Friday, March 27, 2009

Much Pleasure and Benefit, I Hope

I lost my virginity at Voodoo Doughnuts today. I had the maple donut with Apple Jacks Cereal and the chocolate fudge doughnut with vanilla frosting and Butterfinger. Vurp. I'm not generally on such a delicate diet that a sudden increase in sugar affects me, but I admit that I was zinging around after eating that little diabetic disaster. Awesome. A guy from Portland Walking Tours was inside Voodoo with a tour group and I overheard in his spiel that The Church of Elvis had closed (such a shame), but that you could now get married in Voodoo Doughnuts, under the Holy Donut and a velvet painting of Isaac Hayes, for $200. Mark my words, people.

Eating has been my hobby lately. In addition to the places I went today, I've been to Le Happy, Vivace, Pastinis, Pizza Schmizza, Blind Onion, Roses, Santa Fe, and Two Tarts since returning. Holy calorie overload. 

It's been such an intense week. (Month.) I'm really happy to be in Portland. It does feel like home. I love my place - love it. I'm glad I didn't get the original apartment I had secured from NY. I'm even ok about it when I hear my neighbor's kid screeching in the middle of the night. My current apartment faces west, and every night I look out my windows and watch the sun gently sink behind the mountains. (If you live in Central NY, mountains are like hills, but much bigger and kind of severe.) Even on days when it rains, it always clears up just enough that I can see the sunset. And soon I'll do that from my little balcony - just rest outside in my fluffy chairs with my flowers around me and watch the sunset. I love it. The apartment is small, capital SM- and -ALL. I told a friend that most days I feel like I'm pacing back and forth on a postage stamp. And I do feel uneasy about just how fast everything has happened. I wake up in the middle of the night and think, Where in the hell am I? Some days I think I should sing "Looks Like We Made It" to my cat. But I am happy that I'm here and I feel hopeful about this change.

In an attempt to have a half-decent drivers license picture (you really need to know the back story to understand the importance of this; let's say my previous OR DL picture resembled Amy Winehouse on a really bad day), I spent significant time getting all dolled up today and then went to the DMV to take my written test and surrender my NY DL. However. I FAILED the test. Goddamn it, you heard me. I failed my drivers test! I could not believe it. I passed that son of a bitch when I was 15 1/2. Although I admit it wasn't a total surprise - I was stumped on the first question, and by the third I was already thinking, "Oh sh-" If you feel like picking on me about it, no problem, just go ahead and let me know what it means if you're driving and you see a person riding a horse on the side of the road and the person puts their hand up in the air just before you pass them. No clue? Oh RE-ally? Well, that's ok. Then just tell me how many feet in front of a truck it's legal for cargo to stick out. What? You're not quite sure? Hmm. Well then shut the hell up.

It's probably best, as I struggled with my make up today and ended up looking like a goth teenager with pink eye. I'd gotten dolled up twice before and headed to the DMV only to find that I didn't have proper documentation, so if I get enough study time in this weekend, Monday will be attempt #4 at getting an OR DL. Maybe I'll flip off the camera to commemorate lucky number four.

In other news, earlier this week while still sick as a dog, I dragged myself to church* and looked everywhere for the two books I wanted before finally having to ask the clerk for help. The older woman had her fingers poised above the computer keyboard ready to look up the titles, just waiting for me to tell her. Pause. "It Sucked and Then I Cried." She said "O-kay" quietly to herself and looked up the location and scribbled it on a notepad. "The next title?" Drat. "My Booky Wook." She looked up at me with a blank stare, fingers still poised, probably thinking I was messing with her. Somehow I sensed the author, across space and time, snickering at me. She laughed and then went back to business. How could she not have heard of either? 

I started My Booky Wook in the parking lot when I got back to the car and didn't stop reading it for 8 hours. I finished the next day, which is rare for me. (Slow reader.) Outstanding book. Funny, authentic, sharp. Rated R, so don't go getting any ideas if you're on the conservative side. So now my deep, abiding love for Russell Brand continues. And true love lasts a lifetime. 

