Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

The Wheel of Mine (Adventures in Driving)

More getting-used-to-driving time again today. Reminding myself I have a car and I should be Not Afraid To Use It.

(Today has been a day of odd grammar. This may affect this entry.)

Guess what I rarely do, even when I drive a lot? Go through drive-thrus. Which I first felt should be spelled drive-throughs, but the correct spelling now actually looks wrong, so I'll stick with "drive-thrus." Anyway. Drive-thrus. Out of curiosity, today I went for the first time to one of the Portland-area Sonic restaurants, the one in Hillsboro. I actually braved the suburbs for fast food. Reminded me that I no longer have much of a feel for suburbs. Lived in them before -- does Rancho Bernardo count as a suburb? I lived in Northern Virginia's suburbs from the mid-Eighties to the mid-Nineties. And almost all of Virginia Beach might as well be suburbs considering how spread out Virginia Beach is -- but no longer really like the "spread out but not too spread out" quality of them if I ever did. I can go to rural areas, deserts or parts of the coast for that "really spread out" quality, but for me, suburbs are no longer real "there-there" sort of places.

So. Back to the Hillsboro Sonic. I pulled into a parking spot and then took nearly 10 minutes deciding what I wanted. First time there. I wanted it to count. I actually chose well by just choosing sides -- chili-cheese tater tots and cheddar-filled jalapeno peppers -- and a lime Rickey. (Newsflash to Jennifer "octoberland" Williams: nope, it wasn't as good as the lime-raspberry Rickey I had in Salem, Massachusetts. I'm sure you'd be surprised if it were.) It was a breed of drive-thru I haven't been to since maybe the Eighties, where they bring the food to you. There was a place in Hermiston, Oregon that used to do that, but by 1997 when I arrived there it was a walk-to-the-window-get-your-food-and-take-it-back-to-your-car place. Didn't mind that walking, you know me well enough to know I wouldn't, but that wasn't quite the same experience. But at least one Sonic worker actually wore roller skates, and rolled the food out to the waiting cars. His trusty money belt, with that cool money-counting contraption hanging from it, was my assurance that okay, I could pay by cash without getting out the car. (OY does that make me sound lazy.) I wondered if one had to pay by cards (credit, debit, gift ONLY) stuck in the menu next to my car window. No. So then I ate in my car. I do this slightly more often than going through drive-thrus. Tried reading, too, but that started to become too much multi-tasking and I concentrated on food. (I can be good at concentrating on food.)

But the big thing today for me was driving. (And cheering the Jets to a win and cringing as the Eagles lost, because I didn't want the Cowboys back in the playoffs.) Before reaching Sonic, I drove through and near Beaverton. Even tried getting to the Nike campus, which is right next to Beaverton but on unincorporated land, because from all accounts it's a neat campus. Plus the company I work for has built several buildings there. Turns out it's no usually open to public, especially not on weekends, according to the nice older-guy of a security guard waiting near the front of the campus.

(I did once, back in Northern Virginia in the Nineties, drive into a Reston parking lot to turn around only to find out thanks to security guards -- plural -- that I'd gotten near a building with CIA offices and unless I had reasons and clearance to be there, I'd better get back to the road expeditiously. I did. I don't think they were about to draw guns that time...)

Maps got me to the Sonic after that, and that's good because I don't really recall the lay of the land in the suburbs, especially suburbs that I go maybe once every two years. I used my map skills. I'm proud of them. (That could be its own entry sometime.) Then, once the food was consumed, I scenic-routed to the Beaverton Powell's and browsed, which I do plenty. From then on my night travel was errand-based, gas at one place and groceries at the Safeway nearest my apartment, and I indulged myself another way by buying a 12-pack of Pepsi Throwback. Pepsi has even brought back the Eighties Pepsi logo. A couple of guys saw my box and got excited over it. I told them, "That design's older than some friends of mine!" (I thought of zarhooie when saying that.) Then home, for more eating. Actual homemade salad this time, so it wouldn't all be fast food tonight.

The stuff in this entry: all accomplished thanks to driving. I can do it.
Tags: peregrinations, portland

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