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.