It was my last night in Portland, Maine, and I had decided to check out a small German pub not. The city is honeycombed with small pubs that are both alive in the evenings but never full. I had sat down at the far end of the bar and decided to read the small book of poetry I had bought at a small bookshop that afternoon. However, the friendly and welcoming people of Portland had different ideas. Less than 15 minutes after sitting down, I was invited to join in on pub games they were playing at the other end of the bar. Before I knew it, I was chatting with Jesus, only he called himself Hans.
As the night when on I ended up discussing politics and philosophy with some fellow tourists from North Carolina. Although the women were liberal and didn’t seem to agree with many of my thoughts and ideas, they told me I was both weird and astonishing for being able to articulate my views so well. I am used to be called one but never the other. Before they left, one woman insisted we become FaceBook friends so she could follow me and see what I was going to accomplish. I believe it was the beer doing the talking, but I was as polite as I could be to fellow southerners in a foreign land.
Turning my attention back to the bar I met some guys dressed as the bad guys from Home Alone. We shared a few laughs, and they invited me to come along for their night out. We bounced from country bar to hidden speakeasy. I talked to and hugged anyone I met and thoroughly enjoying my buzz from the dozens of craft beers the city offered, I grew my little entourage. We had ballooned to a half dozen and ended the night with me dancing with Frankensteins and sexy nurses in a large club called Bubbas. Then at 1 AM, as is the state law in Maine, all the bars closed and security herded us out into the cold to stand in line waiting for an Uber to take me back to the warm hotel and fresh pillows.
Waking up the next day with just enough time to grab a quick bite at one of the local and pint-sized cafes, before I had to catch my flight home. Filled with both heartache and nausea I got into my last Uber to the airport. The driver, as all of them had been, was extremely friendly and talkative. I did learn to quickly avoid politics when talking to them and any other locals for that matter. Portland is an extremely safe and friendly city, filled with colorful and friendly people. However, whether I was walking in their art museums, touring their local shops or eating and drinking in their pubs and restaurants, I never felt safe enough to talk politics with the locals. I loved the city and its friendly people. I hope one day to return to such a warm, all be it aggressively liberal, place.
There’s a quality of life in Maine which is this singular and unique. I think. It’s absolutely a world onto itself.
– Jamie Wyeth