About a year and a half ago I was sitting in my friend Jennifer's North side condo doing what we've done about a billion times before over the past ten years. Drinking beer, talking, and hanging out with her dogs. It was a couple of weeks before her wedding and Jennifer asked me if I wanted to move West with her and her soon-to-be-husband Scott.
"West? Uh sure. Like Irving Park?"
That actually wasn't what she had in mind. I was thinking she meant the West side of Chicago, and she was talking about Portland, Oregon.
As in half-way-across-the-country-Portland, Oregon.
As in you'll have to get on a plane and set your watch back and use different money to be able to hang out and drink beer and speak in code and annoy everyone around you Portland, Oregon.
They were serious. It was Portland or bust.
Anyway as they say, time flies when you are having fun and by golly if Jennifer and Scott didn't go and buy a house in Portland. The day of reckoning is here. They close tomorrow. Then they come back to Chicago, pack up their dogs and drive west to an adorable house built in 1910, complete with a yard, ghosts, and trees! (I'm a little jealous about the yard and the ghosts, btw)
On Friday, I enjoyed some Mexican food and dangerously strong beers at the Map Room with Jennifer, Scott, and his friends Steve, Chris, and Jeff. It wasn't a late night, so when the former Chicagoans decided it was time to go I declared that I must say goodbye to her in a bar and not on a cold Bucktown corner. So that's what we did. We hugged, I sobbed and said "I wish I knew how to quit you!" she slapped me and told me to snap out of it, and then we stood back, waved and watched Jennifer and Scott leave.
We were speechless for a bit. They really did it. I guess maybe there was a little part of me after all, that was ready to call their bluff. Like maybe they'd run back in laughing and say, "Portland? Are you kidding me?"
Chris spoke first. "Hmmm," he said, "if I knew they were really moving, I would have bought their dinner tonight." I thought that was pretty funny.
In an effort to stay strong, we did a shot of tequila in their honor, swore to continue fighting the good fight without them, and then I went out and hailed a cab on that Bucktown street alone.
Did I mention that I have my own room at the new house?