Portland Oregon is a nice enough town. It has all the charm of Boulder Colorado with the weather of London England. I went for a walk to Target to pick up some swim shorts yesterday. I know, my lovely wife reminded me to take my trunks with me incase the hotel had a pool, I promptly forgot. But I did remember to bring my umbrella, which I haven’t had to use yet. It seems that Portland has the same kind of rain that I became accustomed to while in England. The misty everything is damp but an umbrella doesn’t really help kind of rain.
Target is about four miles from the hotel so the walk there and back was a good little workout, not exhausting but stimulating. Once there I discovered, not to any surprise, that everything in Target is exactly where I expected it to be. I found this comforting and a bit alarming. I almost felt at home, like I when I walked out the door I would suddenly transported to Loveland Colorado. It is an odd feeling to walk into a store hundreds of miles from home and feel completely at home. I wonder if this is simply a method of managing logistics or some diabolical psychological tool of marketing. I would rather each store have its own personality, but that’s just me.
My hotel is one of the nicest I have ever stayed in. Yes, even better than the Luxor in Las Vegas. The room is great, bed comfortable, staff helpful with out being obnoxious, everything just right. The only place I can think of that I liked better was the place I stayed in during my trip to Spain. The main reason is that I could smoke in my room in Spain. I understand why that is a big deal here in America, but Europe has a different culture. I like a culture of choice; I have yet run into a smoking room in any hotel I have stayed in here in America. However every room has a no smoking sign on the door. I find it ironic that I have to travel to leave America to get a choice. Someday if Target puts a store in Spain I hope they arrange things as they please and not stick to a three ring binder drawn up by psychologist logistic managers in America. Maybe even a restaurant with ashtrays indoors. Someday when I quit smoking I will probably go back to this page and erase all reference to smoking. I hope not. Erasing, not the smoking part.
Speaking of cookie cutter like fax of retail stores, around the corner is a McDonalds, the king of identical fast food.
McDonalds is of course right next to Starbucks. I can forgive Starbucks because their mascot is not a clown and they don’t have happy meals. Plus I do enjoy their coffee and free Wi-Fi. I took a quick photo of the sign in front of McDonalds, Oregon either has a serious shortage of cheap chicken, or whoever updates the sign ran out of decimal points.
In the parking lot was a pick up truck that gave me a pang of homesickness. I am relieved that Oregon has a Zombie Militia. The hard part is finding zombies. It’s tough since so many ‘normal’ people try like crazy to act like zombies.
I am really looking forward to going home. They say that time away from loved ones makes the love grow stronger. I imagine that is only true up to a point. I don’t want to know where that point is, so I am eager to get home. The longest time I was away from home on business was seven weeks, and it did make the love grow stronger. Not only my love for my wife, but for everything at home.