The Hunt Commences

Yesterday Brit and I awoke and fumbled around for a bit figuring things out. We each had about five or six places we wanted to apply to in our target area for the day: northeast Portland. Behind the wheel of Helen’s marvelous van, we took to the streets of Washington/Oregon alone for the first time.

We drove to a station, parked, and bought 7-day passes to the #1 public transportation service in the country (they boast about it everywhere, and to be honest it really is great).

After riding a bit on the train we hopped off at Lloyd Center, one of three malls in Portland. This mall left much to be desired as both the theater and the Barnes and Noble were far too direct to be called kind. Plus, it was a mall. Just like any mall anywhere.

And so we left that area and took to the streets, walking by all sorts of hip hop posters and bus stops. We ate at a place called Tiny’s which was pretty yumz, then walked up a road for a long time and I applied to a few jobs, one of which was at Rhythm Traders, a drum shop I’ve loved for a long time and never before met. If only they would hire me…

We rode some buses, did a little of this:

And covered a good portion of the NE side of town. We eventually found the Hollywood district, which was home to a cool theater (which wasn’t open yet), a cool comics shop (which wasn’t hiring), a bike shop (which was too elite to hire the likes of some dude whose bike experience consists of fooling with an old Peugeot for a summer), and a few music stores (which were cool but also maybe not really hiring).

HOWEVER! People were kind. People have been kind pretty much the whole time, and that makes it nice when we’re consistently handing out resumes that won’t be glanced at, or talking to someone about how we’re about to move across country. It makes us feel less insane, makes us feel as welcome as these days of sunshine have been for all of the locals.

Once we made our way past a probably delicious brewhouse and pub in the Hollywood District, my slightly injured foot (the result of running in shoes not particularly well-made for running) had started to feel like a very injured foot, and so we again hopped on a bus and took it to the train which took us, eventually, back to the van. The van took us to a few different highways, then back home around 7pm. We had been in Portland for about seven hours.

Once back at the home, Helen sat around with us and the three of us talked and did all kinds of productive and some probably-not-so-productive things on our laptops. I managed to fill out a few more job applications, each of which was more painful than the last, and then we made plans for Tuesday.


Fast forward to Tuesday. We wake, I shave (with a new razor! It’s like my thick whiskers had been reduced to butter!), we eat, then we leave. We drove the newer van and followed Helen, driving the older van, to a nearby mechanic because the older van has some problems. You know, old vans.

Dropped it off, grabbed some coffee (duh; it’s the Northwest after all), and then Helen graciously drove us to the nearest train station. We hopped on, rode it for half an hour, and departed in Chinatown in Downtown Portland. We walked a bit, saw some sights, and loved it.

Once in the Downtown area, the fabled Portland businesses soon showed themselves. We came across the famously large and wonderfully literary Powell’s Books and Brit went in to apply. No such luck. Do it online, says they. Should I leave you a resume? asks he. No, says they. It won’t help.

I try my luck at a movie theater and the guy also happens to be a recent transplant. He’s only from Spokane, but still, not Portland. He’s super nice, tells me to come back at 4 and talk to a manager. Great!

We decide we’re hungry so we eat some yummies at a Delicatessen. We have a fabulously gay waiter and our food is delicious, and we encounter all kinds of things (an ad for the upcoming Pickle Throwdown!)

After eating, we jet. We walk a long way and things become more and more crowded, then we’re at the second of the three malls of Portland, Pioneer Place.

We check out a few stores, Brit gets a nibble at J.Crew and we both talk with a friendly guy at the crowded Apple store, then we have a few unsuccessful run-ins with a theater and some other stores.

Then we’re in a few tiny and super strange bookstores. Next we’re across town on a bus, and after I unsuccessfully apply to another movie theater (they were closed), Brit gets another nibble, at another jean store.

We hang at Powell’s for awhile, then it’s 4 and I go to the first theater again. Spokane guy is there, he’s still cool, and then he gets the manager. Oh wait, the manager’s wrestling computers. Come back later. Tomorrow? Okay, yes, tomorrow. I will defeat you.

Then we go to Voodoo Donuts, another fabled Portland landmark. Halfway there we see two girls walking the other way, each eating a donut. They’re holding a bucket. It’s full of donuts. It’s a literal bucketful of donuts.

“Want a donut?” they ask.

“Uhhhh yes,” we reply. How else would you reply to that?

They explain they were day old, but we don’t care. They also say there was a long line at Voodoo, and right they were about that. Brit ate a maple one with some kind of heavenly cream and I had a chocolate coconut number. At the side you can kind of see the line. It was indeed long.

Then we hung at the Willamette River for a bit, watched some birds doing birdlike stuff, saw some weird hobos riding bikes and wearing women’s hats, and then we hopped on a train and left.

The train ride back wasn’t too eventful, then we got off and met up with Teresa and Katherine (as in Rick from before’s wife and daughter). They drove us to meet Helen, who then, with Caroline, took us to yet another family friend’s house.

And thus we met Bob and Ellen, who were super kind. They know Portland pretty well so they talked to us about it and Bob made delicious pizza and these crazy drinks (called a Pisco Sour, made from some Chilean brandy, egg whites, sugar, and some lemon). We talked for awhile and then got down to business figuring out potential employers for Brit and I. Before long we had a team of headhunters on our side, Helen and Bob and Ellen all searching on phones, maps, and racking their brains for anything that could hire us to do something.

After an hour or so of this, we had a good long list of things to do and places to see and people to fistfight for employment, and so then we took our leave. We thanked Helen for hooking us up, once again, with such swell people, and she replied that she only had one more such couple to introduce us to. Golly gosh! Imagine our surprise and delight.

Then we went home, played with the big fluffy golden retriever (who is very hard to get to move when he does not want to move), and searched at stuff on laptops again.

Tomorrow is southeast Portland, which is supposedly the hip side of town. We’re excited and hopeful, which is all we can be at this point. Onward!




~ by Jonathan Forisha on July 13, 2011.

5 Responses to “The Hunt Commences”

  1. Thanks for the pictures & sharing – looks too cold for me. Hang in there.

  2. Sounds like you and Brit are making very good use of your time and Helen and her group of friends/family are awesome! You’ll find something – but don’t settle, you both deserve a good job and a great boss.

  3. This post couldnt be more right on!!

  4. Incredibly well executed piece…

  5. What a truly fun blog post.

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