Winter this year...kind of like Georgia but with better beer!
Last year (below) and this year (left) Brrrr!
Now that the weather has turned, it has become a smoking platform. I force the window inward; no small feat as it has no handle, and it is just wide enough for me to lean out and view a small part of my neighborhood while I have a smoke. Now, cigarettes can and will do any number of monumentally bad things to a person. But in the right frame of mind, and at the right time of day, they become something both stimulating and relaxing.
If I look to the left I can see “Big Pink”, Portland’s tallest building and so named because of the colored stone used to clothe it’s steel frame. To be honest, I can’t see the whole thing, just the top few floors and, the red aircraft warning lights at night. The interesting thing about the view is how it is framed: The building is perfectly situated between an overgrown stand of cypress and one of Portland’s faux Victorian-style houses. I’m always amazed at how Big Pink just seems to fit so perfectly between them, blinking away and hinting at the proximity of downtown.
This last week has been good for leaning out my window and watching the world. Snow, always a brief visitor here, has taken up residence in quantities I have never seen in Stumptown. It’s fun to watch it pile up, especially near Christmas time. Whenever I see snow fall, I head out into the storm. Urban snow quiets the city, muting the traffic and creating a cocoon that I find to be rather comforting. I loved it in Georgia…until I realized that I had to head outside to go potty. That definitely took some of the bloom off the rose; as it were.
Saturday was a downright blizzard that managed to occur less than 24 hours before I was to fly home to my family in Ohio. The airport shut, and with no flights to Cleveland leaving for over a week (at least on my carrier), my mind turned to the lovely, looming vocational disaster that had come to my attention on Friday evening.
Turns out my school is broke and the board of directors is looking to make some cuts. Could be 15%, probably 20% coming off all staff salaries. Another option is to close the school outright, allowing the kids to find new schools and get settled in new environments. Either option is pretty much a death blow to many on the staff. And, if you haven’t read the papers lately, there seems to be something called a “recession” going on which tends to hamper the efforts of many opportunistic job seekers. The board meeting that was to take place last night was postponed; so we will not know our fate until next Monday.
So, as you can see, there are some distressing similarities comparing last winter with the upcoming holiday this year. I find myself cold, alone and far from those I love, my teaching position is once again tenuous through no fault of my own, and the future still fails to have any discernable focus. I know there are plenty of folks that are in the same situation as me this year, and I am also quite sure that, like me, there are those that feel as if their life’s CD player is stuck on repeating the worst song on the album. I also know this: we’ll all keep trying to jostle that damn thing onto the next track but we’re also pretty fucking sick of it and we really would like to catch a break.
May peace, health and happiness surround you all in the coming year,