Ready for some grits in your gravy? The Pearl Invasion has begun.Within the past month, both Rain and Dr T have moved from Southeast Portland to the swanky Pearl District. Rain moved into a refurbished apartment in Slabtown, and Dr T was relocated after his old neighborhood evicted everyone blue-collar and replaced single houses with apartments, condos and mixed-use buildings. Attempting to create a bunch of mini-Pearls, if you will.
We are right on schedule. My face is smooth as a baby’s butt until 5 PM, after which sandpaper-grading is required. And Rain has left the building. She’s been gone three nights, and I am happy about it.
I am also sad about it.
But mostly happy….
I was riding the MAX with Rain a whie back, and an older black gentleman caught my eye after I caught him checking her out. ‘Twas no big thing, I nodded at him in that “Yes, she IS hot, isn’t she?” way. He motioned me close. “I have Viagras for sale. Give that woman what she needs…” He held out two tiny blue pills.
“Nah, I’m good, but thank you sir.” I was as old as he was, but I looked better. And he was trying to sell me Altoids. See, the tiny wintergreen ones look just like boner pills.
So the other day when we were on the bus, and Rain asked me for an Altoid, I smiled mischievously.
“Nothing,” I said. Still grinning.
“Oh, come on!”
I reached into my pocket, pulled out my traveling medicine chest, and gave her two Altoids. And then I told her why I was laughing…
It was my day off, and I was ready to be up and out of the house. The library trip is a nice ride. I insist on using the downtown Central Library, even though there are closer ones. There are none closer to my heart, or my work, and it gave me an excuse to check in at The Mothership.
I could see the lack of line from three blocks away. This bodes well. I was cruising on the last of my pain pills, and hadn’t been eating. A Memphis Mafia sounded wonderful, but spending $5 at Winco sounded more prudent. Fuck it. Rain had been talking about how she’d been craving a super-sized glazed doughnut. I might drop a full $10 and it will be dinner for us both.
The line had been non-existent from three blocks away, but by the time I arrived there were fifteen people crowded around the entrance, lining up through the exit door. A friendly panhandler pointed this out to people, and I ended up behind three hot girls with exotic haircuts. I eavesdropped as they discussed what to buy. After musing about how the cashier had just described the ingredients of a Cock-and-Balls to an eight-year-old, I offered suggestions to the one closest to me, a black girl with one side of her head shaved. We discussed Rappers Delights, Memphis Mafias, and all the other options. They were still debating when I was called to the counter.
“I’d like a Memphis Mafia and a giant glazed doughnut, please?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We’re out of Memphis Mafias.”
Shit. Time to invoke the Voodoo Diet rule.
As I gathered my cash, I had a flash of brilliance. “Do you have any buckets?”
“Let me check…” She went to the back. I turned and looked at the line, it was halfway down the block. My timing could not have been better if I’d really wanted a doughnut.
She returned with a five-gallon bucket. Inside were roughly 30-50 slightly mashed-up doughnuts. “Large ones are $10.” I gave her two fives and headed out the door.
“Hey, what’s that?” I heard a guy yell behind me. “Is that normal?” I had fantasies of being a weed mogul coming for his weekly payoff, a bucketful of black market doughnuts. Dad’s voice told me to put a spring in my step. Dad’s been in line fifteen-twenty minutes, and needs a Coor’s Light. If he knew how much his family and friends were about to cost him, he’d really hate me.
I made my way past the Dirt Urchins, who knew what was in the bucket. “Spare one of those, brah?” My negative grunts brought some snotty comments, to which I did not respond. I’m not giving them first pick, and I certainly don’t want their grubby hands picking through.
I stopped by the Mothership, offering a share to Festus, who took ONE. “Dude, take a couple.” He showed remarkable restraint. I took my bucket and made for the bus.
I took the back corner of the bus, not wanting to advertise my carbohydrate-filled bounty. As we pulled up to the main time point downtown, I saw Rain getting on the bus. It was rush hour, and seats were hard to come by. She took one near the handicapped section.
