One of the best things about living in a city like Portland for almost your whole life is that there are people all over the city that become part of your living community, just by virtue of the fact that they too live and work in the city. There are many places I can go and see the same faces that I've seen there for years--some of the booksellers at Powell's (especially Hawthorne, but downtown too). Barisitas like super hot Corey (that's big M to you, Qwanty) who works at Stumptown, but worked at Common Grounds for years. DJs--especially the kind who spin 80s tunes and favor velvet pants. Bartenders like Kip and BLT. Or regulars like the guys at BOG (including the artist otherwise known as Justin, of the painting of the girl with tiny hands).
One of my favorite neighborhood people, though, is Ivy. Ivy works at Arvey's Office supplies on Grand. I have long preferred to service my considerable office supply habit at Arvey's rather than at one of the huge suburban chain stores, and Ivy is one of the big reasons. She's very cool--always smiling, always sporting some arty jewelry, always quick with the small talk, or compliments, or catalogs for special orders. She has been at the front register at Arvey's ever since I started going there, which was not long after I started driving. To me, she's a one-woman institution.
Today I stopped in to pick up some of the black pens I like and I got into her line to check out. She mentioned, as she was ringing up my purchase, that she was retiring at the end of this week. She's going to devote herself to relaxing and making art. This is awesome for Ivy, because I'm sure that she totally deserves to spend time doing something that makes her really happy. This is much less awesome for Ivy's longtime customers, for whom shopping at Arvey's is not going to be quite the same anymore.