It seems every show I’ve done with the People’s Art of Portland somehow leads to the next one.  At the moment, I’ve been involved in four consecutive shows per month since December.  While arranging to pick-up my pieces from the Timbers show at the Talisman Gallery, I was informed of a show going on that the People’s Art and PoBoy were hosting at the Goodfoot called “The Monster Mosh“.  The gist of it is a one night only show featuring 50+ artists, and the theme being monster-based art.  Being who I am, I SO had to get in on this, and Jason was kind enough to let me in.

Fortunately, I already had a piece half-completed (which I’ll show in the post after this) that would be perfect.  Now let me put the time table in perspective: Jason admitted me two Saturdays ago, and told me to drop it off at the Goodfoot on Tuesday March 26th by noon.  During the week, I worked three days at my new job, volunteered at the IPRC, hit up Art Spark, and got ready for my first weekend back at Oaks Park doing portraits.  All this while preparing art for C2E2 and the hosting change at “Oh Goodie!“.  Sounds like a lot, but I had the materials to complete the piece and knew how much time it would take, setting it aside Monday evening when I got home.  It was all a matter of budgeting time.

I got the piece three-quarters of the way done before I got especially tired and decided to lie down.  “It’ll just be an hour” I said.

…But it’s never just an hour, is it?

I wake up, it’s 9AM the next day.  The piece isn’t far from complete, but I still need to finish it and have time for the sealant to dry.  That’s not what concerns me.  What concerns me is this: I currently live near Beaverton Transit Center.  I usually take the MAX to Goose Hollow, then bike around downtown as I please.  Bearing that in mind, after the piece is dry and I hit the train, I have to bike from Goose Hollow to Goodfoot, which is clear on the other side of the river at SE 28th & Stark.  I then have to haul ass to basically back where I came from to SW 10th & Burnside for my anxiety counseling appointment at noon sharp (and yes, the irony of all this stress to meet an anxiety counseling appointment was not lost on me).

I should have been freaking out.  I should have thought that my crazy schedule was coming back to finally bite me in the ass.  But here’s the thing: in the Navy, there’s two ways you go about engineering.  There’s the “deliberate” way, taking your time, checking every step, making sure everything’s right and everyone’s doing their job.  Then there’s the way (usually in an emergency) where you bypass all that and just do what needs to be done.  Both ways, you can map in your head exactly how much time each way would take.

Usually, I’m deliberate and take my time.  Today?  Within an instant I mapped out in my head exactly how much time everything would take.

I get up and brew a pot of coffee.  While sipping on my first cup, I finish the piece for the show and let it dry.  Then I take a quick shower and get dressed.  I wait until I down the whole pot before packing up the piece and heading to the train station.  I’m going to need all the energy I can muster for this.

I take the train to my usual stop at Goose Hollow, then pause to queue up “Power Windows” by Rush on my iPod.  Being my favorite Rush album, I know it like the back of my hand.  There’s something unique about the right music at the right time how it can just bring everything to focus.  I quickly worked out the math in my head: it’s 11AM.  I have an hour to ride, drop this off, then double back for my counseling appointment.  “Power Windows”, having been released in the LP days, is roughly 42 minutes long split over eight songs.

In short, that gives me four songs each way.

I book it up the hills on Washington St as “Big Money” blares in my ears.  By the time I’ve reached Burnside, “Grand Designs” is already playing.  I veer onto Stark as “Manhattan Project” comes up, opening my jacket to ease the heat and taking deep breaths to dull the stitch I’m getting in chest.  I pull up to the Goodfoot halfway through “Marathon”, darting up the stairs to drop off the piece.

Jason told me it was actually due THURSDAY, not Tuesday.  I don’t have time to dispute him and he accepts it all the same, so I let it go.  I down some water at the bar and race back down the stairs as the second side begins and “Territories” begins to play.  Hard part’s over.  Time for the B-Side.  Time for the ride back.

Any Portland cyclist will tell you that, if you’re riding downtown, going WEST is much easier than going EAST because it’s mostly downhill, and you can just let the momentum propel you.  I rocket down Stark and hit the Burnside Bridge again as “Middletown Dreams” comes on.  I lock up my bike and head into my counselor’s office just as “Emotion Detector” fades out.  I have some more water and plop down on the couch in her office, divesting my jacket to cool off and still panting hard.

“So…” I say.  “…How was your morning?”


Now, here’s the funny part:

You’d think all this activity would get to me.  At this point, I’m working six out of seven days while trying to re-boot my website and prepare for my favorite convention.  And I concede I may finally crack and bottom out sometime soon.

…But it wasn’t today.

Honestly, I’ve been relishing the activity.  I spent too much of this winter tired and depressed out of my mind, feeling lost and sorry for myself.  At least now I’m doing shit.  At least now I’m working and spending most of my time at a job I like in a part of the city I love.  At least I’m getting out and about and meeting people instead of drawing further inward, thinking it was all pointless.

Right now, as I write about it, I think of “Marathon”, my favorite song on the “Power Windows” album, as I began the return trip…

You can do a lot in a lifetime
If you don’t burn out too fast
You can make the most of the distance
First you need endurance
First you’ve got to last…