I texted, “I’m sure if you asked nicely the bald dude next to me would move over.”
Nothing. Her phone was in her purse.
So I pulled out the MP3 and cued Slipknot, about the time she pulled out her phone. Mine rang, it was her. “Hello?”
“Hi babe,” she said. “I’m on the bus.”
“Me too,” I said.
“I’m at Burgerville, you must be on the one in front of me.”
“So am I. I think you’re on the one in front of me.”
She turned her head, and we made eye contact. Yes, the bald guy would move over and make room.
“Ooh, you got doughnuts!” She said it low. I popped the lid, and what was on top? A giant glazed doughnut. “And you got one of my doughnuts? I love you, Charlie Chan.”
We sat in the back of the bus and ate about half the bucket on the way home. Upon arrival, I picked through and took a few of my almost-favorites, and left the bucket in the kitchen for scavenging. The kids and my bro-in-law should take care of the rest.
I think I’m good on doughnuts for a while.
I’ve been hating on fireworks for years. I guess it’s becoming my nature to be a cranky old man, due to time constraints and all, but I have good reasons for not liking 4th of July. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, I just don’t want to breathe chunks of air, or have my house burnt down.
So what did I do last night? Attend a fireworks display.
When a lovely lady asks me this, I’m usually tripping all over myself saying yes. And when the lovely lady is a relative, you try extra hard to say yes with as much enthusiasm as possible. (Authentic, of course.) But when “no” is a better answer, or “a qualified yes” perhaps, well… That’s when proper word usage is important.
You see, TJ called not only in the middle of bug extermination week; Saturday was the fifth anniversary of the day Rain and I first hooked up…
After visiting Angel, it was time for responsibility. I don’t avoid responsibility. I try to make it work for me. To make it fun. That’s pretty much my life’s mission, to make fun out of misery. So why should visiting a hospital be any different?
Rain had been in the hospital for a couple days. I hadn’t heard from her, but that’s not uncommon when she loses her phone. (Which also isn’t uncommon; she loses an average of two phones a month.) When she called and left a room number, I figured I should investigate. The hospital is in the swanky part of town, it’s a hot gorgeous day, girl-watching should be at a premium.
Plus, I can peek into my girlfriend’s medical chart and see what’s really going on…
Angel: “Sorry, thought I told you. Friday was my last day. I’ve been transferred to Southeast.”
Me: “I knew you were thinking about it. Sigh, guess the only sweet chocolate I taste is this fine blunt here. I’ll hold out as long as I can!”
Angel: “I miss you. We’ll meet up soon.”
I knew it was coming, but I’d hoped she’d procrastinate, be overridden by management, etc… Fact is, after nine years downtown she was tired of the faces and places, and wanted a new view. They moved her to Eastport Plaza, which is not the white trash capital of the world, but not as diverse as our fine downtown.
I would be reminded as I caught the MAX, on my way to say hello…
Ten years ago today I went on my first and only Craigslist date.
For the longest time we told the kids we “met at the mall.” Which is true, but we met at the mall after lonely hearts ads were answered on CL. May Day was full of protest; crowds marched the streets, the black-hooded dingleberries played on the freeway, people were maced, I believe. I didn’t know and didn’t care. My new friend and I were looking for a safe-feeling place to get to know each other. We cared not what the rest of the world was up to. Make love, not war! was the theme of the day.
That tryst turned into one of the most intense relationships of my life. I’ve never cried harder than when I was told it was ending, though ending the relationship was the right thing to do. I grew up a lot during that relationship, and I hope someday I can share that level of intimacy with someone else. I’ve considered her one of the true great loves of my life. You know who you are.
This was brought back with such force in part because of TriMet. They rerouted the #15 NW 23rd Ave bus, it temporarily stops where I get off downtown. As I headed to the Flower Shop, I saw the #15 and hopped on. I was curious.
“Have you been on this route long?” I asked the driver.
“About three days.”
“Is there still a market behind Montgomery Park?”
“I don’t recall seeing one.”
“Next to the car wash?”
He remained quiet, so I decided to ride along and see for myself.