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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Books and Silence in Portland

I am writing this from my room on the eighth floor of the Benson Hotel in Portland. I have to see this sentence in black on white quite to believe it. This is my first day -- I should say evening -- of summer vacation, and of the first trip I'm taking by myself as an adult. I wanted to have an adventure that's entirely my own. I haven't been away from Husband for more than a night in five years, and I was curious and excited and more than a little nervous to find out what it would be like to be on my own again. To have no one to turn to when I saw or heard or thought of something exciting, but to experience it entirely by myself, in silence (or with the quietest yelp of joy that I can manage), to make it count even though no one else is there to share it with me.

I notice most of all the silence tonight. The street outside my hotel window is quieter than I expected. There's no sound of life in the hotel hallway. I haven't turned the televsion on. I have this ambition not to watch any television this week, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do it; Husband and I have a tradition of watching The Cosby Show at night when we're on vacation, and it seems like a tradition worth holding up. So there's the occasional honking from the street, a very muted hum of traffic, the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard and nothing else. How strange this seems, even though silence is familiar to me. But it's this room, a stranger's room, though I've performed the necessary ritual of placing the books I've brought with me (I had trouble limiting myself only to three) on the nightstand in order to claim it as my own.

I had a vegan caesar salad for dinner, bought from a restaurant called The Blossoming Lotus, to which I predict I'll go more than once (or twice, or thrice) this week. I walked to this place in a 98 degree heat, on almost desserted streets. It surprised me how many shops were closed on a Sunday night. Powell's City of Books wasn't closed, but I didn't dare go inside yet. I stood on the sidewalk and gazed at the unassuming building and the shelves and shelves of books inside. That's going to be my first stop tomorrow. It is so comforting to think of all those thousands and thousands of books waiting quietly for me to leaf through them; it makes me feel less of a stranger here.


Blogger Rebel Girl said...

oh Powells!!!!

oh travel!!!

oh to be in a big city on one's own!!!

June 26, 2006  

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