The Port City Chronicle (44)

You're Not Friends, You Just Tolerate Each Other

Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way: “How’s Grace? She having a good summer?” our neighbor Alex asked, seeing me out of the corner of his eye on the porch while he was leaning against his car reading the news on his phone. “And how’s Paul?” “Paul’s dead,”…

When the Grass is Always Greener at Point B than Point A

Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way: “Let’s go to Katahdin Woods and Waters for our vacation this summer,” I said. “And let’s not just run in and out, let’s go for a week or two.” I was thinking about the fact that Katahdin, our newest national monument,…

When You Try to Do a Puzzle But There’s No Picture on the Box

“What can I get you for your birthday?” I asked Grace, knowing full well I can’t give her the things she really wants these days. “You don’t need to get me anything,” she said. “We’re going to spend the day together, go for a walk, and have a nice dinner.” “But what am I going to give you in a box?” I asked. Once upon a time, it was that easy, or at least that’s…

When You’re a Vegetarian But That’s Not to Say You Don’t Eat Meat

Knock knock. Who’s there? Global warming, motherfucker. “Don’t say that, this is a family march,” Angela said to Ethan, as we headed to DC on a bus for the Peoples Climate March. Halfway through the unending ride, a man in one of the seats in front of us had gotten a little excited and Ethan was joining in. “Shush,” the man’s wife said, looking around at the criticism. “Why? Am I in the library car?”…

Why Taxes Make You Drink

“You fill it out for once,” Ethan said, handing Angela back their tax returns without looking up from the ball game. “Why do I have to do everything.” That seemed a little unfair since in fact Angela is the one who does everything, like cooking, shopping, cleaning, and taking care of the kids, not to mention working. But taxes are more of an everything since they take a big effort all at once, usually the…

How Trump Gave Everybody PMS

  “I need to get my daughter Grace’s birth control pills a few weeks early,” I said to the pharmacist. “She’s going on her first business trip.” Then I realized that might sound bad. “Not because she’s going to have sex with a lot of strangers on her trip but just so she doesn’t have a sudden hormone imbalance by running out of pills.” But the pharmacist couldn’t have cared less about Grace’s hormones. He…

You Need the Right Gripe to Make the Right Whine

Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way:   “Those guys are such naysayers,” Grace said. “I want to say to them don’t worry, something is going to go right.”   She’d just come home from another protest and had run into Ethan and Tim in the living room,…

When the Women’s March Almost Pushed Over the Washington Monument

Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way: “Did you find that sign on the ground?” Tim asked a sweet-looking, young blond woman marching near us with a sign saying “Never fuck a Republican” — except that on the sign it was spelled out, “I’m having trouble reconciling your…

How Trump Will Get Rid of the Environment

“First I went to the assignment without my phone, my notebooks, or a pen,” Tim said. “Basically I went out naked.”   He was having a lot of trouble adjusting to Trump, even more than the rest of us for some reason.   “Then I got in an accident on my bike. My wrist still hurts in fact.”   He examined his left arm.   “I’ll have to take your word for it,” Charles said.…

The Port City Chronicle

Here’s the next set of episodes of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way:   When You Feel So At Home in America You Say Whatever You Want       “You can cross,” Tim said, pointing to the lit-up stick figure in the “Walk” sign at 42nd and Park. “We have the white…
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