Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 356

portland weather is crazy. but first,

i woke up on the front porch this morning. this was on purpose. last night i'd been kind of restless and everyone had gone to bed. the front porch is kind of like the one you can see during the opening sequence of 'full house' and there are matching houses to this one for the next two houses down to my right on this southeast clinton avenue. the three columns and knee high railing of ours holds one long brown couch, a coffee table, and a couple chairs. there are also christmas lights that hang above the wooden border for the late night sessions.

but the warm, outside air had somehow made up for only a few hours of sleep. after talking with some of the guys on the porch i headed down a few blocks to a piano store.

and this was no ordinary piano store.

it was a warehouse of sorts down on milwaukie street. there's a cherry baby grand next to the front desk where you check in. the secretary, who i later found out does not play piano, took my name and i played a little tune while i waited for one of the attendants to come unlock the warehouse for me. i had no idea what any of this meant or was leading up to.

but a short guy named taylor came around the corner to ''let me in'' and i soon found that there's anther building behind what had been just an office- a check point.

''there are over three hundred pianos back here,'' he told me, and he started to give me a tour. i don't remember what he said, though, because we entered a brick walled warehouse that was filled with shiny back and white and ivory. there really were hundreds of them and they all looked like lazy hippopotamuses with open mouths. taylor disappeared and i was free to roam, to touch, to play.

i found one i really liked and maybe in seventy years i'll be able to come back and buy it. for whatever reason i started playing desperado. i heard a door slide open behind me but didn't turn around. suddenly someone was playing along in what i was later informed to be the gospel indoctrination of the tune. we played accompanied and only after finishing did i turn around to see the grey haired repair man get up and disappear behind wall-sized sliding door. i've never had an experience like this- the combined sounds of two pianos of which neither could i have afforded if i'd spent every dime of my life thus far.

i played around some more and switched amongst pianos. on the way out i stopped by the repairman's area and he told me that i'd been playing all his favorite songs. i asked him to play something but he said he was too busy- said he had to come up from seattle to help these guys catch up on repairs- and we continued to talk about the difficulty of getting into the piano maintenance industry.

after getting back to the front porch and my book the skies had darkened to rare and enthralling thunder. hail. driving rain. trees were struck and fell. minutes later all was quiet and the sun came out. skies blued. and minutes after that the clouds rolled back and light rain continued.

by the time i was heading out to meet a friend for coffee i was riding into a mild sunset.

and hours later we were hanging downtown next to blazer's center channing frye.

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