Saturday, June 2, 2007

I'm in Portland, visiting the kids. Friday night with Toby and Lisa, two nights on the coast, and Monday night with Todd and Elsa.

Traffic. Bend has grown so much, that I can fool myself into thinking that we're getting to be a big city. Though I know in my mind, and I pretty consistently tell people that we are still a small town.

Got stuck in a traffic jam on I-5 that crawled along at 10 miles an hour for almost an hour. Got to admit, Bend doesn't have that.

Meanwhile, on the ride over Santiam, got stuck twice behind a car that would slow to 55 on every hill and turny area, and speed up to 70 on the flats and straightaways. My wife's car has so little umphh, that by the time I'd get from 55 to 70 to try to pass, it was too late. I'm never sure if the people who do this are just mean, or thoughtless. As someone once said, never attribute to maliciousness what you can attribute to incompetence.

Despite my best efforts, we've managed to get the weekends off, which is to worst time to be traveling. Years ago, we somehow managed to get the early or mid-weeks, and traveling was easier.

Sitting by the river, (or the coast, where we're heading tomorrow), I can feel the stress just sort of fall away. On NPR the other day, they talked about how you really don't get the full benefit of vacation without two weeks. Yeah, right. I can't imagine that happening again in my working lifetime, which probably IS my lifetime.

But even after 10 minutes of tossing pebbles in the river, I felt myself shiver in relief. Breathe it in.

As a native Bendite, the coast has always had a huge allure to me. I probably wouldn't want to live there, but I love visiting. I've noticed, the coastal people love Bend. Opposites attract. I am a recovering workaholic, and I've made the decision not to call the store for all five days I'm gone.

Long walks on the beaches. That's all I'm gonna do. And reading. (I have to work my way around all the leaves that Linda stuck in my book to flatten them.) And spending time with Linda. Still surprised after 24 years how much we like getting away together. Just the two of us.

Two weeks? Maybe someday......

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