What is it about the freeway at night that I like so much? Those who know me well are often taken aback when I say anything about how much I like to drive. Especially at night. Whenever I find myself in a fitful, troubled mood, as often as not it's the open road that calms me down.

Portland is veined with a slender net of freeways; I-5 running roughly parallel to the Willamette River, south to north; I-205 that branches east from I-5 and then continues north as well; I-84 bisecting I-5 to the east and Hwy. 26 likewise to the west; and the small belt of I-405 that donuts around the downtown core on the west bank of the Willamette.

Best thing to do, when I'm restless and heady with portentous ideas, is to drop into gear and just drive, sorting it all out from behind my dashboard.

I suppose I like driving at night because I'm less likely to break things than in daylight. Yesterday I busted up the van I drive for the children's theatre I now work for: in my defense, the traffic barrier was well below my line of sight, and this van is pretty beat up already. But I might have done some serious damage to the alignment or the transmission train or some such; none of the gear readings in the dashboard dial correspond to the actual gear the van happens to be in at any given time anymore. And the steering wheel is pretty broadly innaccurate, too. We're taking the van into the shop on Thursday. Fortunately, when you're as experienced as I am in breaking things, you learn to take these matters in stride.





League of Monster Voters

Here in the great state of Oregon, we get to fill out our ballots and mail them in, as opposed to waiting in long lines on Election Day with little or no preparation. The luxury of having over two weeks to cast our ballots means we actually get the opportunity to make informed decisions on our statewide initiatives. These silly-ass statewide initiatives, by the way, are the bane of my existence. Someone needs to take the business end of a two-by-four to that coterie of dumbass chuckleheads who keep forging signatures so they can put really stupid and obscure measures all over our ballots.

So I'm filling out my ballot with my girlfriend at a bar (what could be more patriotic than that?). And one of those said silly-ass statewide initiatives was at hand, and we were talking about which way to vote (I'd go into the details, but it would take forever and it would give me a headache.) After hashing it around for a bit (like a mouthful of dry gin), I came up with what I thought was a pretty convincing and definitive case for voting against the measure. She didn't quite jump on board right away, so she looked up the online League of Women Voters position on the same measure, and lo and behold but the League of Women Voters endorsed my position point-by-point. She was impressed, and I'm pretty proud that both myself and the League of Women Voters came to the exact same nuanced and deliberative position quite independent of one another.

Now I'm going to relax by conspicuously consuming some apple pie.


paulmonster-league of splendor


An Open Letter to Late October.

Dear Late October,

You have persisted in throwing extraordinary, highly volatile and emotionally contradictory circumstances directly at my beautiful face for quite some time. Now, I am not a vain man, but neither am I a man of infinite patience. If you continue in your utterly bewildering and quite frankly exhaustive behavior, I shall be forced to take certain stern measures, which neither you nor I find particularly pleasant to contemplate. You may put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Otherwise, you're doing very fine work with the leaves and all. Keep it up.




I have been a reluctant blogger lately, mostly due to my sadly incapacitated laptop.

But more than this, I've lost even the seldom habit of blogging.

I'm in a strange place. These past months are distant and unmoored to me, both immediate and removed. They are like the figures seen through the lit windows of neighbors' houses at night. I can almost reach through and live there.

A friend of mine has written a play about, among a great many other things, a woman who helps her grandmother to die, and then sets about physically altering her appearance even as she emotionally attempts to deconstruct her identity. Reading the play stirred some turbulent things in me.

I'm often lost, prone to breaking things, happy in my books and in my friends, nervous and scared of this new relationship that's brewing nearby, relieved and wistful for a play I've just closed...

More updates soon enough.