So, Betsy and I had a Shopping Party and no-one came. To be fair: it was snowing. And we Portlanders are not prepared for snow. In fact, the city of Portland ran out of de-icer, which is why our planes haven’t been taking off. A guy at the bus stop told me that the City Of Portland is currently tracking the UPS package of more de-icer and will let us know when it’s been delivered. Portlanders at bus stops gossip about the weather like she just stole our boyfriend.
Yesterday, I made my rounds, dropping off more Snarky Cards and collecting money from some of the stores that have been neglected while my leg was broken.
I’ve never been in snow before. I was really excited. The buses were slow, but everyone who braved the cold was in a good mood. There was a sense of us against the weather. And while we were losing, we were good sports about it.
I stopped by Bertie Lou’s, which, if you were wondering is still open and will be depsite snow. I left some new Snow Cards and a few Christmas Cards too.
As the day wore on, my limp got more pronounced.
A regular at Bertie Lou’s helped me cross the street -is there anything that can make you feel more infirm than being helped across the street? It’s usually very old women and very young children that need that kind of help, right? But the truth was, I did need help. If it were 70 degrees outside I still wouldn’t be very steady on my feet. Sinking into 4 foot snow drifts didn’t help me any. He was tall and he helped me not fall in the middle of the road. I was annoyed at feeling helpless but oddly touched as well. I mean, it was so kind of him to see my gimpiness and then just start helping me, before I had the chance to tell him to stop. Once I was safely at the bus stop he gave me a beautiful wooden cane he had carved himself. “I make them all the time.” he shrugged when I tried to refuse.
“Oh! Wait! I called as he walked away. He turned around and I started rabidly digging through my backpack. “I have these cards….” I pulled out a rubber-banded pile of old Snarky Cards. “These didn’t sell. I was going to give them away. Here.” I thrust half the stack at him. “Are you the one who makes those cards?” He gestured towards Bertie Lou’s, where they sit in a box, by the window, waiting for you to go in and buy them.
I smiled and nodded. He grinned. “Those are great! You’re lucky to have them in Bertie Lou’s! You have people from all over the world reading them in there.”
“Really?” I didn’t know that. Bertie Lou’s closes at 2pm. That’s usually when I get up. I’ve eaten there once, but our hours aren’t conducive for a lot of hang-out time. The kids who work there are funny and kind. And so is Robert, the owner. But it’s nice to know that they get a lot of travelers. And the travelers think I’m funny.
“Yeah! Thank you for coming up with new stuff all the time.” He sounded sincere. My surprise at how heart-felt his appreciation was kept me warm for the first 20 minutes of my wait for the bus.
I saw a girl carrying her baby through the snow, all bundled up, with nothing but the strip of her eyes showing. “You look Islamic!” I told her. She laughed. “I feel like a robber!” Later on, I wondered if I was a racist.
One bus driver stopped at the Powell stop to tell us the 70 wasn’t running anymore. I decided to wait for the 17 which comes to the same stop. People wandered away from the bus stop and ten minutes later, the 70 showed up. “Maybe he was just an asshole.” said the Trimet guy who was waiting with me. I laughed when he said it. Some part of me was tingling. Meeting the guy who puts the chains on the buses was like meeting a celebrity. He’s the reason I got to go outside yesterday. Sigh. I love my town.
When I got to Grendel’s I was starving. I love that place. They were closed, but this cute barrista girl let me come in, and leave some new cards. She even made me a bagel. It tasted like love. I usually only say that about whiskey, but Grendel’s does sandwiches just the way I like them: lots of fresh vegetables, a little cheese and meat and then slathered with hummus or mayo or cream cheese -my choice. When I eat them, it’s one of those moments where my food is so satisfying that you think to myself: “This food is nourishment. Nourishment is love. I am loving myself by feeding myself right now.”
Once done, I dashed across the street to Rock ‘n’ Rose. Well, by then it was more of a shuffle than a dash. Sheila was there, looking fucking hot, as usual.
She and her husband Jeff own the store. They’re both totally gorgeous, fashionable and tattooed. Usually that would be enough to intimidate me, but they like me. So, instead of feeling threatened by their hotness, I choose to feel honored that sexy people who dress better than me want to be my friends.
Their fashion sense is Portland’s gain, though and while Sheila looked through the new stock of Snarky Cards, I shopped. Rock ‘n’ Rose is mostly Vintage clothes. It’s the kind of stuff I would love to wear, but Vintage clothing doesn’t offer Big Girl sizes. -These double D’s come with some hefty back, ya know. But my room-mate is a size 8 and I found her a sweater and a nice zippo, with some saint chick on the side of it. Sheila wrapped them prettily, and we exchanged money for goods. I love that store. And for anyone else who needs any last minute presents, they’re probably open right now, and I think they’re offering a “It’s f8%^! cold outside!” discount.
I met Michael Rockstar, and paid him $10 for a ride from Belmont to my house. “Those are you?” He exclaimed when I told him I make Snarky Cards. “You’re famous!” He’s pretty fuckin’ famous himself. He’s on all these local commercials for Portland. I always think it’s weird when cities make advertisements to themselves, for themselves. I mean, I already live here, you don’t have to sell it to me. I’m not going anywhere.
He asked if I’ve ever written songs before. “Um, I wrote one.” I said. I’m still not sure if I like Triple P. See, last summer, my friend Kay and I were coming home from a Ladies Night, listening to Loveline (because we old school). We lost our shit when Dr. Drew told a caller that Pearly Penile Papules were normal. “I want to suck your Pearly Penile Papules” we howled in between cackles. She probably doesn’t remember, but I kept it in mind, as I was making my bar rounds. And a few weeks later, I met a guy who writes songs, and he and I got together and wrote Pearly Penile Papules, and sang it. Best lyric ever? “By Sunday they were gone from your nads. And by Monday I had packed my bags.” See, the boy gets rid of them, and the girl doesn’t want him anymore. She’s a sucker for the Triple P. Michael seemed intrigued. I promised him I’d send it to him, but honestly, I think my Snarky Cards are better than Pearly Penile Papules.
Tonight I’ll be going out on my own, in the horrible, horrible cold. Limping hard to bring the good people of The Bonfire Snarky Cards. If we’re lucky, and my leg holds out, maybe I’ll sell some cards at Hawthorne Hideaway too. So if you’re in South East Portland, and you want some Snarky Cards, that’s where you can buy ’em tonight.