Now that I’m officially unemployed and homeless, what better way to start my adventure than Portland? Luckily I have a friend in Portland who is willing to be my first port of call on this madness. Now, since this is Portland, it just wouldn’t do to stay on a normal couch, in a normal apartment, with some friend who reads the New York Times and goes to bed at 9. As it happens, while my friend (to be referred to as Fruit Cup from here on out for reasons I won’t go into) doesn’t have ironic facial hair or ride a fixie, he does drink copious amount of PBR, has far too many ironic t-shirts, rides a motorcycle decorated with pennies and dimes, and lives on a boat.
So, my first couch turns out to be a berth. Or “stateroom” which is nautical term for “closet turned on it’s side with a mattress stuck in it, ostensibly for sleeping”. In reality this works out usually be a plank with blankets, measuring 2 inches shorter than you need it to be (doesn’t matter how tall you are, it will adjust to adapt for your discomfort).
However, in this particular instance, the stateroom turns out to be quite serviceable:
So what to do while in Portland? The night started at a place right nearby, called Bradley’s. There is a sign posted outside that informs you that there will be no toleration of the following activities, and proceeds to list such things as “loitering” on the same level with “prostitution” and “public defecation”. Fruit Cup informs me that this is called “tweaker row”. Here you can play a game called “count the security guards”, as they amble around outside the bars / Denny’s / Fast food / Payday loans / Liquor stores. It is every bit as fabulous as you are imagining. We helped ourselves to happy hour nachos (which I would come to regret), then attended a “yacht club meeting” that Fruit Cup and his girlfriend Lola had to be at.
Imagine if you will, what a yacht club meeting would be like. Most people dressed as Thurston Howell, discussing the finer points of navigating treacherous waters, avoiding the hazards of scurvy, or the latest upgrade to their yacht.
Reality: it’s basically a PTA meeting. With alcohol. So that’s nice.
The night goes downhill from there. We arrive at a place called “Low Brow“, where Fruit Cup proceeds to hand out small cards of pornography imported from Las Vegas (you know, those people on the strip who hand out cards with naked women and phone numbers on them?). He also hides them in the menu, poses them on tater tot baskets, and puts them in the parking meter. He is not well, this man.
To sum up the first night of homelessness:
– Tweaker Row is just what it sounds like. Don’t get food there.
– Low Brow is actually a pretty great place. Recommended.
– Sleeping on a boat is amazingly restful, provided you’ve had beer, tequila, gin, and some other drinks before retiring for the night.
– waking up to 400 geese desperately (and noisily) trying to get it on with each other is not the best of wake up calls.
– Boats don’t really have modern conveniences like “insulation” so both noise (geese) and cold (Columbia river) come right in and make themselves cozy with you. Good morning, Portland.