A Trip to Portland: The Chemistry, the People, the Continued Issues…

You know it’s funny. When I started planning this trip, I figured…it’s separation science. We do our best to make sure that things get separated effectively with good resolution, sensitivity, and selection. I’ve never been one to throw around my scientific prowess, or lack there of too much, and so for me personally….it was a chance to see if I was either alone in that fact…or not.

God bless my boss. I’ve got nothing against the guy, and he could have totally blown me off. He could have said no, I don’t want you to go, there’s no need, etc. He didn’t. He wrote a letter for me to get the travel award that I received (and almost left in the hotel!), listened to my consistent plans of me going up to Washington afterward, and let me take the week to sit, learn, and reflect on my path.

When I started in his lab, to say I was naive is an understatement. I had no idea of what I was getting myself into, and now looking back on it 2 years since, I now firmly believe it is the best thing I’ve done for my career yet. I started in this quest for forensic science because I was interested in helping the public, and they wouldn’t let me carry a gun, so I had to go and get the education, experience, and know how to do forensics. I will admit my ignorance goes well past my scientific endeavors, but one subject at a time. I think the best thing that this conference did was that I’ve surrendered myself to the chemistry gods. I will do my best, try my hardest, and hope for the best. I’m lucky in a way: I know this is a good method I just have to prove it now.

As for the adventure, it started shortly after I got off the plane. Have you ever had that feeling at baggage claim that you just knew that guy? I did this weekend. I couldn’t place him, but I knew he had been on tv. He was on the new class of Saved by the Bell, I can definitely say that. Don’t remember his name for the life of me though. He was standing at baggage claim! Now, here’s the thing that I figured out about all these actors. They all got tired of acting, decided that music was for them. So, they got rid of their clean cut haircuts, and moved on from there. There he was. I was starstruck, he was still cute. I can’t quite tell it’s just because I need “some” or what, but when he finally started talking to me, that was more than I could take. Even BETTER, was the fact that he asked me if I knew of the “high life” here in Portland. When I explained I was from DC that was enough for him. I got offered to hang out with the band and goof off for as long as I was here. Yea! I felt terrible. But…he was cute, and in the end, to a certain extent my hormones said screw it.*Post note: His name: Richard Lee Jackson, look him up, he’s cute!*

As if things had gotten any better…I got to the conference, couldn’t get into my boss’s talk, I was mad. So, as I’m sitting in the lobby of my extremely nice hotel (Red Lion on the River, Janzten Beach OR) here comes this extremely nice older gentleman. Explains that he’s from the University of Alberta, and was wondering what I was doing because one of his students wanted to go to a hockey game, and I would be his perfect excuse to get out of it. I laughed, and shrugged, figuring why not.

I’m so glad that I did. I will admit that the situation with S just fell into my hat. He was extremely sociable, attractive, I could go on, but am wondering if it’s just my overly estrogenated self, or the scenery that made everything terribly overwhelming. It was so hard NOT to flirt with him, I couldn’t help it. Weird thing was, he flirted back. He asked me about my mf, asked about work, my family, etc. He couldn’t quite understand why I would complain about mf being in Chicago and he explained that his gf was in Switzerland. I couldn’t imagine. I felt like such a fool. She doesn’t call except like once a week, I’m sure it’s expensive. I would be on the email like everyday, but no…not like that he says. I felt so bad. Sheepish almost for whining about mf.

I wonder though if that’s why we took such comfort in one another. That we were far away from the people we cared about, wanting to be with them, and figuring that being together wouldn’t be so bad. He didn’t need to voice his compliment, his presence was enough of a compliment for me. He looked for me when his day at the conference was done. It was nice. Sweet in a way that I hadn’t been treated in a long time. I think sometimes men forget about that stuff, and it’s disheartening. Mf made this decision alone…and it does hurt. Speaking of which…

I was pretty honest with mf. I never anticipated being able to be so vocal, but I figured, what the hell…what’s the worst thing that can happen, he’ll be mad, and that’s at least a sign of emotion. He wasn’t, which I’m sure he did on purpose, and it just made me miss him even more. We sure sent the summer out in style though, I’ll tell you that. I’m going to Chicago for my birthday. Part of me hopes that I don’t ruin it by being depressed, and part of me wonders if I shouldn’t care anymore.

S bought a ring for his gf. Not to keep her from going to Switzerland, more to give it to her after she gets back. It hurt my heart to feel that emotion coming off of him. I have pictures of me and mf and I know that he’s not thinking about that. It brings tears to my eyes, for purely selfish reasons. S was funny, he could feel the tension between us, and last night, our last full night at the conference he asked me at dinner about it. I was so digging the honesty thing that all I could say was,

“Let’s just put it this way, your girlfriend is very lucky.”

For a guy that had been talking my ear off the entire week up until then…he was rendered speechless. Expressed that was probably the nicest thing anyone had said to him in a long time. It made me start thinking.

I’m sitting on a train to Seattle from Portland. As this tremendously beautiful scenery passes me, I’m remembering how truly young this part of the country is compared to the east coast. How much I have left to see. How much I have left to do. I mean, they have real mountains out here that put the Appalachia to shame. What’s nice about this experience? It had shown me that more than anything, what this degree is giving me, is the opportunity, and knowhow…to take my research anyway I want it to go. To go to Canada and do research on stationary phases. Work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, go to Torino Italy and work on methamphetamines, to stay in my backyard and work on LSD. It’s a tremendous feeling.

Back to what I was saying about me thinking though. I’ve never ventured too far, largely due to my disability, but also due to a fear of the unfamiliar.

It’s gone now. I mean, if you think about it, they have doctors here too. They’re just as good as they are at home. I’m starting to realize more and more that my fears are although rational, somewhat crazy at times.

I had a friend here online that said to me one time, “You find your happiness at home, or wherever you are, you’ll find your happiness again with mf if it’s meant to be.” I’m starting to wonder how true that really is. I have always been a flamboyant person, very quick to spill the emotion out. I can’t help it, it hurts almost to hold it in. I could have very well strayed this weekend. And, it felt good. It felt good to want that. I wonder sometimes if this is my destructive behavior back for a visit, but then again…

…part of me doesn’t care. I can guarantee that most of it is hormonal, and once again….don’t care. Feels good to feel good again. I’m happy for it. I think that although the work load is going to triple, it’s good. It’s right. And, I’m glad.


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4 Responses to “A Trip to Portland: The Chemistry, the People, the Continued Issues…”

  1. geekhiker Says:

    Wow, quite the epiphany for such a trip. I mean, I rather enjoyed Portland when I was there last year, but didn’t have anything close to that happen to me. I’m rather jealous. It’s good that it sounds like you’ve obtained some clarity, some direction on the road ahead of you.

    And for what it’s worth, sometimes men don’t forget that “sweet” stuff, we just have a hell of a time finding someone who wants it from us!

  2. cripkitty Says:

    uh huh…that’s what they all say gh…that’s what they all say.

  3. geekhiker Says:

    LOL – Uh, have you been reading my blog for the last month?

  4. pandemonic Says:


    Hi, M.

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