This is a short story. It’s my dedication to the city of Portland, Oregon. Not only that, it’s a reminder that everything (yes, everything) has some degree of awareness. Enjoy.
– Stevie P
I have seen a lot.
Though I haven’t moved – physically moved that is – I have experienced more than the average human being.
In the spring of 1971 (human time), construction workers birthed me. I became a hotel room, 325 square feet, on the sixth floor of a ten floor building.
The construction of the building, and by extension myself, was a kind of gestation period. It was a slow emergence of awareness. A bare room is akin to an infant, a clean slate. As I was equipped with more and more – carpeting, wall paper, electricity and finally furniture – I matured into full awareness.
During the construction process, my newly forming self experienced the daily visitations of workers. Some were gruff, tough men who lived hard lives. Their demeanor reflected that. They would come in, do their work and leave abruptly. There were other construction workers, however, who were like artists. They carried with them a more peaceful demeanor. When they worked, it was art. The way they wielded hammers was like Picasso with a paint brush. Their art was more practical than beautiful, but art nonetheless.
The birth of me, as this room, was an interesting mix of these different character types. And this eclectic mix would energetically coat the room until the very end.
My door, sturdy and steadfast, was my link to the building as a whole. But my window, a wide eye facing east, was my portal to the world at large. The river was right below me, with bridges on either side of it. Beyond that were more buildings, filled with my kinfolk. Further still, the buildings became consumed by green. Rolling hills with giant trees occupied the vast majority of the landscape. And standing proudly among all of it was the most majestic mountain. Its white cap stood atop a commanding base like the very pinnacle of existence.
Eventually, I was decorated with creature comforts. The carpet, a sturdy short gray skin, was laid out. It was a christening. Black lines decorated the carpet, making it look almost like a map to anyone who really paid attention.
Then came the wallpaper, which was golden and filled the geometric patterning. The shapes were mostly squares, layered angular patterns which gave the room an elegant yet royal feel. It was, of course, a microcosm of the luxury hotel as a whole.
Then came the furniture; a bed, a dresser, a night stand, a desk, a coffee table and so on. A character was beginning to emerge. The blanket on top of the bed matched the style of the wall paper, golden geometry. But on the bed, the shapes were rounder, more feminine. This was a reflection of the women who were coming into my awareness now, decorating and adding feminine touches.
I was now a full-fledged individual. And ready to accept guests.
The first guest I received was a business man. Names don’t matter much to me so I never knew his (or anyone else’s for that matter). Anyway, this man was on a business trip from New York City. Yes, the big city, which makes Portland look like a small village comparatively (so I’ve heard).
The first sign of him was the stomping of shoes in the hall, followed by a half-sigh, half-grunt of frustration when he reached the door. Key jingled and then went into the door with a click. The business man aggressively unlocked the door and through it open. The energy of the room instantly changed. He was stressed, in a rush. I could see the tension in his face as he neurotically combed his black hair to the side.
The man proceeded to drop his suitcase on the gray floor and rush to the bathroom. Then, as quickly as he came in, he was out. And I fell back into quiet peace.
That’s my default mode: quiet peace. It’s almost like waiting, but the patient, tranquil kind of waiting, as opposed to nervous, anxious waiting. It’s the kind of waiting that a lake does – one of those still lakes in the middle of the wilderness.
Later, well after the sun had set, the man stormed back in, drunk but less stressed.
He flung his clothes off onto the floor and belly-flopped into bed. His snoring was almost as peaceful as my default mode.
The next morning, he awoke like a whirlwind, flinging clothing and shaving equipment around. He took a shower, and then the whirlwind was gone again, as quickly as he came, this time for good. The storm had passed over. But I soon figured out that most business men had this whirlwind-ness about them.
There was one exception, many years later. He was a young business man. And quite different from every other person I would consider a “business person.” He had the attire of a business person, the black pants, button up shirt and so on. Yet he was relaxed and generally pleasant. The other interesting thing about him was his morning routines. Each morning of his 4-day stay, he would wake up, meditate and then stretch his body. This was honestly the only person I’ve seen do this kind of stuff, and it made me feel at peace too.
