Sending Love West – Remembering My First Day In Oregon

Rockaway Park, September 15th, 2020

I am thinking of my friends out West and of all those who have lost their lives, homes, livelihoods this week. I toured in the Pacific North West  in the winter of 2015. Never before or since have I been so consistently bowled over by the kindness of strangers. Below is a piece I wrote after my first day in Oregon. This was only the first day. The things I remember most about my entire tour there are kindness and the massive trees. Such kind people, such beautiful, beautiful trees.

Kindness of Strangers – Example No. 437, 864

( Original Post from Feb 12th, 2015)

The hipster girl waiting for a bus, the old guy who asks if I am from the British isles, the barman at the Penguin are all eager to help. Each offers very considered and detailed directions. Which I sort of listened to. Too busy thinking, this person is so nice, they know where I want to go, I will get there, that I don’t really listen. I always do this. When you are carrying a guitar on your back, a backpack on your front and receiving directions in the rain, may I humbly advise my future self, listen.

Upon the realisation that I had failed to heed the advice of the barman at the Penguin, I backtracked over the highway to admit defeat and ask them to call me a cab. They are having none of it. No, don’t get a taxi, it will take too long and cost too much. Take the 70 bus. The same bus that earlier tricked me by going on a slightly different route that didn’t include the stop I needed. ( At least, that was my excuse.)

So for the second time in an hour, I leave the Penguin and for the third time in two hours, I find myself waiting for the 70 bus. I am partly pissed off with myself and partly amused by my consistency. I wait about 90 seconds when a minivan pulls up beside me and a voice emmerges, “I’ll take you.”

I have in my day, seen TV and read the paper, and I am obsessed by crime dramas, so I knew it was perfectly safe to get in a cluttered minivan, with an eavesdropping stranger from the Penguin Bar and have him drive me to an unknown location. And, don’t try this at home folks, but I was right. Thank you Sid for spotting my inability to take direction and for shepherding me to my shelter.

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