Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Mother's Day weekend of 1984, I stayed over at a small apartment in downtown Lake Oswego.

My mother was living there temporarily with my brother, while she waited for the lease to run out on the house she owned a few miles away.

She had been renting out the house, while we all lived with her boyfriend in Dunthorpe, but that whole arrangement had gone slowly south, and now my mother and my brother were here in a dumpy little rental, while I stayed on with the boyfriend and his cat and one of his daughters.

It was an odd time of flux.

I was just over sixteen and weary of change.

I liked the house.

The cat was fine.

The boyfriend was teaching me to cook in a more sophisticated way than my own family had.

My mother was away at her army reserve weekend, and I was staying at her tiny apartment, writing a paper on Marx, seated cross legged in front of an Ethan Allen coffee table that was way out of scale for the room.

I know this, because there is a snapshot of me, hard at work, with a severe bi level haircut, long swoopy forelock across half my face.

The photo was snapped by the older daughter of the boyfriend that was living here and there and occasionally with my mother.

In the photo, I am wearing a frayed Brooks Brother's oxford, with the sleeves cut off at the elbows, a blue sweater vest, and enormous silver moon earrings, and I have about 6" of silver bangles on my left arm.

I have on blood red lipstick and a great deal of green eyeshadow.

I look like a child playing dress up.

I am making a face my mother would call a frown, and that would be called resting bitch face, today.

At some point in the evening my friend Chris phoned to say he was coming over.

As it turned over he was coming over by freight train, from downtown, which was a thing that you used to be able to do back then, hitching a train from downtown to Lake Oswego.

It was a very dirty and dangerous thing that we used to do.

He arrived covered in soot, with a fellow I didn't know, named Colin.

My friend Dom worked a few blocks away at a Chinese diner, at the time, waitressing.

I called the diner and asked her to come over.

We all decided to walk up to meet her halfway.

The fellows were absolutely filthy, so I suggested cleaning up.

Chris adamantly refused, due to some attachment to either his leather jacket, or the notion of cleaning up being an affront to punk rock.

I went to work looking for something clean to put on Colin and in my search, came across our mouse costume.

My mother made the costume for me in 6th grade, out of pinstripe flannel, but because I had shunned food for several years, it still fit.

Colin put the mouse costume on, because it seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time, and we all set out to meet Dom after work.

One soot covered leather jacketed boy

One in a mouse costume

And me.

We met Dom and she suggested getting beer.

I am now and was then very risk adverse, so the notion of procuring beer made me queasy, so we split up, with Chris and Dom heading out to shoulder tap, while I went back to the apartment with Colin to wait.

We waited, and waited and waited and waited.

We waited a very long time.

Eventually hours later they returned with beer.

It turns out they had walked to the 7-11, followed by a stray dog.

As they sat in the parking lot waiting for someone to buy them beer, the owner of the dog showed up.


He was so happy to have his dog back that he bought them beer and offered them a ride back to my place.

He just had to make one stop along the way.

The one stop turned out to be at his drug dealer's place.

They thought it would be a in and out type of deal, but the drug dealer was getting a haircut in his kitchen from his sister, and it took a while.

Eventually the dog guy did make good on his promise and drove them back to the apartment.

At that point it was very late and we realized that there was no real food in the house.

Chris set about pouring all of the condiments into a frying pan and mixing them together and eating them.

A sort of giant mustard and pickle omelet.

There rest of us sort of lost our appetites after that.

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