Tag Archives: Oldtown Portland

Give me More.


It’s cold today. Not Minnesota cold, but cold nonetheless. I have the day off, and the sun is out, so I can’t really complain. It’s one of those days where things just feel right. I spent the last hour wandering around Oldtown. Headphones in, and my hard face on; but on the inside, I’m smiling.

I miss it down here. I live on the eastside now, in a regular neighborhood. I don’t run into many gutter punks or addicts anymore. I don’t see any homeless or street preachers outside my building anymore. And I’m not sure this is a good thing. I miss the grit. I miss the street. I miss the hustle. I miss the chaos and the insanity of it all. I miss the desperation. I miss the realness of daily life lived by people so close to the edge. So close that you can feel the tension in the air. So close that it seems like the whole neighborhood could go off at any moment. That it could go off just for fun, for something to do.

I sleep a lot more than I used to. And I’m not sure why. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting soft, like I’m losing my edge. I don’t feel as hungry, or as angry as I used to. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I haven’t made it yet. I’m still as broke as I ever was. I’m just as broke as when I used to live down here. I just sleep a lot more.

I stopped into Floyd’s to get some coffee and some inspiration. It’s packed full of yuppie office people this morning. The baristas are the same, and they smiled because they remember me. And that feels nice. But the homeless and the addicts are gone. Which is somehow sad. I used to come here and write for hours. Back when I felt like everything I had to say was new and important. That my take was unique, and my style was fantastic. Back when I was hungry. Before I knew better. It’s tough to type here now. A skinny hipster with a skinny tie and oversized glasses keeps glancing sideways at me. I want to call him out, but that doesn’t seem right anymore. Seems like Floyd’s belongs to him now, and not to me. When did that happen?

hard face.

hard face.

It’s still cold in here, which I like. Motivates me to keep my fingers warm by moving swiftly across well worn keys. My beat-up, sticker covered laptop is the only one without a glowing Apple on the back. And I’m pretty sure people are judging me because of it. Odds would say that I’m the only one listening to hip hop at the moment too. Gently bobbing my head to the beat seems to be earning me scowls of disapproval too.

I’m not sure when I began to crave their approval, but I don’t think I like it. I think I need more Oldtown in my life. More late nights in the dive bars, just warm beer and the glow of the screen. More early mornings in the out of the way shops; black coffee, an empty stomach, a pen and pad. More hip hop and punk rock.

More about me, and less about them. I want more.

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Cold Water Flats

I know my building is shady. Its wonderful and beautiful and old school, and definitely shady. It’s unique and grand and convenient, and probably also has a bit of a drug habit. Which is fine, because we all have our problems. The building’s goods strongly outweigh its bads, and besides, the price is right. The roommate is cool, and the neighbors are…unique, but mostly friendly. The laundry is free. The train is a one block over. There are three bars in the building, five more within the block, and a dozen more in the neighborhood; I can almost always get a drink. There is often live music. There is a Saturday Market across the street. There are winos and crack heads and gutter punks outside, but there is also a sturdy double lock on the front door, and neighbors who look out for each other. There were vague mentions of a lease that never materialized, but as long as I show up with cash around the first of the month, everything’s been cool. The apartment is likely illegal, but I can’t imagine anyone asking questions.

Until there was no hot water. Cold Water Flats, Midwest blue collar flats are romantic and old school and bring about that fantastic sense of nostalgia, but I sure as fuck don’t want to live in one today. This isn’t 1908 Chicago or 1923 Detroit. And despite my love of cold showers as a way to combat the heat or the frustrations manifest by cutie pixies, I cannot handle it in the winter. I need heat, I need clean. The floor is cold, and the bed is lonely, so the shower absolutely needs to be hot. I haven’t made it yet, I’m still struggling, working, grinding, just getting by.

Damn it building, give me back my fire, give me back my passion. Give me back my hot water.