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Portland Index July 27, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Number of calendar days in Portland so far: 10

Number of days before I got my Duckfat fries: 10

Number of pairs of shoes packed for this trip: 8

Number of pairs of shoes worn so far: 6

Chances that at least one more pair will get worn: 1 in 2

Number of bartenders sufficiently harassed: 5

Number of new drink recipes jotted down: 2*

Number of new wine labels, same: 6

Number of eateries revisited: 12

Number of new restaurants tried: 2

Number of those actually new to Portland: 1

Number of my allegedly top-two-favorite restaurants that I will not visit this trip: 2

Number of pounds reputedly lost by a friend I’m meeting tonight, since last seeing him: 40

Number of pounds I may have gained since arriving here 10 days ago: 40

Number of ferry rides taken: 2

Number of lighthouses visited: 2

Number of visits to the hotel gym: 7

Number of alcohol-free days: 1

Number of low-fat days: 0

Number of movies seen: 1

Number of museums visited: 1

Number of friends inviting us to their homes: 3

Number of days of food/drink detox likely needed when I get home: 10

Chance of 10 consecutive days of detox happening: 1 in 100,000

Number of days I have reminded myself that this new hotel is very nice, is only five minutes further out, and has a better gym: 10

Number of days I have wished I was staying at my “home” hotel: 10

Number of times I have visited with my valet buddies when walking past that hotel: 2

Number of oysters I have eaten: 2

Number of ceviches I have ordered: 4

Number of t-shirts Tim bought from street vendor Craig, who is leaving this week for Oahu: 4

Number of people who began conversation with Tim about Craig based on Tim’s wearing of one of the t-shirts: 2

Number of those who were able to make Craig instantaneously appear as we were eating lunch by taking a photo of Tim wearing said t-shirt at the restaurant, then sending it to Craig via phone: 1

Number of guys I have said “Are you Nolan?” to since reading about him in a Portland food blog: 1

Number of guys who said yes to that question: 1

Number of minutes I can be exposed to sun without burning: 10 (maybe)

*Lucien Gaudin: 2 parts Plymouth gin, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part Campari, 1 part dry vermouth, orange peel; Rosita: 3 parts white tequila (e.g., Herradura blanco), 1 part Campari, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part dry vermouth, dash angostura bitters.

A Portrait of Not Me/Not Route 153 July 23, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

She is running. Her runningwear is color coordinated. As she runs, she pushes a baby carriage with a very young person in it. She looks like she might be pregnant again. Both her hands are firmly on the handlebars. There is a cell phone lodged between her ear and her neck. She is talking. Under her left hand is a leash that leads to a large, white, standard poodle. The poodle is running too. The poodle is not on the phone.

Everything she appears to be I am not, but there’s this: We both like exercising on the Eastern Promenade.

Rude July 17, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

I have been rude to someone along Route 153. The problem is, I don’t who.

Back on the 5th, a day Tim had off from work, he also had an appointment a few towns away. Without going into details, it was an appointment that if he missed, it could not be rescheduled for weeks, and as the outcome of the appointment, whenever it happened, would itself take weeks, missing the appointment wasn’t an acceptable option.

The appointment was at 2:30. We decided to take a bike ride in the late morning. Are you sure your appointment is at 2:30? I asked. Yes, he said.

It was a hot, sweaty bike ride. When we got home, there were a couple of urgent messages on the machine from the office manager: Tim, your appointment is at 12, not 2:30, remember? Then, Tim, are you on your way?

We tried to call back, but the line was busy, busy, busy. We got the message at about 12:10.

Tim changed clothes, no shower, and decided to put his sweaty stinky self in the car and just go. I was frustrated that he would drive all the way there for nothing, it was so late already, and we could not get past this busy signal. He was dressing, I was hitting redial.

Suddenly, there was no dial tone, but silence. Maybe it’s the office calling again, I thought. Hello? I said.


Damn. I’d picked up on a social call before it rang. It sounded like my neighbor, A.

Yes? I said. I’m sorry, whoever this is, but I have to call you back!


Is this A?

I just wanted to tell you . . .

I’m sorry, but I really can’t talk right now . . .

I just wanted to tell you that I saw a skunk in your driveway last night!

I sighed. A skunk. Yes. The skunk comes and eats the sunflower seeds from under my bird feeder. Sometimes more than one skunk. If one feeds birds, one is by default feeding small mammals (and, unfortunately, that *^($#@! white cat, who, I can assure you, is not eating bird seed).

I don’t mind the skunk at all. I figure it’s doing me a favor by cleaning up a bit. When I pull into the driveway at night, I pull in slowly and give the skunk space and time to scamper away. Sometimes this takes awhile, but never more than, like, a minute.

Yes, I know, I said. He’s there every night!

