First Post from a Small City

Free china

You’ll be relieved to know that the china survived the move intact (not so lucky: the rice cooker and a giant mug/soup basin).

Like all of our nicer possessions, we acquired the china for free. The previous owner was a dead man whom I never met. Now that we’re here in Portland, it will always signify some of the stranger and more unfortunate aspects of my life in New York.

The china was a gift from a former supervisor of mine. Not so much a gift as a pawning-off. She had just purchased an apartment, which was full of the dead man’s possessions, and she needed to get rid of them. I had never owned china, and I thought, why not?

I have used it mostly for plating food for this blog.

The supervisor was a bully. I let her bully me — for years! Why did I do this? I’m still not sure, but I’ve vowed to never let it happen again. Let the china serve as a reminder.

I don’t see any point to owning things that I don’t use, so I’ve vowed to actually eat off the china — I honestly don’t care if it gets broken: If you want to bring your 3-year-old over, I’ll let him eat off it too. Though I can’t see myself drinking tea out of the teacups; I need way more tea than a teacup can hold. They are, however, the perfect size for bourbon, which is what is in this one.

Tomorrow, I’m going to make my first full-fledged recipe in our new home. Here is a preview:

Understandably, and awesomely, called orca beans

So far, life in Portland is all it’s cracked up to be. A few highlights:

  • I have heard not one horn honk in the six days I’ve lived here. Not one.
  • I live five minutes from the best supermarket in the entire universe.
  • I live in a mixed-use neighborhood, half a block from a pretty busy street. But in the middle of the night, it is so quiet that I can’t remember whether I’m wearing earplugs or not.
  • I went to a show at a trendy bar the other night. The cover was $3.
  • We have a front yard. Also, a backyard.
  • RZ and I have separate offices.
  • I got a haircut for $25; and if I had wanted, they would have given me beer to drink! For free!

There are a few things that I miss:

  • Green-Wood Cemetery — it breaks my heart that I didn’t take one last walk there.
  • Chinese food.
  • Getting anything delivered.
  • Four or five buddies.
  • Seeing the Statue of Liberty every single day from my front door.
  • The beautiful New York autumn sunshine. Nothing can compare, especially not days on end of gray¬† — 10 a.m., 4 p.m., who knows? It all looks the same.

Gray days aside, Portland is just so much more pleasant. People aren’t hostile or hard-asses by default, not even the misanthropes. Strangers make eye contact with you. Sometimes they even smile and nod.

For the first year that I lived in New York, people were constantly asking me what country I was from. Immigrants pegged me as their fellow, and native New Yorkers assumed I was foreign. Why was this? I never figured it out. After a year or so, it stopped. I had absorbed the whatever-it-is that enables people to survive there.

But I don’t need it anymore, so it’s time to let it fade away. And to rehydrate some orca beans.

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2 Responses to First Post from a Small City

  1. Pingback: Punctuation May Not Save Your Soul, but It’s Still Your Friend | Saucy Salad

  2. Pingback: Orca Beans, Featuring a Birthday & a Brewery | Saucy Salad

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