A boyfriend

The other day I remembered how in junior high, when boys and girls were “going out,” the boy would stand behind the girl in the hallway, bodies pressed together, facing out, holding hands in front. Just standing there, signalling their coupleness. Then I realized that I had a boyfriend along those lines. We stood like that. But I couldn’t remember one other detail about him.

Maybe he was tall?

Talking to me

An old woman at the grocery store was beaming at my toddler riding in the cart — a normal occurrence. He’s super cute. Then she looks at me: “Thanks for you,” she smiles. Because of Mother’s Day the day before? I just thanked her back and headed for the crackers.

Later that evening, I went for a walk down SE 7th, and decided to cross just south of Stark. No cars were coming, but I trotted across quickly because it’s a bit of a blind curve. I’d seen a man regarding his backpack curiously on the side of the street I’d just come from, and he yelled at me, “No need to hurry!” A nothing, just something to yell.

I’d just come from a networking event where a woman didn’t seem to be able to make small talk, and I’d wondered why she’d come. It’s okay not to talk, but what was her decision making process?

“I’ll just go”?

10-minute walk in East Portland

Another person leaving the Asian Market with a bag — he goes into a house right on the corner and pops the red gate shut.

A woman in colorful scarves and a preschooler. He hides behind a parked car, pops out and roars at her. She laughs, totally relaxed. I freak out when my five-year-old isn’t within arms’ reach of me on this street.

A short, stocky man, staggering a bit under a backpack. It’s hard to tell how much is his gait, and how much is the backpack’s weight. He shifts it a bit.

A couple, dressed casually, next to each other, chatting. The man walks in the street, says hello across the street to me. I say hi, worry about his attention not being on the car I hear coming up behind me.

A dude in running clothes, walking a very cute dog. The dog is sniffing a bush. “Come on,” running clothes dude chides softly. No one wants their dog to pee or poop right in front of a stranger if they can help it.

A woman in what I guess are intentionally tattered black leggings and tunic, smoking.

We could use some sidewalks.

For Luck

Eight years ago, in April, I was getting ready to play a roller derby game at Memorial Coliseum in Portland. That’s where the NBA team used to play. Now they play in the bigger arena next door.

I wasn’t the only one playing a game that day. The Blazers were playing a playoff game, too.

I’d checked the score on my Blackberry a couple of times, but we were down at least 20, and it was hard to get a signal in the basement locker rooms that smell like hockey pads. So I wrote off the Blazers. It was easy to do — lots of injuries and disappointments over the season and years. My own game needed my focus.

So I rolled out for my warmup, and after a couple of casual laps, saw someone sitting near the wall in a Blazers jersey. I stopped and showed him the Blazers wristband I was wearing over my wrist guard for luck. “So, what happened?” I asked, expecting a quick-but-friendly “yikes.”

He smiled. “We won.”

“WE WON?!”

“Brandon Roy scored 18 points in the fourth quarter.”

Is there a more pure joy than a miracle comeback — and getting the news while on roller skates?

What is that guy doing

A guy was standing on the sidewalk, in a puffy coat and knit beanie, holding something in his hand and looking toward a house. He seemed to be talking and gesturing, but I couldn’t see anyone else.

Hmm, I thought.

I didn’t have much to think about it, but I wondered if he belonged there.

But as I drove closer, I saw her. A woman, kneeling, ostensibly gardening, chatting back. Wearing a puffy coat and knit beanie.

They must’ve belonged to each other.

3 Gallons of Glass and a Christmas Cactus

The women in the locker room — most easily 20 years older than me at 39 — like to chat after water aerobics.

I set my broth — on Monday I made the turkey legs — out to cool. Then, from the other room, I heard this huge crash! I thought what in the world?! And would you believe it, my glass dining room table broke. I cleaned it all up — three gallons of glass — and called my neighbor. I said, “I need a drink!” We drank wine for hours.

Did you have something hot on it?

No! Just a little cloth and a Christmas cactus! You know, I went to my homeowners’ association on Wednesday, and they said this  happens. There are pictures on the internet.

I’m never going to buy a glass dining table now.

Portland winter

I woke up when my toddler forced me to, just like I do every other day. When I say every other day, I mean every two days, because for the most part I take turns with my husband.

While I poured the water over the coffee grounds, and the toddler puttered around, I felt a warmth and calm that doesn’t come around very often. “Wow,” I thought. “I’m happy.”

I was truly glad and content in the moment.

Eventually, the five-year-old got up, and he got a longer hug than usual. I made coffee for my husband and gave him a longer hug, too. “I’m happy,” I said.

An hour later, in the minivan headed to preschool, it hit me.

You dingdong. It’s sunny outside. That’s why you feel good.


Every time.