The Sole Proprietor visited his
mother and sister in Portland before travelling to Ojai for his photography
class. He didn't take as many pictures as he should, but he took a few.
He spent one afternoon in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland. Nice, new,
expensive, well done and just a bit slick. OK, but slick.
Lots of brick. Lots of shady trees. A Starbucks at the corner.
Little kiosks selling stuff with just an edge of upscale. Aluminum and glass
bus stops and telephone booths snuggled under the trees. Nice hot sunny day in
the shadow green shade.
Hot dog stands, but more. Hot dogs flown in from New York. Mexican fast food,
but with a little, you know, twist. Nothing to put off the tourist or the
more sensitive native. Nothing with "macrobiotic" in the name or any such
similar thing, yet just a touch of awareness of the wider world. Chic.
Nice pictures for the tourist guide. The people. The people you'd expect
to find in the pictures in a tourist guide. Little bears like the one at the top.
And this seems to rub the Sole Proprietor the wrong way. Why? This has been the
Sole Proprietor's lot since he can remember. Pioneer Square in Portland is a
beautiful place. Portland is a nice place to live. Downtown, on the river,
hell, in the river is a better place than the Sole Proprietor resides right now.
Yet, the Sole Proprietor carps. Yet, he feels vaguely uncomfortable in the
well to do middle class surroundings to which everyone seems to aspire.
Into which, in fact, at the upper end, he was born.
To him, drinking coffee at Starbucks at a small curb side table,
reading the paper or discussing, well, important elements in a complicated
life, look fake. People pretending to be people all hollow inside. Yet,
at the same time he wrinkles his nose, he likes outdoor tables. He
likes coffee at Starbucks. He likes rattling on over art and life. And,
he suspects, others passing, look at him. Another guy with a double
Proper eating, proper exercise, proper attitudes. The 401K. They're OK.
He eats well. Occasionally. He exercises. Occasionally. He buys chrome
and plastic toys. More than occasionally. He has a 401K. He has proper
attitudes, some of them actually held. Still the sense of unease, as
if living too long in such a place might lead to, well... madness.
Or maybe it has led to madness and these thoughts are but symptoms. Too
many bohemian books at the age of twelve. Jack Kerouac didn't go on the
road to find Pioneer Square. On the Road. What road is your road Sole
Proprietor? And where does it go, ho ho? Hard to say, hey hey.