After a week of playing in Portland (and i do mean playing), it's difficult to not imagine simply moving back here an calling it a day.
While we are working to finish projects and get ourselves "road-ready" we are mostly just soaking up this town and the people that we love and miss during our short time here.
The only thing that seems to be missing these happy days is our friends from out of town. In fact, the mind easily goes to a spot where we envision a quick road trip followed by returning to Portland to unpack our few remaining belongings, phone our friends from out of town to convince them to live here with us, and then simply carry on with what surely must be the perfect life.
But then we remember, this isn't real life.
This is the Portland that dresses up and puts on a show for us when we come to town. That raises the curtains as soon as we drive over the bridge and takes a bow as we pull far enough away to not see it in the rear view mirror. In which all of our friends and family are the actors and the weather is merely a stagehand that changes the scene from winter to summer (okay, rainy season to dry).
This took us quite some time to realize as we've lived out of town for the past few years, but every single trip we have to remind ourselves. It so easy to believe that living here is truly a whimsical daily party. That our friends don't really have to go to work in the morning and that sitters don't have to be arranged for weekend-long celebrations. That happy hours aren't actually a daily occurrence and that saving plans are still underway both for us and for them.
The people we love do such a fantastic job of dropping everything in their normal lives when we approach town, that it's hard to remember that they do anything but sit around waiting on us to return. Worse, sometimes we even imagine that this never-ending party continues while we're away. That they never go to work, or to the doctor or to stand in line at the DMV...but simply continue playing the games and happyhouring indefinitely...its just that our chairs sit empty awaiting our return to deal us in.
We love our friends for the make believe they create for us, but it also makes us long for a Portland that can't honestly be experienced for long periods of time (and certainly not permanently). A few days in Portland is inevitably followed by pinching ourselves with the reminder and realization that even here, even in Portland, the show comes to an end and real life begins again.