Not long ago I was in Portland, Oregon for a family wedding. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, while I find family wonderful, I want to be off on my own and away from good meaning, if sometimes overly protective eyes.
On this trip I was the lone member of my immediate family, my parents, brother and husband having stayed in San Diego due to prior commitments and responsibilities. This left me alone with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I come form a large, loud family and everyone has an opinion and isn’t afraid to share it. I’m sure people love it when we role into town.
It doesn’t help that I am the only girl in a family of boys and therefore am sometimes subject to loving, if unnecessary, over protective instincts. I have gone to Europe by myself, am married and own a home, but when with my family, I am 12. So you can see how this could get a little cloying and claustrophobic.
It was one of the hottest days of the summer in Portland, well over 95 degrees, and our little family group had been wandering all over downtown in a large, loud bickering group. Knowing that I had an appointment in 2 hours in the same area, I told them to explore the city without me, so that I wasn’t late for my appointment (appointment was an adventure unto itself and will be posted about later). Liberated, I used this as a chance to explore Portlands downtown and Chinatown area.
I wandered the blocks, happily ducking into little shops and chatting with people in coffee shops. I crossed the street looking for a famous donut shop in the area and decided that I needed a break in the shade and I would call my Mom to fill her in on the day. Finding a big block of shade on the block while looking down at my phone, I leaned against the wall under the awning and chatted with my Mom.
This block was packed as the line from this shop grew and grew. I am a fan of donuts, but waiting in the hot sun for over an hour for a donut is just not something that I could bring myself to do. I was telling my mom about this massive line when a gentleman walked up to me and handed me his drivers license.
Startled, and thinking “why is this guy handing this to me?’ I looked up, smiled and gave it back, all the while never stopping the phone conversation. A moment later another guy gave me his license and I said, “Cool, you’re from Washington” and handed it back to him.
“What?”, my Mom asked, because Washington was in no way the correct response to our conversation.
“Sorry Mom, its just that 2 guys have handed me their drivers licenses for no reason, so I handed them back. The last one was from Washington.”
“Why would they hand you their licenses?”, she asked.
“No, idea”, I replied, looking back down at the sidewalk. I propped one foot up against the wall and noticed that the area near my foot had been painted like a castle or a wall.
“Huh, ok…tell me about whats happening with your aunt”, my mom continued, unfazed by the odd conversational turn.
I started talking again when another guy walked by and handed me his license. I looked at him, gave it back and then said,”Mom, I have to go. This keeps happening and I don’t know why.”
“Does the donut shop serve alcohol?”, she asked.
“Not that I’m aware of,” I replied as another guy handed me his license,” I’ve got to go”.
I handed the guy back his license, hung up with my Mom and looked to my left and my right. Nothing looked odd and the donut line was still long, but the guys who had given me their licenses were not in the line. Disappearing into thin air seemed unlikely so, where did they go?
Remembering the castle like paint near my foot, I slowly walked out to the street to look at the awning I was standing under. As the words came into view I slowly see an anime, Sailor Moon-like girl in a thong on a huge banner. I realize that I am standing at an adult entertainment store!
Apparently I was standing directly in between these two landmarks
Apparently, I was being mistaken for the ID checker for this establishment. I started giggling, because how in the world had I missed all this? It was an old movie theatre converted into a an adult entertainment venue and I was completely oblivious.
Maybe I need that family supervision after all.