#58 In Roads-Al fresco


It’s been a tuff night for reaching out. The streets are choked with pedestrians soaking up the warm evening with a bright moon dancing above, but I can’t make myself talk to the ones I really want to. Some interesting looking rocker kids scurry by with studded vests and cool looking sticks poking through their ears, followed by a guy who’s smoking a cigarette with a style reminiscent of Hollywood ‘50s while jetting down the boulevard, balanced on a skateboard. I finally decide to pick a stationary target and plop down on the empty side of a picnic table in front of the over-priced sidewalk pizza place.

“May I visit with you?” I ask the young woman as she sips her wine while waiting for her dinner to be delivered. She doesn’t seem at all bothered by my intrusion and puts her iPhone away in order to chat with me.

Natasha holds out her hand to shake mine as I explain the project and she agrees to a photo without a fuss. She never asks where it will be posted. The 36 year old administrative government worker says she’s hasn’t decided what she wants to be when she grows up, but admits the process has already begun since doing the pub crawls no longer turn her on. “I think the kidney and liver have had enough of the typical Portland night life,” she explains as she grabs her back, laughing. “These days I take in plays and sports. I do still drink, though,” she admits as she toasts me with her glass. “Just not as much and only wine.”

She’s concerned about the student loans she accrued in order to get her BS in general studies. “My goal in life is to get those paid off. Then I can feel like a real citizen. So far, I’m not even a quarter of the way there.”

The never-married woman with no children is the eldest of three and has her motorcycle endorsement, something I find both interesting and surprising. “Yep,” she brags proudly. “I took the school and everything. I did well even though it was in the rain and the instructor said I slid a bit. He gave me a break though, since there was about an inch of rain on the course.” She doesn’t have a bike, but it’s a goal. She says she was a passenger on a 600 Kawasaki. It was yellow. I mention that I can tell it left an impression since she sort of shivered. “Yes,” she tells me as she touches her face at the memory. “Riding was incredible. I’ll have one of my own someday.”


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