I spent the weekend in Portland in an effort to catch Skylar in AFFAIRS and DRUGS and SEX SCANDAL. He claims he's there for four weeks for a "rotation" in "dermatology" so he can become a "doctor" and "finally become financially independent so I can get out of this toxic marriage." But I needed to verify.
So off I flew to the city of his origin on Thursday.
For reasons, I decided to fly in at negative eleventy in the morning, which was an odd choice because Skylar's life-saving shift (just kidding, it's just dermatology DON'T @ ME) didn't end until 5:00 PM or so, which meant I had many hours to kill. Skylar is staying with his sister who lives there in town and she offered to come snatch me from the airport and take me to her house where I could presumably set up shop and have a quiet day of boring lawyer work.
Well, I declined, vociferously, because I'm a strong independent woman who don't need no sister-in-law to rescue me. So instead I took an Uber to some coffee shop where everyone was named Juniper or Olive and I took up residence for the morning.
It was lovely. I felt like a city dweller. So young. So alive. And I guess that kind of energy is what tricked me into thinking it was a good idea to walk the length of the Oregon USA to Skylar's sister's house.
I had brought a backpack and the 25-year-old version of myself who once spent several weeks homeless in eastern and central Europe with roughly $19 to my name, sleeping in strangers' apartments and beds and sometimes on park benches, just took over. And the next thing I knew, I was marching through city streets. One with the people. So simple. So carefree. Not a need that couldn't be filled with my own bright noggin and breath of fresh air!
Gurlfrend. What I didn't realize when I began my great urban journey on foot and with a fifty-pound backpack tied to my 37-year-old body was that that walk. The one from the coffee shop to the house. The one I thought seemed totally reasonable after spending the morning with Portland's most whimsical hippies.
Well that walk was 11.4 miles.
Do you know how far that is?
Look it up. Go to google maps right now and find something that is 11.4 miles from your home and imagine strapping an unnecessary amount of luggage onto your back and walking to that place.
And look. There was no way out of this. I know what you guys are thinking. Well, Eli. Why didn't you just call your sister-in-law or an Uber once it became too much? Also, we worship you and can't believe they didn't cast you as Wonder Woman.
First of all, thank you. The most consistent thing about Stranger's now 14-year run is I can always count on you guys saying nice things about me in my imagination.
But second, no I could not call for help. Why? Because I, Eli Whittle McCann, son of Cathie Whittle McCann and Robert Lynn McCann, the world's second and third most stubborn humans who happened to create the world's first most stubborn human, had already shut that window.
My sister-in-law knew I was being irrational and repeatedly demanded via text that I tell her where I was so she could come get me. She had done this very early on during my walk when I still believed in myself. And I adamantly refused her aid, insisting that I was on a journey of self-actualization and I would finish it or die trying.
So I couldn't pull the cord on this. I had to see it through.
Even after I wore a literal hole through the bottom of my shoe.
Even after I discovered that my sister-in-law apparently lives on top of Mount Olympus with the gods and I'd have to climb to it through a jungle.
I just had to finish it.
I arrived at the house just minutes before Skylar returned home, attempting with all my might to look relaxed and triumphant as I casually told the details of my afternoon stroll. The sister-in-law and her children politely listened. And then Skylar walked through the door.
"Why are you soaking in sweat?"
Please enjoy this week's Strangerville:
This time in Strangerville, SNAKES, dirty college apartments, and a medical non-emergency.
Helicopter Parent, by Kimberly (music by PC-One)
Production by Eli McCann & Meg Walter
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~It Just Gets Stranger