That’s right. Amber Philips is not only a PDX person, she is one my very best friends. Hey, my only instruction for this column was to interview people who live and work in Portland. Amber fits the bill… well, not quite, she works in Vancouver, Washington. But she lives in Portland, so there, it counts.
Anyway, when you’re writing about your best friend, it’s tough. What do you say? The best route is to just let them say.
“Well, you’re my best friend, you tell me!” she exclaims to me with a wide-eyed smile as I stare blankly, recorder in hand, sweat beading on my brow. My, that fireplace is hot.
I manage to squawk something about her sense of humor. She laughs.
“Oooohhhh, good one, okay, nice save,” she says, throwing me a bone.
I wipe the sweat from my brow and let the silence fill the void.
“I love dad jokes,” she says suddenly. “I made one up last night.”
I wait, enraptured. She knows what I like.
“What did the conductor say to the baseball player when he got on the train?” she asks, pretty much rhetorically, as she continues, “Hey! You can’t chew chew on this choo choo!!”
Raucous guffawing follows. You see, we share that sense of humor. It might be just one of the reasons our friendship has remained over 20 years.
But let us get back to the serious. This is an unbiased profile of one of our own PDX people and we are going to treat it as such.
Amber sighs, sensing we have to get serious, or something.
“I went to the University of Reno and got a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and later completed a Masters of Financial Analysis program at PSU,” she says. “Right now I’m a financial analyst for a vertically integrated real estate company.”
As wonderful as that all sounds, Amber knows her calling. “If money was no object and I could do whatever I wanted, I would travel the world and eat at restaurants,” she says with the finality of a slammed door. Can we blame her?
It may seem appropriate then that her reply to what drives her comes without hesitation. “Money,” she blurts. It’s only fair. How else would one travel the world and eat at restaurants?
Except that Amber’s got more than a globe-trotting, fine dining fetish to tickle. She’s a clubber; she’s a raver, and she’s proud of it. Or is she? Watch as she works through it with herself.
“I went to parties every single weekend into my twenties. In my late twenties and early thirties I kind of stepped away from it…” her voice trails off and she looks at the ceiling for a moment before looking squarely back at me, “is that true though?” she asks. “No, I don’t think it’s true,” she answers.
Let me be the first to tell you, it isn’t true. Enjoy this picture of Amber in glowing rave gear at Magnefique, the latest massive rave in the Gorge Amphitheater.
As she recollects, Amber steels herself and announces, unabashedly, “A part of me thought that a responsible adult doesn’t do stuff like that. Well, now I’m at the point where it’s like, hey, if I have my shit together and I want to go to a big ass party on the weekend, well why the hell not?!” She finishes with a flourish.
Well, yeah, why the hell not? Go Amber. As usual, I’ll be right behind you.
William Bessette – PDX People Contributor
William Bessette is a journalist and freelance writer who has been covering politics, entertainment, culture and travel for over thirteen years. When he’s not profiling Portland-area restaurants and residents, you can find him reporting on national and international travel and eco-tourism through his travel brand, Floppy Hat Adventures.