Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's safer in China/India/Mexico/Mars/(insert any place here) to cross the street.

This morning, I was about halfway across the street when I got a "HONK" from the 60 year-old-ish gentleman in a small station wagon who was taking a left turn off a main street onto a side street. You might think he was getting fresh with me. No. It was another of those friendly reminders to get the H off the road if you are on foot. About 10 seconds later, a bicyclist rode by and offered a word of sympathy (I hope anyway) for the rude Aucklander behind the wheel.

There is no place in this town where you are safe crossing the street. Even yesterday, I was crossing at a raised pedestrian walk with white striped lines and 4 circles signs in front of a primary school, only to nearly be plowed down by a navy minivan! However, I am not giving up on my walking habit. I refuse to drive to work and then pay to go to a room and walk or run on a machine. Instead, I am on the lookout for full-body armor for my walk to work. I figure also that will help build up muscles as I will be carrying around and extra 100 pounds or so of metal. Please email me if you find any suits of armor for sale or perhaps you have one in your basement?

I was on my way to the coffee shop Kokako when "the incident" (horn-honk) happened. Every morning I set my alarm for 6:30 so I can be to the coffee shop at 7ish to read the paper and partake in my "Short Black" which is really an organic espresso with maybe a touch of water.

The second time I went to the place, my barista asked me, "Will you have the same as last time?" (Even though my previous visit had been about 5 days before.) After 10 years in Portland, no coffee shop was ever this friendly. They seem genuinely happy to be there. This morning, I got there and they had built a new table in the window. The two of them were both so proud of it, they came over separately and asked if I liked it, one of them offering to move the bouquet of hydrangeas out of the way if it was bothering me.

Today I asked the barista how long he'd been working there. (Because he seems so good and friendly.)
His answer:
"Two weeks, but this is my first full time job in 6 years. I'm working hard for a year to save money, then I'm going on a big trip, overseas I hope. You don't need much, just clothes and food. I get food here [the coffee shop/organic cafe]. Once you get things, you just want more, like you get an Ipod, then you want the next model. I have all I need. My parents were hippies, sort of. One time, I lived for 6 months in a tent."

I thought, AMEN. That's exactly what I needed to hear. That's why I'm here. To slow down, take it easy, figure out the meaning of life. (Not that we ever do, but at least I can reflect on it. And not take my life for granted since I risk it every day walking.)


molly rose said...

Sounds like you are having a good time - minus the psycho drivers. They kind of seemed like that in Australia too, but maybe not that bad! You'll have to watch out. I'll be excited to see more pics. I printed your current pics and brought them to Grandma. She's excited for you. She wanted picture descriptions though and I didn't have them. Oops.
Have a great weekend!
Love you:)

verdle said...

Ummmmm, hello, Minnesota drivers are worse - if they see you in a marked crosswalk they either speed up to get there first or pull up into the crosswalk so you have to go out in the "real traffic"! I had to jump up to the curb last year and I am no spring chick. I might have JR invent some type of armor but he would have it programmed and wired to something.
Wish we were there.
love, auntie