A FEW DAYS BACK, I was sitting in the house of one of my very best friends. The air was so humid it was dumb. The air actually felt dumb. The air felt like if you asked it the capital of Massachusetts it would call you gay and then go back to playing Dope Wars on its phone. The air wore a Fox Racing hat to court. There was a platter of carrots and strawberries and grapes on a piano bench. My friend's daughter had cut them up, probably 95 percent because she's a wonderful young lady (WHAT'S UP, AUDREY?), and 5 percent because I look like I haven't had a fruit or vegetable since some event that was a hyperbolically long time ago so as to illustrate my general chubbiness. The conversation rolled and lilted and rose again, in that comfortable way it does when there's no pressure to impress anyone or pretend like you've read way more books than you actually have. You know when you see a horse running and it's gorgeous and natural and you think to yourself, "Man, what the hell, when I run it looks like how it sounds when Tony Soprano eats... how come I'm not a horse?" It was like that horse, but it was conversation. The topic turned to some class she took, and how they talked about the importance of being mindful. Not just eating an orange, but noticing the orange and taking stock of what you like about that orange. I know it sounds obnoxious, fuck you, I'm mindful of how obnoxious it sounds, but READ ON, FAITHFUL ADVENTURER.
When I started this column about a year ago it wasn't even a column, it was an article on Portland's strip clubs and Voodoo Doughnut, two things that were Portland as Fuck ["Portland as Fuck," Feature, Sept 21, 2012]. "OHHHHHH, THAT'S WHERE THE NAME COMES FROM, SETH! SETH! HE DOESN'T THINK HE'S PORTLAND AS FUCK, HE WROTE ABOUT OTHER THINGS THAT ARE PORTLA—SETH, WAKE UP." I tried to approach these two things anew, even though they had become so ingrained in Portland's identity that I had trouble thinking about them as they actually were. I had to try and be mindful of strip clubs and Voodoo Doughnut. I don't know how successful I was, but here we are as this column is winding down, and if it's been about anything, it's been about inside jokes with my high school friend Sabina. If it's been about two things, though, it's been about being mindful of this city.
I'm eternally grateful to the people at the Portland Mercury for giving me this space, but even more than that I'm grateful for how this column has forced me to think about the place I've lived for the last 10 years of my life. (I grew up in Beaverton!) Rather than just enjoying the wonderful beer and food and people and music and comedy, I've had to think about what it is I enjoy about those things (high ABV and Dove Vivi and a bunch of you and hearing Red Fang's "Prehistoric Dog" live and our outstanding stand-up scene), and why I enjoy them. I feel as though I've gotten to be a part of a beautiful chapter in my favorite city. I've stopped and been mindful of what's happening here, and it breaks my heart to know I'll be leaving soon, but I'd be leaving anyway, and at least I have these memories now. Notice the things that make you happy. Notice why you love Portland.