Actually there was another one who meditated. She was a writer, who actually stayed in the room more than anyone else. She would sit at the desk in the room and meditate before writing. And wow, she would write for hours on end. She only stayed here for two nights, but she produced almost a full-length book in the process. This woman was an expert at channeling emotions, as well as all kinds of human concepts, into words.
Every person who stayed in the room – stayed in me, if you want to look at it that way – added to and shaped my character. There were even a few dogs too, which was always a nice surprise.
As you can imagine, I’ve seen all kinds of human beings coming and going. My very being was designed to be a temporary home, a short-term sanctuary, for any humans who were willing to exchange currency to have that.
I would say that I’ve seen it all, but that’s a lie. No one being could see it all. But I’ve seen a lot. Like I’ve already said, I’ve even seen more than the average human.
And speaking of the average human, there are plenty of those. One who stayed with me in 1991, was impeccably average. So impeccably average that I’m inclined to discuss it now. He was of average height, weight and looks. His routine was the average of all of the other people I have seen. He would wake up at the impeccably average time of 7:00am and go to sleep at the impeccably average time of 10:00pm. Even halves of the hour were too far from average for him. And so were his emotions. There was no happiness, no sadness, just a dull mix of everything. I would never have even remembered him if I didn’t have the inclination to make him my reference point for an average person.
In order to even be aware of this average, I had to see a wide variety. I’ve experienced the full range of human emotion, which is an incredibly vast. I’ve witnessed sadness, joy, anger, happiness, resentment, bliss, depression, anxiety and excitement (among others). I’ve also witnessed the best and the worst of humanity, both of which become amplified behind closed doors. I’ve witnessed celebration, violence, people crying themselves to sleep, people having sex until they sleep, people drugging themselves to sleep (one resulting in permanent sleep), dance parties, sex parties, children playing games and adults acting like children (among other things).
It seems humans are both angelic and devilish, the ratio of each depending on the individual and the moment.
Although there is such a wide range, I still see some predictable trends. People, more or less, exhibited the same archetypal behaviors. Of course, each had individual quirks, yet most fit into a similar mold. That’s what culture does, right? Just as this room has the same decorations as the other rooms, people exhibit the same decorations, both physically and emotionally.
Yet some individuals, for some reason, really stand out. The extremes of each archetype, for example, generally stand out. Along with those people who are oddly unique. One oddball was a woman who dressed and acted like a cat. She was pure entertainment. In terms of extremes, there was the couple who had sex 7 times in 14 hours. That was extreme. There was also the couple who never even touched each other, and barely spoke a word. That was also extreme. There were the two fraternity brothers who nearly destroyed me with their reckless antics. The silver lining of that one was that I got new silver lining (wallpaper).
When I had the golden wallpaper, I saw different trends than I do now. The styles were different – the clothing, hairstyles, suitcases, ways of talking…etc. – just as the style of me, the room, was different.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because everything has a story. Everything is aware.
Every room, every building, every restaurant, every café, every bar, every shop, every bridge, every road, every sidewalk, every chair, every table, every rock, every blade of grass, every tree, every mountain, every river, every lake, every ocean… You get the point. It’s all aware. It’s all an aspect of All That Is.
The city itself is a living entity. I know because I’m a part of it. Everyone and everything plays a role in shaping the city; just as everyone who entered my space has shaped me. It’s the same phenomenon from micro to macro. Intentions ripple infinitely across space and time, creating and creating and creating…
Oh, and you know the mountain? THE mountain? That majestic titan of strength that watches over the city? That is The Guardian. There is no shaping The Guardian (not on this plane of existence, at least). But if you venture there, you will find that it has much to give.
The Guardian is the force that holds the city and its people together. And in that supreme guardianship, all intents – good or evil – are given free will to form. Yes, it’s a co-creative, conglomeration of artistry through manifested intention.
So, whoever you may be, reading this account, I ask you this…
How are you shaping the soul of the city?