my new roommate amanda says they call chicago "a city of neighborhoods." portland, too, loves it different neighborhoods and proudly preserves their separate names and identities. the apartment i now share with daniel and amanda on michigan avenue stands in a neighborhood in inner north portland formally called boise-eliot and is informally known by its main artery, north mississippi.
i love north mississippi. a little secluded and quiet, but very hip, north mississippi is very busy at least. i walked out this morning despite the rather heavy rain to forage for coffee at our neighborhood coffee house, the fresh pot. the rain poured down the streets and sidewalks, gravity pulling down toward the city center, to the willamette, which would carry it all away and dump our winter water in the pacific. the rain pooled in gutters and in intersections; deep puddles into which i would splash up past my ankles. i love my galoshes.
the fresh pot operates in an old drugstore, the Rx sign still visible in the concrete outside the door. the diffuse light of portland's fall filters through bright yellow awnings and mingles with the 20 watt light of old art nouveau lamps. the woman there kindly hands me a cup and fifty cents in change. i love my coffee. is there a secret god of coffee to whom i should be praying?
i braved the puddle outside fresh pot and cross mississippi to the new vintage clothing boutique that opened today. the shop owner offered me plaid western shirts and 501s. i found a beautiful pendleton plaid shirt (made in portland, oregon) in teal and purple and yellow, sized small, for twenty-two dollars. perfection! i love it. daniel will hate it. perfection!
back out in the street, in the miserable downpour, i passed the record store and thought it beautiful to see a man wearing black with raven hair and thick buddy holly glasses wearing huge earphones and listening to rock and roll on a turntable in the window there. i thought this is portland perfect. this is exactly how i want to remember my youth.
the rain streamed down off my raincoat and soaked the tops of my pants.
amanda and i made pumpkin pancakes, cut up a sample of bartlett, bosch, and d'anjou pears, drank coffee, and i stared out into the rain as we ate, dreaming of pendleton plaid.