I had an interview on Thursday with a placement agency. It sucked, but the point is, the night before I was feeling quite a bit of anxiety - wondering what in the world I would wear, wondering if my hair would cooperate. I kept thinking, I don't know if I can do this, be this "I'm a businesswoman" person. I'm not sure I can pull off that look and that confidence. I felt that way all night, just kind of stewing in my own insecurity. Right before bed I thought, I can do it because I am that person. I've been that person for 15 years. Crazy to wonder if I know how to put on a skirt and talk business. I can't get away from that. It just really impressed on me how unemployment and getting laid off messes with your confidence and self-image. 

One more bit of loveliness about today. I visited Old Town for the first time in about 20 years today. I didn't get a visit from the ghost of Nina, but I did get shitty service and mediocre pizza. It's such a shame; the vibe in there is so incredibly cool. I'll go back in 20 more years. 

Before that, I visited the Chinese Garden for the first time ever. Wow! What a wonderful, gorgeous experience. I bought a membership before I'd even stepped through the door. And when I did go in, I was immediately romanced and completely taken with it. I can't wait to go back. It was cold out, so I just did a quick walk-through, but I had my mouth hanging open in awe the whole time. It reminded me so much - so much - of this amazing garden that I visited in Shouzhou, China, called The Humble Administrator's Garden. It was very famous in China and I was absolutely taken with it. This was back in 2004, and it was a really special experience for me in lots of ways, and I was so grateful to be reminded so vividly of it. Well, didn't I just turn a corner in the garden today and hear a tour guide compare the Portland Garden to The Humble Administrator's Garden in Shouzhou? It was such a happy turn of events. Lovely serendipitous serendipity. 

Of course I took the time to make a wish and get my Chinese fortune in the garden. "You will make a new acquaintance which will bring pleasure and benefit. You will get your wish." 

I hope so.

*Barnes and Noble


  1. Okay, I just checked and I've put on a couple of pounds reading this post - I hope you're happy.

    Is the person on the horse making a Nazi salute???

    R.I.P. The 24-hour Coin-operated Church of Elvis. I remember attending a wedding there. I wonder what became of Stephanie and her "Where's the Art?" Cable show.

    I'm laughing at your B&N lady and her quiet "o-kay".

    Lovely to hear from you and know that you're getting settled. I wish I saw mountains out of my window.

  2. i wonder if the pleasure and benefit will be physical or financial? hopefully both. oh wait, that would make you a hooker.

    it sounds like things are going well. i'm glad.

    much luck with the placement agency.

  3. Hey, I've been to that garden too!

    Also: I dreamed I met you last night. No, seriously, I did. Only in my dream, (and this is the weird part) you were dressed up and wearing a ton of makeup and your hair was all big. And blond. Like bleach-blond. And kind of frizzy. And I kept saying things like "gosh, you look... um... different than I expected" and trying not to look too surprised/shocked.

  4. I'm so glad to hear that things are going well ... and I hope you DO flip off the camera for your driver's license picture!!!

  5. Great post, lots going on! I've never been to Voodoo, but I've gotta take the donut-freak boys there soon.

    Let me just focus in on one little part of your wonderful bit of writing: "church*" Now then. You live in Portland now. Just up the way, there's a little bookstore called Powell's. You may have heard of it.


  6. Have you been to Moonstruck? I've been told to add it to my list.

    I rarely feel like an adult who is paid to make things happen. At best I feel like an Emmy-nominated actor in a long running television drama. At worst? A fraud in glasses.

  7. I thought it before, but I will say it now. "Welcome Home"

  8. You're back! Making annoying crap sound hilarious and moving fabulous. Ahhhh, you're back! Praise the baby Jesus and Martha Stewart.

  9. Oh boy, I do love a girl with a naughty four-lettered-word mouth. And you've picked out some of my favorite yummy restaurant haunts. Someday soon, the Kennedy School! As for the driver's test, you're not the first to fail it. I've heard of it happening to some very intelligent're in good company.