Saturday, August 2, 2008

Three More Nights

This is my 6th night in Portland, my 5th at Shriner's. The days are long and the nights longer. Hospitals are usually not a place that one wants to pass their time. I am weary of this place. I lay awake at night listening to the occasional beeps and pings of monitors. Now an again a thundering helicopter landing on the roof of OHSU next door announces someone's bad day.

I went downtown today, dragged reluctantly by my co-worker "Come a movie." Like anyone else I enjoy a movie every now and then, but usually only when it is something that I really want to watch. Evan on the other hand has been devouring a movie a day since we got here. He finally convinced me to go downtown and watch one. We caught the bus outside Shriner's and rode the twenty minutes to the mall. Downtown Portland was bustling. The buildings were tall, the city unfamiliar, people everywhere, the whole scene made my skin itch.

The streets is clogged and the bus driver is frustrated. He tells everyone who gets on "the roads are gridlocked, it may be faster to walk". We are in no hurry so we ride. I amuse myself by watching people while David Gray sings in my ears. The bus moves five feet and stops. Five feet and stops. I watch people in their cars. A woman in a black Audi pulls along side the bus. She has a tattoo down her left arm, a soft black and white portrait of a lady of roaring twenties style. Looking at Audi lady's arm I see that her wrist is pierced with numerous colored barbells.

We get off the bus at 4th and something and walk the block and a half to Pioneer Place. The sidewalks are awash with people and I feel like flotsam. I have this overwhelming urge to run and hide. Pioneer Place is out of my league. It is the stomping grounds of the beautiful people, four floors of Saks, a place that sells frilly strapless mini dresses, a shop that sells handbags that cost more than my 4 wheeler. What the heck am I doing in here? The darkness of the theatre is a relief.

As we leave the theatre at the end of the movie I hear a girl say "Too bad the last movie Heath Ledger was in he played a bad guy." I think to myself that it doesn't matter if he was a bad guy or a good guy. For an actor I would think that the the only thing that really matters is that people remember in your last movie you were brilliant. Ledger was dark, disturbing. Never for a second did you doubt. I watched every twitch of his face and every flick of his tongue and I believed.

The bus ride back was long and the road winds along Terwilliger around corners that make me dizzy. Up and up past the V.A. and into OHSU, Oregon Health Sciences University. Never have I seen a hospital complex so big. Not just regular big, I mean hulking, massively big. The place is a fortress perched on the side of Marquam Hill. It's a wonder there's no moat. It's all winding roads, precipitous terraces, towering concrete and glass windows. The Shrine Hospital sits at the edge of campus where Sam Jackson Park Rd continues it's terrifying tilt-a-whirl decent down the hill. I am grateful when the bus spits me onto the curb.

Three more nights. I miss my boy. I miss my dog. I miss my bed.



flyboy said...

You make me feel as though I'm riding the bus with you.

Ryanne said...

The imagry in you tail is so vivid. I felt like I was right there with you. I understand the being out of place and feeling like flotsom I don't handle large crowds well.
Now the picture I have of the hospital complex there in Portland is one out of the dark ages with a draw bridge and gaurds on horse back letting in only the sick and afflicted and their attending doctors. You really have such a wonderful way with words.

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome piece of writing, Cath. You make it seem effortless. I'm envious. Nice. Really nice. :)


Anonymous said...

Oh get off your butt and go do SOMETHING! haha...I bet I could find some NANA shareholders in PDX...or better yet, we could have just hopped the red eye and came with! I love PDX...

But what I love most, is going home! You're not missing anything spectacular in terms of photographable moments here in Bue. -Katak