H. Bruce's disgruntlement with Bend is kind of a mystery to me.
I chose to come back to Bend after college. There weren't any jobs here for me, but there didn't seem to be any jobs for me anywhere else either. I got some gardening clients through my Mom's reputation, and earned just enough to be able to write.
I was still trying to be a full time writer, and for that I could live anywhere I wanted. It was cheaper to live here then, cheaper to be a Bohemian. Almost immediately, I started filling in at Pegasus Books when the owner needed to get away, and of course, working in a comic book store was kind of fun also.
I was poor but happy. Met Linda at Farewell Bend Writer's Group, and that too was good. The store moved downtown and I bought it a year or so later and we struggled for a decade just to get a few sales everyday...But it was O.K. because we were all in it together. We were all Bohemians then.
Anyway, to me Bend has always had an atmosphere, an ambiance, a smell and a touch, I can't explain it, that feels good. A vibrancy, and a life. To me, the cities on the other side of the mountains feel kind of dark and weed-infested and somewhat polluted. The towns east of Bend seem somewhat forlorn and abandoned.
Bend was JUST RIGHT. (I'll get nailed to the wall by H. Bruce for that one...)
I admit, the town has changed. I'm not enamored by the big chain stores, and the "cultural" snobbery I sometimes see. I don't care about the fancy restaurants and clothiers and art galleries and jewelry stores.
But I just let my eyes glaze over them, and the outlines of "old" Bend are still here. There are still your salt-of-the-earth residents. The gated community people had conveniently walled themselves out of my sight, thank you very much. Golf courses could be on Mars for all I care.
Weather? Hell, weather happens. What god giveth on one hand he taketh away with the other.
I know that as much as Linda likes Bend, she could just as easily move to Portland to be nearer her kids. Bend is all right by her, but no more so than a thousand other places.
But I love seeing the mountains every clear day, (yeah, yeah, Bruce...) driving out to the high desert and being alone, sitting by the river or creeks. I don't hunt or fish, like my Dad did. Too much trouble. To me hunting and fishing was just an excuse to get out into nature and I don't need no excuse.
I wish I did more of it, but I'm trying. I'm comfortable with the gardening allowed to me (again, I think that, despite here Central Oregon gardening prowess, my Mom would have rather been in the valley for the opportunities it would have given her.)
Looking back, I think that being in a depressive state through most of my 20's just gave me a very modest goal of a decent life. Just a normal life. Somewhere where I DIDN'T stand out in a crowd as weird. (Didn't quite pull that one off...) Bend was and is comforting to me.
I think some people get disappointed by Bend. It promises too much, and delivers too little. Growing up here, I instinctively knew that. It's a modest tourist town. I can live with that.
I'm not saying Bend is the greatest place in the world, but it don't SUX.
2 days ago