Backstory here. (Most of you have read it, so I'm writing this without really spelling out ANYTHING included therein. If you try to read this post without reading that one first, you're gonna be lostLostLOST, baby.)
And so but then well here's what it's come to. These 5 years have just been awful; the early-'04 onset of the process left me totally off kilter, and the time since then (which I expected to be an adjustment period, whereby I'd become at home in my new surroundings/situation as I felt in my old one) has just been a slow, steady decline in my general state of being - mentally, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, you name it.
In particular, I've grown to truly hate this city. It turns out they call it "Hollywood North", and with good reason - this place is, in every sense, L.A.'s stunt double. As they say, "if you're into that sort of thing, you'll like it", but in Portland, we have a saying: Beat L.A. I don't belong here - never did, and the sense of alienation just gets worse by the month. Steve Francis had it right, I tell ya.
With that has come the opportunity to really appreciate what I had in Portland. I guess I took it all for granted, but from up here, every little connection to the Rose City just swells my being with pride and longing. And far too often, I've found my self reacting to a PDX reference (an Elliott track playing in a coffee shop, occasional stories in the paper on Portland's urban development model, seeing bands like Menomena and the Jicks swing through town) by tearing up, slumping, and muttering, "I just want to go HOME."
Keeping track of the Portland Trail Blazers has been a regular recurrence of the phenomenon. During the 2004 calendar year when I committed to disrupting my life and leaving Portland, the Blazers' stories were: Zach, Darius and Ratliff got their horrendous extensions; Qyntel's dogfighting connections came to light; Damon was in the post-tinfoil penumbra; Bonzi was coming off of his November '03 finger-and-equipment-tossing incident; Sheed got his ring; and the Rose Garden became property of the creditors in the Bankruptcy filing. And it was January of '05 that Darius went psycho on Cheeks.
And now look at them! I leave town for a few years, and THIS HAPPENS?!? And I'm supposed to be HAPPY to be gone?
Basically, I just spent 5 years of my life slowly going of the rails, getting progressively more at sea by the week. And recently, it's all come to a head: The school program has run aground, and my marriage has withered and died. I'm officially persona non grata in her life, and as such, no longer have any reason to spend any more time in this cocaine-playboy, lifestyle-industry, Olympics-hungry hellhole that calls itself "The Most Beautiful Place On Earth". Memo to all: There's a difference between a beautiful city, and a city that happened to a beautiful place.
So, yeah - bad news/good news boils down to this:
Bad News: I just wasted a half decade of my life in a bad city, pursuing a doomed love, and fell to pieces doing so. With nothing to show for any of it, I roll back out of The Lifestyle Capital Of The World in pieces, needing to recreate a life out of nothing.
Good News: I'm finally coming home.
So as pertains to the Blazer's Edge, very soon I will not have a dependable internet at the ready, and will be mostly absent from this fine site. But in the real world, I will be back in the arms of Portlandia, frequenting Stumptown and Citybikes and Trade Up Music and Music Millenium and Hoyt Arboretum and the Horse Brass and Laurelhurst Theater and the Farmer's Markets and the Streetcar. A place where every bar has the Blazers game on, where the beer is good and the pinot is earth, where people are exactly life-sized and have no desire to be any larger, where bike lanes proliferate like mold in basements, where the music is real and real creative, where the Timbers Army defends the soil, where Greg Oden not only stalks the earth but is in the supermarket noticing the eggs are on the bottom of the cart.
Portland, I'm coming home. I'm broken, but I'm coming home.