February 28th, 2017

Sally Salt Disgusted

That could have been worse...

Because I had an errand I needed to drive to, I drove the car this morning, for the first time in a while.

I found that someone had gotten into it.

Not broken into it; turns out I'd left a door unlocked, and in the couple of weeks since I last drove it, someone got in. They clearly had looked for something valuable; the change door (which had been empty) and the glove compartment were both open. Stuff from the glove compartment was spread around the passenger side seat, but it looked like nothing was missing. My hand warmers, gloves, maps, and insurance/registration pack were still there with the appropriate paperwork.

A little dispirited, I cleaned up, feeling lucky that nothing (as far as I can tell) is gone. This has happened only twice in my time in Portland; the other time, at my Brooklyn neighborhood apartment building, the person who got into the car took some (not all) of the middling amount of change I'd had in my car, and even left behind (lost?) a glove. That person probably lost money.

Meanwhile, after this time, the car is home...and locked again.
Me 1

"A stranger's just a friend you haven't met..."

Turns out that in late August 2008, when I flew east and, among other highlights, visited my friends rafaela and slipjig in upstate New York and traveled with them to Burlington, VT, I just — just — missed being in the same place at the same time as bonnie_rocks, who I'd meet online two years later. She and her fiancé were visiting upstate New York and Burlington that month, too.

Bonnie told me this today. I replied, "What if we'd run into each other? 'Hello, future friend!'"

This is the antithesis of exciting, "Fast & Furious"-style driving.

Today's car-errand was getting gas, using a 50¢-per-gallon discount I'd earned because today was the last day I could use it (thanks, Kroger gas rewards!). So today gave me a good excuse to do more driving, to stay used to driving. Got up on some freeways: up I-205 to I-84 out to Troutdale before turning around and retracing. Weather was dry and traffic wasn't too nuts.

It's a route I took for a time back in 2004 when I temped out around Gresham: that year I spent some weeks working in two different food processing plants. I phased that out and looked for other work because it turned out to be a 30-mile round-trip drive from my then-apartment in Brooklyn. Bad idea when you're working not much above minimum wage. That fall I got my first hospital job, an easier and bus-friendly commute. That was a good idea.

It was also a good idea to brave I-84 around Troutdale and Gresham. It's a freeway stretch I started to dislike in the late Nineties, when I lived in Hermiston, Oregon and would visit Portland. On the nine miles from Troutdale to the 205/84 interchange, traffic picked up significantly, and so did — it seemed — bad driving. I'd get annoyed and nervous on that stretch. Eventually I started getting off the freeway at Troutdale and using surface roads to get through Portland. But avoidance only gets you so far. Vigilant driving gets you farther. And I did a little of it.