "me 20 years ago" for Halloween. He made me sad, kind of—he made me hopeful, kind of.

Portland is an experiment where you can act like you're in your "late 20s" as long as you want. The party keeps going, at the cost of some feeling that tugs on you when you're riding the bus to ZoomCare. I saw this old man trying to have the same night I was having and wondered why he'd never heard "last call."

And then I wondered if I was jealous that he hadn't.