I started out at the Central Library, where I've been doing research after work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (those are the nights that they're open until 8pm). This doesn't actually pertain to the walking report, but has anyone else noticed the Homeless Hackerz that hang out at the Library? These guys have laptops, and grab books on coding, but then they also have big frame backpacks with - what I presume - is all of their worldly belongings. These guys are in the Library pretty much every time I go there. It's a little community; when I'm being gracious I like to assume that they're a roving band of heroes, traveling from town to town like modern day minstrels, improving the Internet and fighting for freedoms. Maybe they are exchange students or travelers.
Anyway, on my way out of the Library, I realized that I'd like to buy a wire-bound notebook so I could take down some notes in a non-digital fashion. The Library store was still open, so I stopped in there, but the cheapest thing that they had was Moleskin. I wanted something standard issue for a high school student, something that might cost two or three bucks and provided a larger writing surface. I decided to walk down to the Rite Aid on Alder at Sixth and pick one up.
At the entrance to Rite Aid was the ubiquitous hippie gutter punk. These guys drive me out of my mind; they're capable people who make a bad name for the emotionally/socially/psychologically-challenged actual homeless people that hang out down town. The guy hanging out at the entrance was a new guy, who looked way too tidy to be sitting on the sidewalk. Maybe he was doing something for a Sociology class at Reed? Nah, Reed kids usually don't end up making it all the way downtown. I digress, because otherwise I'll start ranting about obnoxious not-really-homeless street kids like S. Renee Mitchell. I really have no room to talk.
Anyway, Rite Aid had no notebooks. Seriously, there was not an 8.5" x 11" wire bound college rule to be found. Don't school/college kids use these anymore? I'm getting old, I don't know anymore. They had wire steno notebooks, but since I don't know how to write shorthand, I declined. I left without buying anything, which always makes me think that the loss prevention crew expects that I am shoplifting. I wasn't.
I left there racking my brain, thinking of where else I might be able to purchase a notebook. The smoke shop on 4th Ave was out of the question. I didn't consider Peterson's. I kept thinking. Why doesn't Stumptown sell notebooks and sketchbooks? Wouldn't that make sense to do? Maybe they could even sell pens? That's a free idea for the proprietors of Stumptown. Maybe they already sell these things, I didn't check. I ended up buying a (non-wired) steno pad at the Plaid Pantry on MLK and Burnside. I think that the clerk is/was a meth addict judging from the sores.
There were a lot of corporate douchebags out tonight. Excuse me, corporate goons - I'm thinking that "douchebag" is becoming a little over-used. These are the kind of guys that travel all abreast on the sidewalk, oblivious to others (unless they're a foxy lady) and laughing loud with mildly absent and mean-spirited grins on their faces. Probably talking about golf.
The drug dealers on the east side of 4th between Washington and Stark were all on the west side. I took the east side. No one offered me anything. The former site of Veganopolis has still not yet been rented out, and still suggests people to try the vegan meals at the Ethiopian place next door.
The street kids with the tired and lame "Fishing for Change" improvised fishing pole and change cup weren't out tonight in front of Voodoo Donuts. I've taken to wearing my mp3 player while I walk lately (after a four month hiatus), so I didn't hear anyone if they spare-changed me. I'm pretty sure I saw spurts of blood on the sidewalk at Third and Burnside. No one was sleeping on the southwest side of the Burnside Bridge. I saw a guy taking pictures of either downtown or the "Made In Oregon" sign at the mid-point of the bridge, which has become an increasingly common sight when crossing the bridge. Are a bunch of photography projects due, or does someone want to add "Portland, Oregon, at night" to their flickr account? I have no idea.