Archive for April, 2010

Weather or Not

Friday, April 30th, 2010

People should move around more. Well, I should move around more, or rather, I should have moved around more.

I never really knew what I was missing. God says she arranged for me to end up in Portland because something was missing from my life. It turns out that that something was weather.

I’ve lived all my life in Los Angeles and Phoenix. These are two places that do not have weather. They have climate. Climate changes slowly. It gets colder over a period of a couple of months. Not actually cold, mind you, just colder. Clouds tend to spend a few days building up before they start pouring down rain. Things like that. Up here in Portland, though, in the couple of weeks that I’ve had to form my impressions, it hasn’t been particularly uncommon for it to be sunny in the morning, pouring rain in the afternoon and then sunny again before the sun goes down. It’s kind of cool.

But there’s one thing I’m not too sure of. I grew up with the L. A. River and when I moved to Phoenix I was near the Salt River. Both of these seem to have a pretty clear purpose; they’re where the water goes when it rains so that it can go away. Up here in Portland, though, they’ve got these things called rivers, only they have water in them all the time. I’m not so sure this is a good idea. What if it rains really hard for a few days? God tells me they can handle it, but I don’t know if I can really trust her. I mean look what she did to Noah’s neighbors.


Friday, April 23rd, 2010

God and I were out walking the other day, but we weren’t really talking, because I was wrapped up in my head cogitating on some deep thought or other. I can’t really tell you how deep the thoughts were because I lost them.

I lost them? “Well, how?” you might ask. I say it was God’s fault, she says she was just being polite. Okay, let me be a little more clear. We were coming to a door, a door that we needed to go through. God opened the door and then held it for me as I went through. And that was it. Well, maybe not all of it. See, I was raised to be polite. That means that I hold doors open for people and stuff. It also means that when people hold doors open for me, I know enough to do the polite thing, to look at them and say “Thank you.”

What I don’t know how to do, apparently, is to keep my deep train of thought while I look at and say “Thank you,” to the kind and polite soul holding the door open for me.

So I lost my train of thought, and will never again get back the exact same state of mind. Maybe I was on the road to solving one of life’s conundrums, maybe I was on the verge of knowing the perfect way to combine beer and sausage, who knows.

So I said my thanks, and then complained to God that I had completely lost my train of thought, that my deep thoughts were gone. She looked at me and said maybe I should take a look back at the stuff I’ve been writing lately. She pointed out that for me deep thoughts are a lot like 3D movies, the depth is mostly just an illusion.

Use Your Turn Signals

Friday, April 16th, 2010

People warned me that I should get rid of my California plates as soon as possible. They told me that Oregon drivers would cut me no slack, as they defended their territory from the hostile invasion of us ill-mannered southerners.

Well I admit my sample is pretty small, having just had my own car up here for a few days now, but I just don’t see it. My best guess is that those people that warned me were victims of their own habits, or maybe of just their expectations. In L.A. I regularly observed that I was a less aggressive driver than many of those around me. I drive fast, but I drive polite. I let people in, I don’t jump around lanes a whole lot, and I take my turns somewhat cautiously.

And that’s how everyone seems to drive up here.

So in Oregon, I’m a little more aggressive than average, thanks partially to not driving as aggressively as I do in L.A., and in L.A. I’m more laid back than average. It’s been a great object lesson in relativity. I asked God about it and he told me that driving in different cities is like a box of chocolates; no matter how sweet it is, you still have to watch out for the nuts.

Up and Away

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I moved to Oregon this week. You don’t need to applaud or anything; I just mention it because it’s what got me to thinking about North. Thinking about north got me to wondering about maps, specifically why is north always on top?

So I asked. I said, “God, why is north always ‘up’ on maps?”

He told me to look at the trees.

So I did.

The trees are taller here than down in L.A. but not even for a minute did I suspect that gravity had anything to do with it. So if it wasn’t the height, what was it? Then I noticed that they were evergreens, pine trees, and pine trees grow straight and tall. Now I may not encounter pine trees much on the streets of L.A. but Southern California does have lots of them. They keep them mostly on the mountains.

That’s when it hit me. To get to pine trees I had to either go up the mountains or go north. So going north is like going up. So on maps they put north on the upper part of the page!

It makes me feel sad for the people in the southern hemisphere; their maps must be all messed up.

Moving Thoughts

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

So I’m packing up to move and it occurs to me that this has a lot in common with spring cleaning, at least when it’s done right. They both involve getting into every cupboard and onto every shelf and moving things around, preferably out. They both involve moving around your furniture. And they both involve going through those piles of things that built up because you didn’t really know what to do with them at the time.

Those piles of things are like little mini archeological digs. You work your way down through the layers and never quite know what you’re going to find. You pull out a piece of paper and say to yourself “I probably could have used this a couple of weeks ago.” Or you say “Why did I not just throw this out at the time.” Or “Hm, this is a good idea, I suppose I’ll have to hang onto it,” and it goes into a new pile, but a thankfully smaller pile.

Somewhere in all of this I took a moment to whine to God. I thought, “Hey, what’s the good of knowing God if you can’t ask her for a favor now and then.” So I asked her if she could give me a hand and just wiggle her nose or blink or something and instantly pack everything for me. She told me that I need to pack the stuff myself, because it will give me memories, however dim, of where everything is, so that I can find the things that I need to unpack first, when I figure out what those are. Well, why not just plant the memories in my head, I started to ask, but I stopped myself. I just couldn’t bring myself to ask God to go around flipping bits and setting states in my brain. That’s something that should be kept between me and my drugs.

So I’m doing the packing myself, and I’m doing my best to remember what goes where, but somewhere in the back of my head there’s this nagging thought: What if I did ask God to do the packing for me? What if she did it and then, possibly at my request, she went in and altered my memory so I would remember packing everything myself even if I didn’t? Would that really be any better or easier than if I had gone ahead and done the packing myself? What if Edgar Allan Poe was really on to something when he asked “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”

Now my brain hurts and for some reason I think I need a drink.