pragueBlog

2004-02-17  

FZZT..SPHRRRZZZ..BZZT: Tuning in again, here I am in sunny Portand, Oregon. I am told the weather included some snow and ice in the past month. Hard to believe since the entire day today it rained steadfastly and is supposed to do the same tomorrow. Just like it did I seem to remember every day of every autumn and winter of every year I ever lived here. [But that's why it's so green here, I'm supposed to say. And that's true.]

For the expat, it's always pleasant to pay a visit home. You see a few friends, see the family, get to be the exotic uncle whose infrequent appearances always mean a party, etc. But I already start to wish I was back where I feel at home. And this will be a long stay, something I'm not used to at all. Anyway, I'm here.

Before arriving in Portland I spent three days in Washington, D.C. where I once lived for six years. The weather there was sublime and I spent an entire day roaming all over the Capitol Hill neighborhoods that used to be mine. In the great food hall of Eastern Market, I leered at display cases groaning under so much meat, cheese and vegetables I understood that America does indeed intend to eat itself to death but to have a good time in the process.

I wandered down and in out of several blocks of East Capitol Street, where I lived for a time, toward the Capitol building. My place was at fifth street, just a few blocks up from the superb Folger Shakespeare Library, the Supreme Court, and literally across the street from the stupendous Jimmy T's cafe. I sat in it's reassuringly unchanged scruffy interior, drank coffee and looked at my old place across the street. For some reason, I remembered the time I was rooting around in the front garden when a long, shiny black and odd shaped limousine rolled very slowly past. In the back seat, wearing a tasteful matching pastel pink hat and coat, sat the British monarch. I remembered that the Queen was in town for a state visit. Down on my knees in the dirt, I looked up at the very moment Her Majesty *seemed* to notice me kneeling there. However, I'll never know for sure. Royalty have this way of looking at you and not looking at you at the same time. And there was something about her expression that seemed to accept as a matter of natural course that someone would kneel in their garden as a mark of respect...

They're not all that way. Years before, in London, I was on my way back to my student hovel and walking along a narrow street along the side of Euston Station. A driveway door opened and I had to stop as a Jaguar nosed its way out the special side entrance to the station. There, in the back seat and slowly passing by me two feet away, was the newly minted Princess of Wales. She looked up and gave me one of the shyest but sincerest and sweetest smiles ever bestowed, making me her slave for life.

From the rain in Portland to Princess Diana...residual jet-lag. Time for bed.

Steve | 08:31 |
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