Previous bunch of tidbits.
While sitting in the urban park next to the Engineering Building, I began to hear a mysterious loud metal thudding in the distance coming from the river. I couldn’t see the source but the sound came from a far distance and echoed in the cement park around me. In between thuds, the sound of metal hinges screeched. It was very rhythmic: “thud, screeeee, thud, screeeeee…” It was a sourceless, ominous, metal sound echoing an unknown distance away, attempting to hypnotize me into investigating it.
I sat there listening for a moment, absorbed in the sound; it seemed to grow louder, as if, whatever was making that sound, Megatron or the Iron Giant, was stomping through the city, and coming closer. No one else around me seemed to notice. Maybe this happened all the time downtown. I began to think I was just hallucinating the sound and having some kind of creepy mindtrip, where Silent Hill was bled into reality and only I could sense it and it would turn out I was just passed out in the park.
After awhile it started making slow pauses. “thud, scree…….thud, scree” sometimes so long that I thought it was over. It was a giant creature unpredictably stomping through the city, stopping to sniff the air or investigate some humans to eat. As I am writing this the sound is rhythmic again but is slowly getting softer and softer as the creature walks away from where I sit, going back to its lair somewhere in the Willamette.
Obviously it was just some ship freighting or something going on on the river, but my imagination is much more exciting.
In the urban park again, I was sitting on top of the side of a dry water fountain, atop the staircase-like shape of it. As I sat doing school work, a man across the park yelled “Jillian!” I naturally looked up at the sudden sound, but as the guy was wearing sunglasses and way too far away, I couldn’t tell where he was looking and assumed he was looking behind me at someone else, so I went back to my work.
The man yelled “I see you!” Then started to come closer. I watched him in my peripheral vision, because I sensed that he was talking to me but still wasn’t sure, and didn’t want to look like a jackass if I gave my attention to someone that wasn’t even talking to me. But he kept coming closer and hesitating a bunch until he was right near me, at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at me. He said “Jillian?” in a soft, nervous, voice. As if he was seeing the ghost of Jillian and didn’t know what to believe. I finally looked at him and he just went “Ooooooooh….” Realizing his mistake.
I said “oh, sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me.” Only kind of bullshit. I smiled a sheepish way to try and help him not feel embarrassed. He awkwardly explained that I look a lot like his friend Jillian. I apologized for not being this Jillian and snickered at the situation, and he apologized in return then laughed and went on his way.
He was kind of cute, in a punk rock kind of way…
Two women in white dresses both sit on a ring of dirt on the PSU outdoor amphitheater stage thing. The women are typing on typewriters. Big blue antique typewriters. Skinny, faded yellow trails of paper circle around them in the dirt. Like hipster forest nymphs. It’s the kind of long narrow paper people use in those calculator accounting things. The white dresses they wear are noodle strapped and short. I think they are supposed to look majestic, or innocent…or something. One girl has shortcut blonde hair, shaved on one side of her head, so it kind of kills the meaning of the dresses and dirt…the other girl is a long-haired brunette with a big black tattoo that I can’t make out on her shoulder.
It is obviously some profound piece of art that someone put together for a class, and there must be some profound meaning behind it. But what? I think this is too profound for me. And perhaps everyone else who is stopping to look. There is a man with an expensive looking camera taking pictures of them from all angles and some close up to them and the paper, some far away to catch every detail. For some reason I’m reminded of porn being filmed. Ew, brain! I wonder what they are typing. Poetry? Profound thoughts? The answers to life itself? Their sociology essay due next week?
Regardless, most people who walk by gawk at the scene skeptically. The women ignore the world around them and focus on their typing, occasionally sliding the cursor across. Some people outright ignore what’s happening, either too cool to notice (or too cool to express they noticed), or sick of seeing weird Portland art around town. Faces ask “Is something going on? What is this for? What does it mean? Why is this happening?” Analyzing their faces is more amusing than the art piece.
When the women are finished with their performance, they stand up and put on their jackets (cuz it was friggin’ cold despite the sunshine) random people go up to the stage and go through the papers, seeing what was written on the pages. I am tempted to go up too just out of curiosity, but I refrain because everyone up there is talking to each other and I don’t want to get awkwardly involved in a conversation about the meaning of the art or whatever. I am not eloquent with my mouth. Then everyone is shooed away so the guy with the camera and the women can clean up the dirt with shovels. It has been revealed that a green tarp and a blue tarp were underneath the dirt. Aw, they killed the fantasy.
Also, one of the girls looked like an acquaintance…still not sure if it was actually her or not…
Downtown, headed to Pioneer Square from PSU on foot, I suddenly heard some kind of very loud reggae-rap music playing from near me. I instinctively looked at the source of the loud noise, and saw an old man in a wheel chair with the boom box under his seat. He looked me right in the face immediately, his eyes accusing me of staring at a cripple, daring me to do something about his public disturbance. I was verily confused for a moment, because this old cripple obviously wanted people to pay attention to him given his obnoxious music playing. Or he at least knew that it was going to (and did) draw attention, since he responded immediately to my attention as if he were expecting it. And didn’t do a thing to perhaps quiet himself down.
Most weird things in Portland people don’t question, but I couldn’t help ponder what the Hell that old man’s game was. Even if he was starved for attention, he was going about it in a really awkward way. Maybe he was testing the society around him, experimenting. Who would dare ask him to please turn down his annoying loud music? Maybe he was itching for a fight or a debate or at least a reason to get mad at someone. I had no way of knowing if he was “downtrodden” or not. Maybe he was an angry or senile bum? Maybe just bored? Maybe someone put that boom box in his chair as a prank and he couldn’t reach it to turn it off. The world may never know…
Next bunch of bits