#57 In Roads-Mad masher


My friend and I are walking down the sidewalk on the northeast side of town when she grabs my arm to pull me back. A crazed driver careens in front of us and stops abruptly, narrowly avoiding cross traffic and us while blocking our path. Her window is down and she leans out.

“I’m not from here, can you tell?” she asks apologetically as she smiles and bats her eyes at us. I crack up and tell her that neither am I but I don’t go around mowing people down. I ask if she’s lost and the young woman with the Pagan tatts admits that yes, she has no clue where she is. She asks for directions. I defer to my resident friend since the streets of Portland befuddle me, too. I spend a great deal of time lost here and have shared my opinion frequently that whoever the forefathers were that laid out this town should be forced to drive the streets daily. Or shot. It’s its own form of hell.

I like Lisa. She gets her directions though admittedly, we can tell she’s bound to be lost again as soon as she leaves us. I ask where she’s from.

“Montana,” she replies. She’s just rolled into town and is trying to find the address for the memorial service she’s planning to attend. I ask if it’s tonight.

“Yep, in two hours. I’m going for a couple of drinks first. You gotta be primed for these things, ya know?” I ask if I can take her photo and without hesitation she perks up and declares, “Why yes! Absolutely.” She poses proudly.

Turns out she’s driven straight through from her home in Montana to say goodbye. She’s is a little rummy from the 1,000-mile-plus trip she’s just made in less than a day. I ask when she will head back. She shrugs and kind of laughs. “In the morning,” she tells me as if she’s able to leap tall buildings and not be noticed. She gets directions one more time just to be sure and slams the beer can car in gear before she wags her head and declares, “Off to the races!” She flies off into traffic as abruptly as she arrived to run over us.



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