|A Second Attempt (standard:humor, 4084 words)|
|Author: Anastasia||Added: May 10 2005||Views/Reads: 1936/1169||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A young man has an interesting walk home from work when he bumps into a stranger unexpectedly.|
Dusk says goodnight to downtown Portland's skyline as I make my trek along the waterfront park, an impractical but worthy detour after teaching my Tuesday night banjo class. I inhale slowly, breathing in the city's pleasant constants—the only constants back home in New York were sirens, aggressive cabbies, and the occasional slammed door, audible through the thin walls of my tiny apartment above the overpriced Taco Stop in Soho. It was hardly enjoyable. But here in Portland, as I'm walking along the Waterfront Park, the public fountains turn off on cue, as they always do, at not exactly ten-thirty. And then the city quiets, as it always does, because Portland, unlike New York, is a city that sleeps. I pass the same shopping cart woman I always see huddled beneath the Burnside Bridge, all hours of the day, wearing her ubiquitous sport coat and muttering a vulgar soliloquy that hardly varies from week to week. Without stopping, I offer her a friendly nod, and wonder how she can bear to wear so much in the August heat, which is virtually inescapable in the annual drought. But my eyes wander on, and my mind follows, to the next constant: One of the city's many recycling receptacles, adorned with a bumper sticker—“Keep our city clean!” I smile to myself at Portland's tree-hugging amiability, so profoundly contrasted against New York's dine-and-drop mentality. And I realize, I'm content here. Since I've moved out here, I haven't felt the sensory overload that accompanies life in New York City. No, that's not Portland. Portland is uncontaminated. Like a fresh razor, I think to myself, running my hand across my emerging beard. I begin whistling myself a happy tune as I bask in the idea of reaching my new Portland living space. I'm looking forward to arriving home, and sitting down with my uncooked instant noodles—high in sodium, low in essential vitamins and nutrients; but easy on my wallet. Then, maybe I'll clean out the cat litter box, and sift through the bills—what's the date? Oh, the second. Wasn't I supposed to pay the electric bill yesterday? Surely, it's been shut off by now. I sigh and mutter profanities to myself, suddenly in a foul mood. All I need is one little thing to set me off into a bad mood, but it works the same way for putting me in a good mood. I'm that kind of guy. But now I'm in a bad mood. I begin walking in long strides, eager to take care of business so I can get into bed and call it a day. Reaching the street corner, I hit the crosswalk button and wait for the walk symbol. That's yet another thing that sets Portland apart from New York—there are no jaywalkers. This annoys me, in a silly way. I do it quite often anyway, ignoring the confused expressions of other people waiting to cross. When they see that I've made it safely without being ticketed, they always follow precedent, cautiously, but with a certain childish keenness in their eyes. It's amusing, really. People are crazy. I'm steadily power-walking as my brain is inundated with my irrational opinions on people who don't jaywalk, and before long I find myself in downtown Portland, where the city still lingers on the remains of an eight-hour work day. My banjo feels heavier as a drizzle sets in and, in my current state of mind, urinates on my thoughts. I scowl at the few individuals huddled under bus stop enclosures, knowing that I have about six more blocks to go and wishing I hadn't taken my usual detour. And before long, I'm miserable as all hell and scolding myself inside my head for it. Just moments ago, I was whistling a happy tune and smiling about this place. Now I'm whining about this long-awaited rain and wanting to crawl under my covers and sleep. But really, the rain just weighs me down. I look up, and in the dimness of the streetlights, I see what appears to be a bombshell redhead walking toward me from about a block away, dressed in swanky night life attire—a short black dress and her hair all curled, like a freakin' movie star. I wonder what in the hell she is doing out on a Tuesday all dressed up. Is she a prostitute? I've yet to see one of those out here. I envision myself walking up to her and saying, “Hey, how much?", and then I feel horrible for even imagining the situation, because I'm not that kind of guy. Really, I'm not. I'm the kind of guy who will hold a door open for a girl and pay for her dinner and ticket to the philharmonic and even sing her a song if she wants me to, though I guess I don't really let that on. Not when I'm in a mood, anyway. And while I'm cluttering my line of vision with these thoughts, I bump Click here to read the rest of this story (367 more lines)
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