As I peek out my window in my bedroom here in Portland, I sometimes get a quick glimpse of the lives of the many others around me. In a three story condominium you can't help but know about others, especially since all of the doors that we must pass through to enter our humble abodes face each other around a first floor garden in the middle of it all. As a slightly shy person, yes.... shy (as some of you are rolling your eyes), I tend to distance myself from the many that share this piece of the Earth around me. A simple hello as they walk by, or a grin to a dog on its way out for a walk is as far as I go. I have simply looked at my time here as short lived and that I am going to slip in, then slip out and not try to disturb anyone. Why I feel this way, I haven't a clue. My ultimate conclusion would have to be that being in a town in which I know very few has caused me to stay closed up and focused on only was is to be accomplished while I am here. But even though there are many neighbors that I have yet to meet there are times that our lives cross in odd ways. Like the couple above the apartment that love to wear their shoes at 2 am as they run back and forth across the apartment, sounding like a stampede of elephants just ran through my bedroom. Or the lady below us that has to leave her dog at home during the day, the dog that enjoys talking to himself at the top of his lungs for all to hear. There are days that I shake my head, then put on my headphones.... then the other days (especially at 2 am) I decide that expletives under my breath are the way to release the tension. So to my amazement today I found out that some of the neighbors know who I am. As I headed down the elevator to due my duty as a knitter and explore a new yarn store that just arrived in Portland, I found myself standing next to a woman I had seen on many occasions walking her dog. A friendly hello had been the extent of our conversations, and a slight giggle on my part due to the dog taking the most leisurely walk I had ever seen by a four legged type. Suddenly after saying hello (and keeping my giggle under my breath) she asked if I was the one in the chef hat she always sees. I couldn't help but laugh. The uniform for my school is far from flattering, and the hat should be burned. Granted one of mine has been burned in the classroom but that is a story for another time. Each day I leave the apartment, donned in my appropriate attire for school.... including the lovely hat that causes your hair to be plastered to your head for the rest of the day. Then, as I sometimes find, after school I sometimes run errands. Now the looks I get wearing the attire have ranged from people laughing to looks saying I should be committed. It's not like I choose to put this on each day, I am required! Trust me, I would much rather be sporting a pair of jeans, sweatshirt, and flip flops. And do I really want to spend the time after class to change, just to run a few errands, when there is no way I can make my hair look presentable after wearing that hat! Thus, I continue to wear the uniform while I do my errands and get home to rest and knit. So, now I am officially the one in #205 in the chef hat. Finally, I have made my mark in Portland society. I guess there are worse things to be called.