Here and Now. (today’s hitch-hiking installment canceled due to Weather.)


It’s a fucking blizzard out there, people. Portland is covered in like SIX INCHES of snow, and it’s still falling from the sky! And for those of you who don’t know, it never, ever, ever snows in Portland. It rains. It rains and rains. Cold and rainy, three quarters of the year. But a blizzard? Never! And not only that, but it’s been cold and snowy for like a week! The city has shut down. School has been out. The whole deal gives life the feel of an extended holiday, as if all the people of the world are holed up watching DVDs of TV shows or sliding down slopes on sheets of cardboard. I’ve been walking everywhere, sort of tromping between my friends’ (drafty, busy) house where I’m dog sitting and the house where Madeline is housesitting, a pastel gingham sort of place which has been described by friends as both “beach cottage” and “hamptons retreat”. It’s warm there and there is English ivy wallpaper, brushed steel appliances and a jar of maraschino cherries in the fridge. There was a chocolate bar, too, until we ate it, and a carton of organic milk we were drinking until we realized it was far past its expiration date and was giving us horrible stomachaches. There’s a cat that lives there with a flattened face and a tattered lord of the rings boxed set, none of which I have read. Last night I decided the time had come, and settled in under a crocheted afghan with The Hobbit and a friend who likes to read aloud. We’d just made dinner of kale salad and GF penne with meat sauce into which we’d accidentally dumped a pound of brown sugar, taking it from acidic to sloppy-joe-like in the blink of an eye, but edible just the same. After reading the Hobbit for a time we set out through the falling snow to the mall, where we planned on ice-skating. My friend feigned apprehension (I’ve only ever skated on hockey skates. You know, in Minnesota.) but turned out to be an ice-princess figures-skating virtuoso, and cut circles around me while I toddled across the rink, hacking at the ice with the stoppers on the front of my skates, trying not to run into the handsomely dressed teenage boys who, if you squinted your eyes just right, looked like attractive young lesbians. After ice-skating I went back to Madeline’s housesit to sleep in the thickest bed this side of the Canadian border, standing alone in a small square room painted lavender, with clean white shades and a woven cross above the door. I even used all the throw-pillows to barricade the door against the flat-faced cat, because the door wouldn’t latch, and I don’t like cats walking on my face at four a.m.. But then Madeline came home with a friend and they were talking and sometimes Madeline puts on metal music, which she likes very much, but is the one kind of music that I do not like, in fact it bothers me intensely. And Madeline didn’t put on any music but just the thought that she might put on music and the sound of them talking in the nice quiet house made me feel very awake again, and then I realized that I don’t sleep very well in big soft beds, in fact I sleep best on the cold hard ground in a warm thick sleepingbag. I fell asleep just the same, though, after a time, and slept as though in a fistfight with myself. I dreamed that my iceskating friend and I were at Reed college, having our photos taken by a copy machine that was also a photo-booth, but it wouldn’t print the photo we took together, it only printed photos of everyone else I know and also people I don’t know, posing together as if they were having a lot of fun. In the morning I woke up with sore muscles, not from iceskating but from lifting weights the day before at the gym with Shannon. Lifting weights was not something I had done in years. Shannon is very into yoga and as we stood in front of the mirror, pumping a small amount of iron while off-duty cops and firemen flexed their killer lats all around us I said to her, “Weight lifting is the very opposite of yoga.” So this morning I woke up with sore muscles and Madeline put on Metal Music. I ate some leftover hamburger sauce and set out in the blowing blizzard, which had not even melted in the night, to go home and walk the dog I was watching, who holds his pee so long it becomes yellow syrup. I walked into the house and everyone was crowded around making waffles and brussel sprouts and they said Oh! You’re a snowman! When they saw me. And all day long the snow piled up, and jeeps dragged sleds laden with children down the empty streets, and AM and I ate stolen shrimp cocktail in the park while our dogs played like foxes in the snow. And tonight I had a whole evening of gay dancing planned, gay line dancing and gay booty dancing, but then the whole world was canceled, Shut! locked, Closed! And so I’ll plod one-and-a-half miles through the dark sparkling winter to eat dinner and read the Hobbit some more. And a good night to you all. Your regularly scheduled hitch-hiking program returns soon. (And I thank you very much for reading it. Your comments are like gold coins I carry around in my pockets.)


! ! ! ! !!! ! ! ! carrot

14 thoughts on “Here and Now. (today’s hitch-hiking installment canceled due to Weather.)

