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I'm re-reading 2003.

Turns out I'd started a paper journal that spring, updated it weekly or so until May 2004, then sporadically added to it until September '04.

I'd forgotten I'd kept a record of that period. That was my last year of the three I worked at the Vesta call center, in downtown Portland's Old U.S. Bank building. I added time to customers' AT&T long-distance calling cards, which WalMart and Sam's Club sold. I worked until 10:00 p.m., modified swing shift; for part of 2002, I'd worked until midnight. (I've never worked graveyard shift and I won't start now.) I'd write in the journal after getting home; I was very particular about pointing out that it was only soon after the start of a new day. ("The Fourth of July! Well, at 12:10 a.m.")

During that period I didn't have much drama, thank goodness, but I was drama-adjacent: a friend needing to move and (thank goodness) succeeding in getting to a better place and into a better situation; someone (married at the time to one of my cousins) who needed surgery; a co-worker and also a friend dealing at the same time with divorces ("Chris," one of them said, "think real hard about who you marry," and I thought And you didn't?). Mainly, I worked. As I said on July 8th, 2003, "I was able to joke with some customers today. That always feels like an accomplishment."

I recorded a moment on the 15th of August, 2003, of me having fun with a co-worker I thought was cute:

I headed out [from work] at the same time as Charlene was entering the elevator to leave the building. She said "Race ya!" And I scrambled down the steps [of the stairs around the elevator she was in], got to the first floor, and was leaning against the gate to the stairs when Charlene emerged. "You raced!" she said, and laughed. I glowed with the enjoyment and pleasure of making a pretty lady laugh.

That, for me at the time, was almost flirting.

The journal records how I reacted to the first time I had a grandparent die, my mom's father Bob Nelson, in September 2003. I recorded memories of that, and from his memorial, at the Little Chapel of the Chimes on North Killingsworth. (That chapel is now the McMenamin's Chapel Pub. How Portland of it.) I also wrote in it about losing my dad's mother, Jean Walsh, in early January 2004.

Back then, as I'd done since 2001, I led tours through what was then called the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (now called Portland'5), built in and around the former Paramount Theater — now the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall — on SW Broadway. Theatrical spaces for theatrical people, and I got to show them off to visitors. I also got to look around behind the scenes, which I like to do just in general. I never got into trouble for that there, but I have at other buildings.

That journal ended September 15th, 2004. This journal began Wednesday, Sept. 22nd. I can believe one flowed into the other.

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