I have been to Portland three times in the last four weeks. This last trip lasted five days. This is a big deal considering there were only two trips made in the previous ten years I’ve lived in Oregon. Each of these business trips were sans children, which means I left the titles of “mother,” “caregiver,” “middle-aged,” “home keeper,” etc. back in my home city limits. Having shed the responsibilities of these titles, I was re-invented into my alternative persona of “Urban Girl.”
When I was seventeen and prepping for college, I bought a bit book titled “Jobs in the Music Industry.” I decided I wanted to be an A&R Director. If you are not familiar with this job, it’s like proclaiming “I’m going to be a princess” or “astronaut” or “President.” Sure some people hold the title, but it requires a lot of work and persistence. Two things I didn’t have when I was seventeen. But when I imagine myself as Urban Girl, this is her job. In the last couple years, it’s morphed into writer, but you get the gist. She has a cool career that takes her to awesome places.
Portland brought out Urban Girl. She walks across the street before the red hands turns to a green guy. Each night, she enjoys expensive dinners without regard to the total at the bottom of the check. With the dinner there is a glamorous cocktail (no Cosmos, but I did have a Frozen Blood Orange Drop) and sometimes followed up by a glass of wine. Her hair doesn’t fear Portland rain because she’s tamed her naturally curly hair with high-end product. Urban Girl wanders the streets of downtown without any place to go and enjoys looking at the buildings’ architecture in an inspiring way. She doesn’t shy away from adventurous foods and even tried a prune. And of course, Urban Girl speaks Twitter-ese with witty 140-character sayings rumbling around her head.
On my last day, I was confronted with a real Urban Girl. She walked out of her high-rise apartment building in a designer jumpsuit with a sweater wearing small dog at the end of a leash. She looked past me without any regard on her way to the Starbucks at the end of the block. I smiled at her, which she didn’t return, and continued on to the last of my meetings. I sighed with jealously and relief simultaneously. She had her city and I have my real life.