Letters from the road: Putting a bird on it

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Hello Carina! Greetings from the humble metropolis of Salem, Oregon. I assume this town is named after the city in Massachusetts or the brand-name cigarette or the Israeli extreme metal band and definitely not the Salem witch trials.

I stopped in Salem because I somehow managed to lose almost my entire supply of felt-tip pens. And so now I am sitting pen-rich in a downtown Starbucks.

The non-Starbucks coffee shop I found was out of business. I don’t know where the cool kids in Salem hang out, which is just as well because I’m thirty-two years old and about as cool as a pair of argyle socks.

The radio station they’re playing here seems calculated to make me feel as old as possible. My friend Tom gets married tomorrow on a farm north of here and south of Portland, and that also makes me feel old. But what really makes me feel old is complaining about stuff, so in a way all this bitching is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Thankfully, driving around avoiding reality makes me feel not old.

Salem is a sleepy little town whose economy appears to be based on antique shops and road construction.

Hello again, Carina! This time it’s greetings from beautiful Portland, Oregon. Per the local city ordinance I have included a picture of a bird in this artwork; please find it below. Today I woke up and ate a waffle.

I am in town for Tom’s wedding, and this morning I met up with my friends Reid and Megan, who are in town for another person’s bachelor party. They brought their new baby, so I expect things at the party will be pretty tame.

It used to be that weddings were a good place to, you know, I guess what I’m trying to say is that most folks at the weddings I attend these days are already married or coupled up themselves, and my “date” for the shindig is a pair of dogs. Also, it doesn’t help that I have no house and live in a van, which almost necessarily entails a concomitant decline in daily hygienic standards.

I think I recall a recent Cosmo magazine poll on what women want, and “infrequent showerer” was second from last, barely edging out “man who lives in vehicle”. But that’s Cosmo readers, and this is Portland. I’m seeing a lot of grungy clothes and unwashed hair this morning, and suddenly the odds look good.

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