Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five: Practically Perfect Portland Edition

1. Food: Voodoo Donuts; The Melting Pot; Burgerville; Rose's. White chocolate creme brulee fondue, pumpkin milkshakes, fish and chips, matzo ball soup, chocolate cake. My favorite part of travel might be the eating.

2. Friends: driving with Katie (talking on the way up, listening to Clockwork Angel on the way back) and visiting with Becca. Just when I think she can't get cooler . . . she does. And you know Katie's my best friend when you realize that we can be together twenty-four hours a day for five days straight and still enjoy the company.

3. Shopping: Powell's City of Books. Even after a half-dozen trips, I still have to take a map when I go inside.

4. Shopping, part deux: Saks Off Fifth. Designer heels for a way discounted price. (Though mine weren't quite as discounted as Katie's--do you know anyone who paid 23 dollars for a 665 dollar pair of Manolo Blahniks? I do.) Still, here are my new black stilettos.

5. The Practically of Practically Perfect: I've become scattered. Easily distracted. (I'm looking here for words that don't sound quite so pejorative as ditzy.) Witness my driving in Portland. In my defense, I've driven in quite a few big cities, including L.A. last March, and I think Portland has the most counter-intuitive freeway on and off ramps I've ever seen. I had a downtown map in paper, a more detailed map from the hotel, Google maps on my computer, and a Hertz Neverlost in my car.

I got lost the very first night trying to get to Becca's booksigning in Clackamas. Instead of being at an enormous mall, Katie and I were driving some interesting mean streets lined with pawn shops, Chinese restaurants, and the kind of motels that Sam and Dean Winchester stay in. That one, alas, can only be blamed on pure ditziness . . . when I printed out a nice map, I'd left out a crucial 0 in the address.

So on went the Neverlost, which got us to Clackamas and got us back to Becca's hotel. It even got us back to the bridge to cross into downtown Portland . . . where it promptly tried to send us right on a one-way street going left.

I think Portland is in a black hole, one in which normal human directions are distorted.

Sadly, however, the last mistake was also solely my own. I have driven out of Portland heading east through the Columbia River Gorge at least eight times in the last five years. I know the drive so well that I can point out the blackberry bushes at an exit where my youngest son had to pee one year.

This time, I completely missed the split where I head east. I realized this about the time a bridge loomed before me--a bridge which, halfway across, bears a sign reading Welcome to Washington.

As you can't really turn around on a bridge, Katie and I made a nice little diversionary jaunt along the Washington side of the Columbia River until we hit another bridge that took us back to Oregon. No harm done.

Except to my ego.

No comments:

Post a Comment