So you know?

Yes, I know! Thanks! Gotta go! I’ll call you back!

And I hung up.

Tim left for the appointment. I gave up on the redial game and got in the shower, whereupon the office manager called again, of course, and, soaking wet, I assured her that Tim was on his way. It seemed they would still see him, which was a great relief.

I toweled off and checked caller ID. But I’d picked up on the call so fast that it hadn’t even registered. So I looked up A’s number and called her.

I’m just calling to apologize for being rude to you, I started.

What? What are you talking about?

Didn’t you call to tell me about the skunk? I was in the middle of an emergency, and I couldn’t talk, and I was rude . . .

Indigo, that wasn’t me.

Oh, well, maybe it was D, I said, trying to think of who could see my driveway at night.

Try *69, said A. But I had already gotten another call, so I knew that wouldn’t work.

It must have been D, I said. I’ll call her.

I called D’s number and got an answering machine. It was an automated voice that did not identify the person for whom it was taking a message. So I could only hope that I was leaving a message for D.

I went through the entire apology again.

The next Saturday, Tim and I got on our bikes once more, and I saw D working in her garden. We stopped there before the ride.

Did you get my crazy message? I asked her.

Yes, she said. I was going to call you, but I figured I would wait until we ran into each other. That wasn’t me who called about the skunk.

My heart sank. I mean, I’m glad I wasn’t rude to D. But who was I rude to? I don’t know. Possibly it was a woman down the street, but I’d be surprised if she called me. Argh, it could be anybody.

I have been rude to someone along Route 153. I don’t who.

This stinks.

Circus: Questions, Concerns, and a Selfish Act July 9, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Despite the heat, Tim and I decided to go the circus last night. Even though I’d seen this circus at least three times before, Tim had never been. It was time.

I thought it would be hotter than ever under that big top. But actually, I think it was hotter every other time I’ve been. We had front-row ringside seats.

Perhaps the thing I find most fascinating about the circus is how very different a life it is from mine. Who are these people who join the circus? Who are the people who dream these things?: I want to be in a ring with six Siberian tigers and make them do tricks. I want to juggle many objects while also bouncing a ball on the top of my head. I want to make camels dance. I want to be a trapeze artist and hang from my toes while swinging high up and over the crowd. I want to be the pretty girl riding the elephant. I want to do twists and turns in the air as my father juggles me with his feet.

And then they do these things.

Are circus kids home schooled by their circus parents? Or do they just travel with the circus in the summer? If they do go to school, what do their classmates think of their young peers who are already in the circus? What is a high school reunion like? Does everyone want to know whatever happened to the circus kid? Or did they kind of hate that kid who was already some sort of star by age ten?

And the animals. What are they thinking? Are they happy enough to be cared for and fed? Are they depressed that they can’t run wild? Are they tired of doing the same tricks over and over again? How often does the whip actually touch them? Does a trainer initially have to be extremely cruel for training to work?

I worry about the elephants and the camels, who were a wonder to behold in the ring. The elephants were so physically close they could have killed us had they chosen to. Camels to me are simply fascinating and beautiful. The camel act was new, complete with belly dancers. The camels ran around the ring together and could spin around in circles. I was enthralled.

When I worry about elephants and camels, I worry that they might be depressed.

I worry most about the tigers. I am nervous every second tigers are out of the cage (in the caged ring). I can’t imagine being tiger trainer guy. The whole situation seems extremely dangerous and volatile. Tigers always look annoyed. They’re cats, for crying out loud. They enjoy playing with prey.

When I worry about tigers, I worry that they might be pissed off.

Frankly, the dogs seem pretty happy. Maybe I should be worried about them, but I’m not.

It was a delightful acrobatic show.

And for $5, I rode a camel for maybe two minutes.

Heat Advisory July 6, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

We’re to have a week of 90-degree (F) temperatures here on Route 153. Checking the weather online just now, I see there is a heat advisory today from 10 am to 8 pm.

I will need to work out before 10 am.

Paul starts our annual house painting today, and he warned me two days ago that he’d be working half days only. He should be here any minute to get started and get out before the worst of it. In fact, I hear the banging of car door and ladder now.

Already, for several nights, we have turned on the window-unit AC in our bedroom. Last year we didn’t even bother to install the window units. The second one is in my office, and I suspect today will be the first it’s been used in two years.

Other signs of summer? My summerfriend Sioux has arrived, no longer teaching, down the road for me to envy most minutes, but also to join at the swimming hole when I need a summerbreak.

And our favorite circus is back Thursday, arriving again in the drippiest, thickest heat of the summer. Maybe we’ll get to go and sit under the hot tent, sweat through our cotton clothes, sip water or flavored ices, and see acrobats sweat too but somehow never slip.