If you have just joined us- perhaps go to the beginning of the story down below (Leaving Childhood Things)
Maybe 10 blocks away across the big street, one block down to the right, past a pretty serious road side fiesta palace for stoners, hippies, and wayward people (Heavy Number Taco Stand), was a house on a corner. It had a lot of rooms for rent and I got the good one. Second floor, window with a balcony, wooden floors, and a gas stove for less than $55 a month. The single shower in this large house of 10 rooms and oak plank floors was downstairs and to the left, an old porcelain bathtub, and a communal type of soup kitchen area- the kind most often seen at older rehab centers or pacific northwest boarding houses for travelers and fishermen.
On my own finally.
Here in Portland Oregon, a calling to which I had no clue as to where it was sending me.
This was my second month in the city and I was definitely cutting my own road sacrificing my index finger for the thumb that got me here, busy smudging away whatever crusted over the gray print of the help wanted adds pulled from the local paper.
I somehow found a mattress, and got one of the 47906 girls (Susan) to give me a hand delivering it into my little Portland room. She was pretty shocked. You could see it on her face. I think it must be hard to send someone off to their whatever destiny- while on the one hand, fluffing away the silt from your feathers, and on the other, pushing the edgeling from the nest.
It kinduv sucked to be so effectively diminished in the eyes of someone you held in great esteem, but the bigger smack down was having to make a choice on a daily basis on whether it was going to be a can of green pepper soup- or a cold brew. The “Heavy Taco #1″ was a garnish for those particular days when money was ripe.
These were the greatest moments of poverty that I had experienced so far in my life.
And then there was the local posse. A rat pack of toss-a-way’s, sidelined rocketeers, that had been waylaid by a 1960’s hangover, survived for another go around 10 years later, and somehow walked away from an irreversible tail spin to end up in the same carousel I had by an urge of fate declared my home.
It was a less than glorious moment, when I recognized my new housemates to be none other than the same troupe I had so desperately tried to sidestep for the last two months. Talk about a moment of clarity. That part in the movie where the namelessly gray gargoyle just on the outer edge of the left side of your eye, transforms from granite to flesh, usually in a disjointed life to clay kind of way- the shadow going from crouch to leap thing, as the creature you were afraid of all those years- hiding under your bed, becomes the animation about to ask you out on a date.
Oh well. Time to embrace your fear.