Do you want some amphetamines?

Now that I have your attention, I’d like to share with you a few moments of Zen I had today.

  • Let’s begin with the cover story. As I was exiting a shop downtown this morning, I saw standing on the corner a scruffy-looking young guy (superfluous link, sorry; he wasn’t a nerf-herder) with a big backpack on his back and a guitar strapped onto him somewhere. He shouted to me “Hey, nice pants!” (I regularly wear capris that have stripes of tie-dye down the side, and get complimented whenever I wear them.) I said back, “Thanks! Nice guitar” as he walked over. He started rambling on about how he broke his guitar strings and was two bucks short for new ones. I was having none of his sly panhandling, but was thoroughly amused and awestruck when he then started going on about how someone had given him these amphetamine pills, but they really cost five dollars. “Wow,” I said as he paused. “Do…do you want them?” “Nah, I’m okay,” which is my standard reply in such circumstances. After a few more rebuffed attempts at donations, he wandered off up the street. I stood for a moment, dumbstruck.
  • After that episode, I visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden, and had a splendid time walking through it very slowly, taking in every bit of it that I could, despite the rain. The woman at the front gate was very nice and gave me the student discount because I was friendly and talked to her about my grad program. The garden was breathtaking, and eleven years ago, the site of it was a gross parking lot. Portland’s urban infill is truly stunning in its superiority. The tea house in the garden was pretty schmancy, and I enjoyed sipping my tea and chopsticking my dumplings as serenely as I could. The full experience was well worth the $18.50 I paid. Pay for experiences, not for things.
  • Back at home again, I sat engrossed in my internet goings-on while my host spoke briefly to someone at the door. When she told me it was someone from OSPIRG, or rather, Environment Oregon, I sprang to my feet. From my experiences working for The Fund, I have nothing but empathy for these footsoldiers of progress. While at this point in my life I don’t give them money, I share with them what else I can. Today, I grabbed my apple from the fridge, and ran out the door. There was someone who looked the wrong gender across the street, so I ran up and down the street looking for the male canvasser whom I’d just heard. He was nowhere to be seen. I went back to find the female one I’d seen across the street, and she was nowhere to be seen. Disappearing canvassers!! I wandered farther afield, and at last I spotted a young frame carrying a clipboard. Indeed, this person was rather androgynous. I gave them my apple. I walked with them for a bit, encouraging them to go knock on that door! I attempted to bolster their spirits, telling them that they could do it! Met with not-unexpected apathy, after a few minutes I wandered back home.

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