Today I traveled to Portland, Maine for a job interview. Sometimes I am taken aback by the ease with which we can travel from place to place. Money notwithstanding, you pretty much go anywhere. Currently, I'm sitting in a Starbucks in downtown Portland waiting for a friend to pick me up. I smile every time I think about how I was in Boston this morning. Let me recount the day.
The day started in Boston. 6:45 a.m. alarm, early for a Friday, but generally a standard wake up call. After a quick shower and shave I printed by train ticket, packed my bag and got a ride to North Station where I snagged the train to Portland, ME. I need to ride the train more often. I did it once before in college, went from Chicago to Boston. It took 24 hours and we generally enjoyable, if a bit dull. I remember things got interesting in upstate New York because suddenly the trees went from barren to snow-covered. This train ride was a little better because there was farm scenery on both sides of the train. Plus I fell asleep and when I woke up we were pulling out of Saco, ME. the second to last stop on the line.
Once off the train I hopped into a Mac Taxi, driven by the amiable Phil. During the course of the ride, Phil gave me the rundown on places to live in and around Portland. He said that I should look to live in North Gate, or up on the hill and that I should stay away from the city unless I had the money to live in one of the high rise apartments with a doorman. Otherwise, I would be bothered by the "addicts." Phil lives in North Gate, and would live closer to the city but his distaste for the addicts drove him out of the city. He even used to ride the local transit, but apparently it is spotty at best which lead Phil to get a taxi in town. He has lived in Portland all of his 51 years and loves it. I guess that would explain his impressive dislike for the addicts who are "always begging for change."
Phil dropped me off at my destination. I went inside and met a bunch of folks and talked about potential jobs. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say, I'm in the running, but I'm not quite what they are looking for.
After the interview, I had some time to kill before my friend picked me up. I wondered up Congress Street, the main street through Portland, stopping to check out the history museum in town. Probably would have gone in were it a free day... I also saw the local movie theater, the Nickelodeon, or Nick, for short. After walking and looking at the various shops, I stopped at a Starbucks, where I am currently, to wait for my friend.
I snagged a seat by the window and just people-watched. Several patrons of the Starbucks approached me to strike up conversation ranging from the weather to my laptop. The best, was a women who slid in next to me and began speaking rapidly about a man across the street who was about to juggle fire. At first I didn't think she was talking to me because she wasn't looking at me when she began to speak. I quickly realized she was, in fact, talking to me when I didn't respond and she turned a looked at me.
Fire juggling is pretty cool. The small black object on the street corner is a hat for people to drop money into. Perhaps this fire juggler is one of those "addicts" that Phil was referring to...
My friend showed up a few minutes later. Stay tuned for more adventures in Maine.