The Perfect City (...In My Mind Anyway)
An acquaintance of mine is leaving Portland for good. She and her boyfriend are moving to either San Francisco or New York City after an extended stay abroad. She is not moving because she dislikes Portland, she is moving because she is ready for change and because she wants to see the world.
In a way, her move puzzles me. Personally, I LOVE it here. I can't imagine not living in such a fabulous city. A city that is not too big or too small, is political enough, has varied terrain, has and extensive trail system in and outside the city limits, is within an hour's drive of mountains, the ocean and numerous rivers, is green (in more than one way) and is organized, progressive and well-maintained. I suppose the only thing that is missing here is a bit cultural diversity (as well as some sunshine this week).... hence the reason why I try to take and international vacation every year.... but back to the subject at hand....
I mean, I can imagine living other places- Europe, Africa, Latin America, a tropical island in the middle of the nowhere. But I don't know that I would be happy or appreciative anywhere else in the USA. I have considered briefly New York City or maybe Boston, the Oregon coast or possibly Hood River, and I dearly miss my Bozeman, but all those places don't compare at all to Portland. They are either too big, too small, too republican or too landlocked. And they also lack cultural diversity. I want the (small) big city, the easyness, the 30-minute rush hour, great public transportation (in some areas it's free), the bike lanes and Powell's Books, the best food, coffee and beer in the world, an openly gay mayor, Mac users galore.... there is no place like home.
But I am not the only one. I have talked to people who know people who live or have lived in Portland and they go on and on about how much they love Portland too. Most of my Portland friends love it here- they have no plans for leaving. Every person who comes to visit me here loves it- especially the people who visit that used to live here.... It's kinda like smelling a cigarette after you've quit smoking, but without the deadly side effects. (Actually, the aroma of Ken's Artisan bread is healthy for you....)
Perhaps I have become too comfortable here. Perhaps I have become lazy. Perhaps leaving this place that has everything I could ever want and need is too much for my psyche to consider. Am I scared of change? I suppose it's possible. But that doesn't explain why I would drop everything in a heartbeat to move to a foreign country if I had the option.... Or perhaps I am lucky. I have a palatable job and I don't want to go back to school. I love my lifestyle, I love my condo, I love the possibilities I have here, I love my place in this place.
Maybe this really is the perfect city.
(For me, at least.)