Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Urban Rooster

Portland is an interesting place.

This morning I arose and made it upstairs to the kitchen for breakfast earlier than I have been doing since arriving in Portland: about 7 a.m. I was eating some cereal when I heard the strangest noise. It wasn't so much that the noise was strange; but hearing the noise right outside our back door, on the other side of the hedge, just feet away, at 7 a.m., was strange. It sounded like someone playing a flute.

Gene, who had been up doing some work for Birdsong, stumbled up the stairs into the kitchen. He always looks so funny when he wakes up in the morning, sort of like a person who hasn't slept in weeks. His long hair is completed disheveled, knotted up, and pointing every which way, his pajamas are all askew, his eyes squinty, and his brow furrowed. He has red marks and indentions all over his face where the pillow pressed in, and sometimes I can see some leftover drool, although this crazy beard he has now covers any of that. He walks like some outside force is pulling him towards it and holding him up. And it doesn't matter how long Gene has been up: he will look like this for hours if he is woken up before he's ready.

Anyway, when Gene is like this, it isn't a good time to ask important questions or try to have conversations.

Nevertheless, I asked him if he knew what the noise was. He looked at me and responded, simply, and matter of factly, like it was a completely normal thing, "Oh yeah. Our neighbor plays the flute outside every morning."

HUH? Seriously? There is some guy who gets up at 7 a.m. and plays the flute just feet away from my back door? Is he naked as a jay bird too, and does he smell like patchouli? I mean, I don't know if this is something that I can accept.

And the irony! People back home think that *I* am the hippie. Let me tell you my friends and family: compared to these folks, I may as well be the president of the Federalist Society.

(I must admit, though, that I briefly toyed with the idea of getting out my flute and doing a call and response type deal with my neighbor. I'll film and post here if I do.)

Hope all is well, Lisa

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