Friday, March 29, 2013


the commute by bike up north williams boulevard can be hectic, frustrating, blood-boiling, and dangerous.  the busiest bike lane in portland, williams pushes straight north next to two lanes of vehicular traffic.  cars swerve into the bike lane; slow bikers take up the entire bike lane, demanding that i swing out into traffic to pedal past them; and fast bicyclist breeze past, leaving me in the dust, leaving me jealous and slow feeling and inadequate and tired.  cyclists in this town comprise some of the most self-righteous people i’ve ever met.  having just lost your bike light - they’ll let you know how difficult they think it might be to see you even on the most well lit street.  not wearing neon yellow - they’ll let you know how your dark clothes are inappropriate.  biking too slow - they’ll let you know how much this inconveniences them.

on clear days, spring and summer and early autumn, the bike ride up north williams seems quicker than the trudge through the winter gray.  north williams carries a lot of bicyclists north through portland every afternoon, but the spring seems a significant increase in traffic up the bicycle lanes.  sunnier days, the weather fairer, the other cyclists seem more placid, less aggressive.

the air smells damp, but dirty and vegetive, the trees above light green with new buds.  i smell the diesel fumes from a passing bus.  i smell coffee as i past the waypost.  the smell from pizza-a-go-go makes me hungry.  then weed, someone smoking a joint as they walk down the street.  i laugh and shake my head and continue pedaling north.  too early yet in the season, i'm waiting for the days i smell jasmine growing as i bike through the neighborhood.  my favorite scent, i love the tiny white star-shaped flowers.

the bike ride in the afternoons can be uncomfortable this time of year.  a sudden rain shower can drench me as i bike home.  or the day can become warm enough that i sweat under the raincoat i still wear most days.  it's almost time to start biking in shorts and a t-shirt - almost warm enough.

i have made this commute down the river from my house to john's landing and back every morning and evening for over four years.  i'm not loosing weight with it.  it's become static, cardiovascular maintenance at most.  but i love it.  i love the thirty minutes it gives me to bike in silence, maybe with a bike of music, introspective, unobligated to entertain, to talk.  meditative, i like running into other friends on the road, but i cherish the brief time alone.

i slowly bike through the fields of so many agents - that man smoking a cigarette, those boys on their skate boards, those two women embracing as they meet on the sidewalk, the grandmother waiting to cross the street with her grandchild.

the days when the cherry blossoms bloom on the waterfront, a fat pink cloud that floats over the river, may be some of my favorites.  i love the delicate white and pink blossoms of the low trees, the dark bark striking underneath. i love biking down the path to the steel bridge under the branches, the sidewalk soft rose colored from the fallen petals.  men with big stupid grins back up into my path as they try to frame in the view of their cameras their girlfriends sitting under the blossoms.  the women preen themselves and do not consider that the cherry blossoms might overshadow their beauty.  annoyed by their bliss, i still love seeing portland happy like this.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"The droghte of march hath perced to the roote"

in the morning, should i take a shower, i will open the bathroom window when i finish, an oregon habit to prevent mould growth.  this past week the entropy of warm, steamy air hasn't shocked my body as terribly, and the in the post-daylight-savings morning glow, the open window lets in springtime birdsong and not just cold air.

the ceo of the company for which i work came into the office singing: "i love the spring.  i love this time of year with the warmer weather and the flowers and the sunlight."

as she walked toward her office away from me i added, "and the birds singing."

"yes.  and the birds..."

then suddenly she poked her head around the corner and said to me, "actually no.  i hate birds."

understandable.  it's just the seagulls that terrify me.  horrible creatures - they seem to have at least flown back to the coast to enjoy the warm weather there.  otherwise, the sound of birds chirping in the morning seems pleasant.  sadly at my age they no longer dress me in the morning before work.

i guess portland isn't thawing out because it never really freezes over here.  it just gets cold and rainy and will remain cold and rainy until the beginning of summer in july.  after this past weekend though, something does feel different.  a greater gradient range of green: trees budding and daffodils blooming and plants pushing up from the soggy ground.  the city spent an entire weekend without rain.  our minds thawing, the spell of hibernation is broken.

adam and i went to the skidmore bluffs with ryan this saturday.  sunny, adam worried about sunscreen and sunburn.  we shed jackets and long-sleeved shirts, envying other friends we found sporting shorts.  i grew warm in the sun and ryan planted a pearl of summer in my consciousness: tacos and margaritas.  so we had lunch at por que no.

everyone seems happier suddenly.  the cashier at new seasons agreed with me yesterday - everyone seems less grumpy, unless they lost sleep over the time change.

Monday, March 4, 2013

day to days

he said, "that's the wrong stroke order."

i said, "no, look: this stroke should align with this stroke."

he said, "they can still line up.  believe me.  i'm pretty good at stroke order."

i texted adam the next day after i had looked up the stroke order for haku.  北. "you were right.  as you always are."

this is one of my favorite games: oh! do you know this one?  "hee-gah-shee.  higashi," i say as i draw the character in the air with my finger.  of course adam does.  that one's easy.  he's got this.  and i think sometimes this game becomes exasperating to him, but he still plays along.

zebra said, "wait.  shut the door."

close to two in the morning, zebra had pulled up in front of my building after driving me home from ryan's event at holocene.

"how are things with adam anyway?"

i responded that everything was fine, everything was going well.

he said, "sometimes you listen to everyone else's life, everyone else's problem and become so concerned about them that you don't open up as much as you could about your own life."

i didn't tell zebra this but here's the thing: how should i say that i find myself incredibly happy that adam knows really well the stroke order for writing out chinese characters.  how should i say that over and over i am so happy dating adam.

i know a few characters from studying japanese (half-heartedly) and adam teaches me chinese sometimes (我是美国人。)

i walked down the block from adam's house to buy a bottle of wine.  back through the backdoor into the kitchen, adam had the preparation of dinner in motion.  he blanched brussell sprouts and sliced sausage and heated coconut oil in a sautee pan.  i sliced mushrooms while he heated water for quinoa.  a beautiful meal developed from what adam randomly had in his refrigerator.  and he made it seem easy as if to say, yes, you can do this, too.

finishing our wine, we watched girls together in his bed, at the conclusion of which i fell promptly to sleep, tucked in like a big snoring baby. 

yes, i seem to snore, but adam says it doesn't bother him.

adam and i let ryan take pictures of our butts for his slideshow to be displayed at holocene during the party.  adam stayed home, but while at the event i received a text message from him: "how does my bum look on the projector?"

"every time your ass came up i said proudly, 'that's my guy.  doesn't he look good?'  your butt looked hot over and over."

"ha i know you didn't but it makes me smile to think you did."