I had this crazy idea that it might be cool to leave everything behind and go off to somewhere new and record my experiences in a journal. I wanted an adventure. I was drawn to Portland for reasons unknown to me. I had never been here before but the more I read about the city, the more it seemed like it was where I should be.
When I got here, it was cold and raining. That was no surprise. In fact, I welcomed the predictability of it all. Didn’t everyone tell me about the weather?
As adventurous as I thought I wanted to be, homelessness was always going to be the last resort. But as I wandered lost and wet in a new city, I was worried I might actually end up having to live in the streets.
I did not lose faith though. I knew there was a place I could go- where lost souls could find temporary refuge and regroup. Sacred buildings where people talked in whispers and everyone was welcome. I went to a library. And, unlike churches, they had computers I can use.
Central Library is a beautiful building. In fact, if I weren’t so soaked and hell-bent on finding a place to stay, I would have taken the time to look around and admire the architecture. But once I had a list of potential temporary lodging, I dashed off to check them out.
It was actually on my way to an Econo Lodge that I stumbled upon the Downtown Value Inn. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad since it was featured on a Portland website. And it turned out to be a nice enough place like what you’d see in one of those Dateline specials where they run tests and find all kinds of things on the sheets, furniture and even walls. The staff were friendly and the fact they didn’t match the description of any America’s Most Wanted criminals made me decide to stay there while I looked for an apartment. The price was reasonable as well. It did have a distinct smell though and the only word that comes to mind is “stale”.
The important thing was this was only going to be temporary. I could overlook past the imperfections. I told myself it would be all right, an adventure. It beat sleeping in the streets.
-excerpt, March 3, 2008
I like sharing this story.
This was probably one of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life. But sometimes we need to take risks and chances and just do things well outside of our comfort zone.
Portland feels like home. It is home. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
This entry showcased how important libraries are to me. Feel free to share your story!