BootsnAll Travel Network

Salem Coffee House Easter

Three weeks has turned into three months in Oregon. Rain alternating with sun and hail. That’s the NW.

The CT scan, what I came up here for, showed esophageal varicies but the endoscopy didn’t. Hmmm. So more medical follow up.

Old renter moving out April 11 and I get to move into my house! Being in that little trailer at the farm with my son is getting crowded. New renter moves in May 14. Will sort and sell and give away most of my shit. Got a storage unit for stuff I can’t part with…yet. In the meantime I am coordinating contractors for yard work, roof repair, painting of the house etc. etc. before it falls down. I might need it someday.

So I’m in my little funky but cozy coffee shop with wifi where I go to every morning. Same people, sitting in the same seats…a group of about 8 retired guys sitting together for half the day and sometimes longer. They peruse the newspapers and comment. Seems like we live here. They ignore me. Curious and unusual. I wonder where the wives are. I think they think they are in a man cave. I think they are!


Outside on the sidewalk is a reader board says “Because You Can Never Find A Starbucks When You Need One.” There are two Starbucks around the corner in the same block where the shop lets the homeless hang out to keep warm…occasionally coffee in hand. Having lived here for 35 years and having been the manager of a homeless program at a two- county nonprofit, I’ve never seen so many panhandlers on downtown streets. But I only give cigarettes to the mentally ill ones who are obviously off their meds…hoping it will be soothing to them.

In the meantime reverse culture shock is hitting me in the face again. You would think I would be beyond this by now.

I keep running into first world rules and regs! Got a $20 ticket for parking less than a foot over the white line. But that’s nothing compared to the hijacking of my car in a hospital parking structure because by law you can’t drive for 12 hours after anesthesia and I had to get a hotel room just because my 12 hours were up at 7:30pm but couldn’t get the parking ticket validated because the office closed at 5! F+++++g police state! Slap me silly if I complain about Mexico again!

And last year I got a $200 ticket for turning right when a pedestrian still had 2 steps to get out of the cross walk on the other side!

A traveling friend describes it as an “invisible barrier that sometimes leads to invisible, but sometimes even open conflict.” Yep! Coming or going. Culture shock is always worst for me coming back…not going. It’s just that I really notice these things more when I return because they feel so personally restrictive. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I get off the plane in Mexico or SE Asia. I thought by now I’d be beyond all this! NOT!

And another thing! I’m done with hearing “how was your day” and “have a great day” 50 times a day! Does NOT put me in a good mood! And I’m done with cold and rain. Think it’s time to go home.

I do love the NW and of course that’s the thing about culture shock. You are in one place and want to be in the other too.

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