Bridge City Indeed!

I drove to Portland last weekend. I was supposed to take the train but, due in part to my lack of clock-watching abilities and in part to a mud slide, I ended up driving Sunday morning instead of taking the train Friday afternoon. I had one marvelous appointment, took a girlfriend out for phenomenal Russian tapas at Kachka, and had a long and pleasant shoot with the infamous Jughead (newsletter subscribers see them first!).

Complications to the trip have sparked a rash of inspiration and it’s about damn time.

Friday, I was scheduled to leave on the 2:10 train from Seattle to Portland. I didn’t take any appointments, though I perhaps should have, and I hadn’t prepared the day before for the trip, though I definitely should have. I spent the morning taking a long bath, trying on various photo shoot outfits, and listening to an audiobook. Public transit has mostly cured me of my habitual tardiness; if you’re one minute late, you’re twenty minutes late so now I’m (usually) present and ready early. This time, however, I underestimated not only how long it would take me to walk to the station, but had it in my head that the train left at 2:20 instead of 2:10. I simply wasn’t thinking, I was existing in a state of dissatisfied laziness.

When I arrived, sweaty, at the train station to find boarding over, I was furious. At myself for an unforgivable lack of initiative and at my perception of my own lack of accomplishments lately. I hadn’t finished my blog post on time, I haven’t worked on my book in months, I attended but wasn’t useful at meetings and while in reality I have done quite a bit lately, I didn’t feel as though I had. This was the last straw. I changed my ticket to 6p and stalked away, muttering self recrimination under my breath and searching for someone with whom to pick a fight.

My partner is useless for fighting as every jabbing, pissed off text message met with kind understanding and empathy. I couldn’t hit something walking down the street; my vanity won’t let me appear anything but put together in public. I tried to vent to a friend but she wasn’t available for comment. So I mentally wrote the most scathing, ridiculous email in my history and continued my subaudible, vile litany.

Now I’m stalking up the sidewalk in tasteful heels and a backpack, seething, muttering, and deciding to run some errands. After a short stop at my studio I reemerge into the sparkling, gorgeous day and run one errand, try to run the second but the mangey, God-forsaken government office is closed!, and, anger renewed by inconvenient business hours, I settle into a coffee shop close to the train station for tea, pie, and a clacking vent session.

Then my prepayment software fails me. Square cash rejects one client’s payment and I have to scan my drivers license in order to accept another’s. I can’t find it. The rejected client cancels his appointment. I’m frantically texting and calling the woman I’m renting a work space from and then I get a call from Amtrak. The trains are all canceled until Sunday.

Fuck. Me.

This is when I start crying. Frustrated, angry, on the verge of cancelling the entire trip, everyone else trying desperately to cheer me up and offer options, and disappointed by the pie. It was really good pie but I’ve been spoiled by perfect pie so to me, I’m a girl at a table in the corner, crying over delicious tea and mediocre pie.

I almost canceled everything. I’m so close to fighting with my friends and blowing off clients that I feel I’m an emotional danger and I almost start making phone calls. But I said I would be there and so, after a few hours of writing to blow off steam (I will not be publishing that, haha) and a long, familiar bus ride home, I spent a decent chunk of time working on my new website and feeling like I’m accomplishing things.

The next morning bright and early I get ready to drive to Portland. I need to be there no later than noon so 7:30 and I’m up. Everything is ready to go in the car, I fill up the tank…. And my tire’s almost flat. And the gas station’s air pump is broken. Sigh. Whatever. I fix it and I’m on the freeway by 8:15. It rained the entire drive.

I don’t feel like a real person until 1. I’m sitting on a lovely chaise longue in a dim, quiet room, sipping coffee and eating lunch from the salad bar next door. I’ve got a client in an hour, a shower is waiting for me, and life feels normal again. After that the whole trip was a smashing success.

That said, I am hesitant to return. My friends come to Seattle, though not often, I won’t need or want another shoot for nearly a year, and trying to schedule clients in Portland is like pulling teeth. No one wants to screen, no one trusts my reputation, and no one wants to pay full rates. I feel, with the one notable exception, disrespected and under appreciated and why would I put up with that when you guys are so overwhelmingly delicious!?! I think if I can get a crew to go work a club for the night that could be fun but I’m really not excited about another trip.

Maybe next time I’ll go to Vancouver.