Bison Coffeehouse, Portland OR

Light, Medium, or Dark Speed

Lived in. This place is lived-in local. Feels like I’m at someone’s house. I’d expect nothing less from Portland. The whole town feels lived in. Like visiting someone who has lived in their house for 50 years. It feels like everyone has lived and worked in their spaces for 40 years. Maybe it’s true.

Bison Coffeehouse caught my eye due to my recent encounter with the miraculous in Yellowstone (see Hyde Perk), so I had to check it out. It’s real. A bit rugged, and Southwestern themed with a Native American vibe. The wifi password is Geranimo. There’s a (real?) Bison head on the wall, and sleepy California rock bleats over a small speaker in the back of the room. It’s one room (besides a small outdoor side patio) and mostly communal tables, with some high top window ledge seating in the front decked out with BABC – Big Ass Bison Chairs. Yup- leather seats and some sort of fur back. Okay it’s not Bison fur… Looks like more of a deer pelt or maybe elk. A couple determined ceiling fans hang from a wood trestled ceiling to complete the package.

The full-caff cappuccino is fine – served in rocks glass. What I love- when ordered, I was asked whether I prefer light, medium, or dark roast. COOL. The first sip is a little more bitter than I usually prefer – of course I did order dark – but a beat later, toffee/caramel notes assert they’ve got my back (palette), and smooth out the hour.

It feels like everyone in here lives 3 blocks away which, with all the coff-erings (see what I did there?) Stumptown has to offer, is probably true. It feels local as local can get: off a road that isn’t quite a highway, but starting to feel a little industrial. The Green Oasis dispensary is directly across the street.

Where’m I at? Someplace weird. I hesitate even to go into it because I know my own tendency to not only decide for myself what’s going on (a ridiculous concept), but also craft some narrative in which I am either a victim and can gain energy from that, or tell myself I’m special in some kind of way: All an effort to get out of the funk and gain energy to press on. So while trying to avoid that (good luck) I guess- I just can’t tell. There is a TON going on. And yet I’m supposed to slow down right now. Why supposed to? Friendship. Time together {Kara}. Vacation [kind of]. Pressure.

Pressure? I’ve been looking forward to a return visit to Portland {and Seattle} since Kara booked this tour and I saw it on the itins back in fall of 2017. That’s a long time to look forward to a week visit in a place (each.) So there’s that I guess- I’m here. What do I do to take advantage of it? To make it awesome. Anyone else ever feel that? Vacation anxiety? I need to activate enjoyment of this place. It’s up to me. To make an awesome time. Control issues probably.

So there’s that. I’ve been looking forward to being here for a long time.

Couple that with slowing down. If not now, when? I know I need to. With an imminent relocation, when else am I going to get this free time? How do I spend it? The marvelous burden of free time. I’m recovering from burnout from audition season, burnout from all my tasks.. and as the burnout simmers..I’m left with…a questionable encounter with an old personality of mine >

>> In undergrad I fell in love with Buddhism. Well- Mindfulness really… and over time I found it’s Christian counterpart – Contemplation. It’s ebbed and flowed in the past eight or nine years and – see if you can follow this: a couple of years pre-grad school (2015-2017) of intentionally removing career-striving and cultivating value/acceptance of where I am (maybe to a fault) was exchanged in grad school (and the year after)(17-19), for an all familiar go-getter attitude of relentless effort and achievement.

Contemplative prayer literally got me through grad school and I must admit that this all-out achievement was tempered by some degree with new weapons of stillness and prayer. (And a kickass partner who – somehow can still speak with me on a phone.)

So when I look back- I see two-ish years of slow, and nearly two years of fast – as if years could be distilled into a speed, and now..transition. I guess that’s just what I’m getting at. I’m in transition. And I have options thank God. Choices. What has served me? What hasn’t? How do I care to proceed? Maybe a grand master plan doesn’t need to be formed. That’s a tendency for sure. Form a plan. It feels irresponsible not to. A correlative collective of effort. IS there wisdom in holding onto that nervous desire?

Option to skip the following: ( ( ( Man I just can become a task machine.  I’m so comfortable in the midst of hundreds of tasks.  Its what makes me a fantastic waiter, but - - Kara and I had a really cool discovery about a year ago where we realized that her personality wants to see a single task through to completion before beginning another and I want to have many unfinished tasks going at once.  I felt awful about this for a long time..as if there’s a innate inability to COMPLETE anything, or a self-sabotage of needing to begin a new task (addicted to the initial enthusiasm phase), before one can be completed.  There could be some truth to that.  I read once (The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield - READ IT) that the most terrifying thing for us is when we actually get what we want.  Because what then?  It’s the moment we must face the reality that this thing cannot save us.  Desire fulfilled reveals the insufficiency of things to give us what we try to get in them. 

So there’s that. Sure. BUT. What we realized is that – I’m good at cooking. Yeah- cooking is a multi-task experience. It may be hard to convey the amount of release I felt at understanding that – my way of working isn’t a bad thing. It’s just how I work. Many at once. Many projects. When the vegetables are ready that’s when you throw on the beans. I guess the question is- does the meal ever get eaten? ) ) )

Ohhh..I just moved to the Bison (Elk) Chairs to get some (computer) power. They’re niceeeee.

So. That’s where I’m at. Trying to slow down. Trying to release achievement as a way of -well, it just won’t work.

I’m happy to be here. I’m going to hike the Columbia River Gorge later today with a friend. There are no problems.

I don’t think I’m going to bring the camera.

You know..as I sit here an proof the entry..I can’t help but think…the West Coast is just cracking my chest open a little bit. I can almost feel it. I want to put my head down and keep producing…and an all too faint and familiar power is pulling me into the present. I’m embarrassed I need to be dragged kicking and screaming into it. But it doesn’t care about that. The West Coast doesn’t care about my East Coast worry and hustle. Speed is everything. There: Narrative Crafted.

Bison Coffeehouse. You were good to me.

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