  1. I know snow?!! What is going on, here on the very west coast of BC we are in shock, total and utterly in shock. Where has our rain gone? we don’t own winter boots only gum boots with liners that don’t their duty cause when really was the last time it was -20 here? I can’t recall honestly perhaps I was 8?

  2. carrot-

    i took this walk last night (out of necessity, not pleasure) along this ridiculously busy road that has no man made sidewalk, but only soft green downtrodden earthy moss that trees hang over and anyone who walks along the path can see the emerald sky barely peaking through the black trees that overlap unto the road and it’s completely surreal and real simultaneously because there are the death machines to the right and the beauty and silent beings to the left and feelings of death and live all at once. i was scared, because i have severe anxiety walking alone, almost like im not privileged to enjoy the moment unless someone else enjoys it, and articulates that joy (isnt that silly? not a universal truth in my life, but something i notice that occurs a lot) .

    anyway, it’s freaking cold, like i am more aware of my appendages-not-being-completely-necessary cold, and i notice that all my projections and expectations are completely ruining the moment that could be utterly romantic and filled with such meaning, and a huge fucking truck slams by, pulling all the gravity and space with it, and in one second, im completely de-centered and heart is beating pounding and im laughing at the insanity of it all. best night this week

    i like yor blog.

  3. Dear Carrot Quinn,

    You nearly crying nearly made me cry! I suppose it’s an infectious disease, a kind and beautiful virus? Thank you for spreading it to me. And thank you for writing all of YOUR words, all of them. They are important, aren’t they.

    Yeah.

    Yours truly,
    Clara

  4. Skeleton flower- we are getting someone else’s winter! I have to admit it’s fairly exciting.

    Cate- that’s a beautiful story! What part of the world do you live in?

    AM- !! 😉

    Clara- Hurrah! Write more things and post them! Feed the internet! Feed it!

  5. hey carrot, it jackson. shoe shine boy, queeruption weird sex party at family house in the woods. friend of cyds. yes? i am home in australia and i just had all my wisdom teeth pulled out of my mouth ( against my better judgement) and now i am stuck in bed at my folks place . so i read all of your blog. i real like your writing and it makes me miss travelling and remember that i love being alone. and some other stuff.
    thanks for writing
    love
    jackson

  6. I love the snow in Portland… I love to watch the people struggle with it.

    I am always amazed that in a city full of transplants know ones seems to know what to do in the snow and no one owns chains for there cars.

    I for one am using this weather to write some train travel story’s, refine my gear, and in general be productive.

  7. “the handsomely dressed teenage boys who, if you squinted your eyes just right, looked like attractive young lesbians.”

    hehehehehe, awesome.

    I hate snow. Well, it’s not the actual snow, it’s the dirty slushy shit that snow turns into the day after it snows. I lived in Chicago for 22 years and I’ll never go there in winter again.

    The worst part is the salt residue that gets all over everything. Do they put salt on the streets in Portland?

  8. Hi Carrot- I’m Blimey. I stumbled onto your blog while browsing Ebay auctions and became fascinated by your hobo bottle museum article. Sorry I didn’t buy it, that green gunk looked kinda virulent. Anyhow, I’ve been reading your blog for at least a month and have turned some friends on to it too. I must say that I get much more enjoyment out of your commentary than the morning paper as they are beginning to pile up…I only opened an account here so that I could pay my thanks for your entertaining, thoughtful prose. Keep it up, we’re out here watching.

  9. Eric – “Do they put salt on the streets in Portland?”

    They did up until the 80’s when it was fully understood what a huge environmental impact the salt has on the environment so they stopped the practice and new they just plow and sand.

  10. i live in dear old and shiney new san francisco. im a friend of eli’s and i dont know if you know leilani at all….

    and i cant nap now either. had way too much coffee at work

  11. Which way are you hitchhiking? My good friends, Sidestreet Reny, are in Portland and are planning to make their way south to Los Angeles. They might have room for you.

  12. Jackson- Of course I remember you! You’re half a world away! Thanks for reading! Glad you like my stories.

    Sloth Womyn- I’m not hitch-hiking anywhere. I just finished a looong trip across the country, and that’s what I’ve been writing about, in installments. Back home (for now) in Portland, still trying to catch up with the present tense.

  13. I meant to write here earlier. Your work is amazing. Having read your stuff in high school I always knew it would develop but holy shit, your stories are completely enthralling. I’ve stayed up much later than I should have on multiple nights reading these stories. My favorite is the one about the Hobo memorial such amazing imagery. I look forward to every new installment.

    Love and huge hugs,
    April

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