On a street corner in downtown Portland yesterday, I was approached by a young man wearing jeans and a well-worn jacket. Pleadingly he asked, “Is she still down there? Down by the food carts?” He tossed a pointed finger in the direction of a food cart pod on SW 3rd Avenue. I quickly scanned some possibilities for who “she” might be. His dog? His daughter? His dealer? But I did not ask. Attempting to connect to his moment of need and urgency, I looked into his eyes and said, “I don’t know.” With solemn gratitude he looked at me and said, “OK, thanks,” and walked away toward the pod. I suppose it was an honest interaction on my part, even though I did not know the whole story. And I freely chose not to engage with him further, which was probably for the best. But for a long time I will wonder who she was and whether he found her.


4 responses to “Question

  1. You are so very sweet to connect with this troubled man in such a genuine way that appeared to really help him! That was a beautiful little story. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tim! Don’t know if I helped, but it was definitely a moment I will remember.

      • I’m definitely looking forward to your next beautiful Noticing SW Portland blog entry! You find the most interesting things on your explorations! It’s still a VERY much unknown neighborhood, even to most Portlanders!

        One of hundreds of such places is Maplewood Coffee & Tea, at 5206 SW Custer St, which is found by following a really long, increasingly beautiful curve along Maplewood Rd from the SW corner of Gabriel Park. The setting for that cafe could not be more quaint, and the block of Custer stretching west under the tree canopy seems to disappear into the endless hills stretching south and west. It’s like a perfect little piece of Vermont, less than a mile from Multnomah Village!

  2. Oops–SW is a vast *collection* neighborhoods! It invites endless exploration, and I’m always super excited to learn about even MORE cool places from you that I had never realized were there! 🙂


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