November 11, 2003

Rum and Dr Pepper

The junk is slowly finding its way into cardboard boxes. I leave for Bend in ten days. The only things that remain on my walls are a 2003 Spam calendar and a monkey with text. The calendar has Portland’s Decibully, Guster, Matt Pond PA, Nada Surf and Death Cab for Cutie concerts clearly marked out over the next week and a half. The monkey still quotes my father, who at the start of my western expedition reminded me of my priorities. "Your primary responsibility this summer is to learn how to windsurf," says the tiny rubber monkey with his fist in the air and a tack through his xiphoid.

Moving is the biggest pain in the ass, but fortunately the junk is easy to move. The junk fits in boxes or trash cans or in the neighbor’s lawn with a “Free” sign. The most difficult things to travel with, and the only things that makes travel worthwhile, are memories. There was a time, a year ago come Thanksgiving, when I was sitting upstairs at the computer in my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Madison, looking at satellite photos of this little town called Hood River. I knew, then. My bones quaked with direction and purpose. I pointed at a few tiny and smudged windsurfers who had found themselves taken up by satellite. There.

Just a little bit longer, just a lot more effort, and I knew I would be there. I knew nothing of karaoke nights at Jack’s, of 3:00 am Savino’s, of albino midget pro kiteboarder parties at the Copper Salmon. I didn’t know how to properly downhaul my sail or rescue my hide at Rowena. The first time I had even seen kiteboarding was the August prior. No matter. What mattered at that time were hazy dreams, not specifics. At some point everything would work itself out in its own crazy way, and for now a vaporous idea of what lay before was plenty.

But while the future is born of dreams, memories are born of specifics, and little by little one gives way to the other. And ladies and gentlemen, the time is upon us once again to get a helluva lot more specific.