Last night, Christmas Eve, Misty and I wandered into what appeared to be the only bar open in Portland. The bartender talking to a guy. Two women at the end of the bar. That turned into three more people over the course of the night, then four more, so we made it a lively place. Turns out that the first guy talking to the bartender had just returned to Portland himself after 5 years living in Oregon and Minnesota, though he has a serious claim on the place, tracing his family to arrivals in 1670 and 1770 and also to Penobscot blood.
“If you’re born here but your parents weren’t, then you’re still from away,” he told us.
We bonded over what outsiders do to a place when they come in, even as he eyed us warily. “We’re happy to have you,” he said, “but just don’t get involved in local politics. As soon as you get involved in local politics, then we’re going to have problems.”
My only requirements for my birthday this year is that 1) I be out of the country and 2) I be with Misty. So tomorrow we go to Montreal, where I plan to turn 40 with my first taste of foie gras at Au Pied de Cochon.