Portland is a blast. Two Saturdays ago Coach and I were at the farmer's market. I had just finished handing over a valuable possession to a rude stranger, and was trying to put myself in a good mood. This guy Bennie comes out of nowhere - Wait. Let me catch you up...
That week, we had gone on a little road trip around the Oregon coast (really cool area). It was a camping trip, checking out some different state parks, hiking, etc. I will post some pictures. Anyway, we wound up at this park called Oswald West. Real cool. You hike down a little bit, there's camping, hike a little more and you're on a secluded beach. The established campsites were full; there were a few people on the beach. We decided to spend the day there. We strung up our hammocks and chilled out near the beach.
As the day was wrapping up and we were heading out, we found a pair of binoculars someone had left on the beach. They had a phone number on them, so I called it. The person that answered worked for the parks department, and she was jerking me around a little bit about what to do with them. I was saying, "oh yea i'll hide them behind the third bush to the right of the NO FIREWORKS sign.." or something like that and the lady was just shooting down my ideas! She was basically trying to tell me that they weren't going to come out and pick them up at all, but they wanted them back. She asked me if they were an expesive pair. I told her I had no idea what they cost, but whoever wrote the phone number on them must've wanted them back...
So we decide that I will take the binoculars to Portland, and get in touch with the park people when I'm there, as the are more inclined to pick them up in the city. Cool. I am a good samaritan.
Only trouble is- binoculars arre awesome! I was looking at all kinds of stuff with them. When we got back into Portland, Coach and I went to a little tea shop for a pot of Chai. I brought the binocs, and tried to call the park people. Apparently the park people have very demanding schedules and can't be bothered to come pick up their shit. So I enjoyed my time with them. I picked them up and aimed at the apartment building across the street from the tea lounge. No joke, the first person I see is a woman with no pants on! She's out on her balcony, hanging up bathmats or something, and she's a real big girl, with no pants! She had some real big shiny undies on though.
She was not the last girl I looked at with binoculars.
Now, I'm at the farmer's market, waiting for park person to meet me there. I have the binocs. I've been people watching with them for a couple days now, and at this point I like them a lot. They have become a part of me. So the park lady shows up and she shows no sign of gratitude as I hand her the binocs. As soon as she has them she is off, disappeared. She must be busy. So I quickly realize that my natural eyesight is no equivalent to the binocs, and I am a little sad they are gone.
I try to let them go, and cheer myself up. I smile at the next stranger that I see. He smiles back. He takes two more steps, pauses, and visibly makes the decision to come over and say Hi.
This is Ben. He's maybe fifty years old, thin. Dressed in the kind of clothes little kids wear when their parents want them to look grown up. He has short, curly hair, glasses, patches of beard that threaten to take over his neck. Disheveled. Scattered. Excited. Friendly. I thought he came over to us looking for weed.
I can't even tell you where Ben started, but the topics he covered in the fifteen minutes that I knew him ran the gamut. Ben has a high IQ, and is overwhelmed by the beauty of life. He thinks Portland should not be nuked. He is on the way to return a library book, Jules and Jim. He is overwhelmed by the fact that our names, Josh and Jeremy, so closely resemble the title of that book. He is excited that the younger generation is being so proactive about changing the world. He is sick of people always trying to prove him wrong just because he has a high IQ. He says sometimes he gets into arguments just to prove people wrong. I ask, "Who do you try to prove wrong?" He quickly replies, "my MOTHER!!!"
I like to call him Bennie. Bennie smiles to himself. He slaps his legs when he laughs at the world. He thanks us for talking with him, repeatedly. He is on a mission to not let his nephew be controlled by his sister. He worries. He no longer thinks it's even likely that someone would nuke Portland. He just wants to watch the leaves change. All he wants to do is watch the leaves change. He gets calm, happy, introspective. He starts to get excited again. I pick up a pebble and toss it to him. He says "Thank you for the distraction!" And then he is on his way to the library, to return his book....