Thursday, October 23, 2008

chapter 10: in which little christopher goes to lake oswego

so i had an interview for a job schedule with this employment agency yesterday morning. they called tuesday afternoon and asked if i wanted to interview, perhaps that day. i was like, "sure. i might could do that..." and the woman on the other end said, "great! well, our offices are in lake oswego..." and i said, "well... maybe it would be better if i come in wednesday then, since i'm so unfamiliar with that part of town."
lake oswego is a suburb pretty far south of portland, a place-name (how proustian no?) wrapped in mystery to me since all i knew of lake oswego was that it was a suburb and there was no way to walk there. but i made an appointment with this woman for ten o'clock the next morning. the transmission on booth's car is shot, so i decided i would have to find public transportation down there. the official website for public transportation here was no help; it could not find the address for my destination and so could not help figure out which bus i needed to take. but luckily, google is so smart these days, it will give you public transportation directions these days and then tell you how much money you're saving in gas! so i wrote down the bus numbers i'd need and carried on with my day, confident that if i left with plenty of time the next morning, i'd easily make to lake oswego on time.
i watched dexter with josh and a few of his friends at his apartment tuesday night. i drank a few beers there, and then when his friends left, josh and i, still parched after such prime-time excited, decided to get a drink at the local bar behind our apartment, the blue diamond. the blue diamond truly is a gem of a bar: smokey, not fancy in anyway, full of strange old men and women drinking whiskey or playing the slots. and furthermore, the bartender tells us great stories about all the regulars there and i'm swiftly falling in love with her. anyway, two beers, two whiskey and cokes, and then to top it all off, another beer, booth says i was drunk, and i really was fine, but i probably shouldn't have had that much to drink.
while i didn't feel as perky as i usually do when i wake up and drink a trough of coffee the next morning, i did promptly peel myself from the covers, shower, dress quickly, grab my rain slicker and head out the door.
my first mistake: i stopped by urban grind two blocks from the house for coffee on my way to the train to take me downtown. the coffee machine wasn't working and the barista was having to make americanos for everyone. it took forever. but i didn't want to be rude and just leave, so i waited patiently and told her i wish she would have a better day later. i arrived downtown on the train ("this is a blue line train to beaverton") at 8.30 and decided i still had plenty of time to make it to lake oswego by 10 since google maps predicted it would only take an hour.
i got off the train at 1st and madison (or morrison, i can't remember the train route right now) and started walking south toward the bus stop. when reading the directions i had i decided they told me to go to 3rd and some other road. but really they said to go to 1st and columbia, so i had to loop back. then i realized half way there i hadn't bought a train ticket, so i had to loop back and find a train platform to buy an all day ticket for $4.70. finally i arrived at SW 1st avenue and columbia. i saw the bus number i was looking for. it was 8.55, getting tight, but still plenty of time i thought. then i looked at the bus schedule, and here's my second mistake: the bus i needed to take south only ran during rush hour, so the last bus had run at 8.53 had stopped minutes before i arrived and did not run again until 2.30! i had a brake down. i swear i almost started crying there, at that corner, a block and a half away from the willamette river, in the heart of downtown portland.
i called the agency, explained that booth's car had lost its transmission and that i would not be able to come in that day. they thankfully let me reschedule for thursday, and i explained how embarrassed i was.
i walked home with a useless transportation pass (riding the trains and buses while downtown is free so i generally never have to pay for public transporation) and cold, weak americano.
my wireless adapter for my laptop stopped working that afternoon after our internet was finally installed. my face is all broken out because i'm so stressed out. and booth kept reminding me how fat i've become (jokingly of course). but he did tell me (which apparently he had while i was drunk tuesday night) that helen had offered to allow me to borrow her car to drive down to lake oswego.
so i did not drink that night. i read, and relaxed, and went to bed early under my electric blanket, which happens to be my best friend. i woke up earlier this morning than yesterday. i showered and called helen's boyfriend garrett to ask if i could borrow their car. he gratefully acquiesced so i allowed myself around hour to prepare myself, make myself look nice, make coffee, eat breakfast, read the new york times, feel smart and awake. i walked to garrett's place around nine feeling fine.
and then: driving in portland. first of all, i don't like driving other people's cars; it makes me nervous. second, i haven't had to drive in three weeks since i arrived here, and i've only driven once in the city of portland, so that made me nervous as well. i couldn't find the entrance to i-5 from se morrison, so i went all the way up to ne sandy like the directions said to try to find the westbound entrance to i-84, which was nearly impossible. then suddenly i found myself in the midst of portland's rush hour traffic, which wasn't so bad, so still a little scary. some jackass almost hit me from behind as i passed the city center on i-5 and headed south toward lake oswego.
i made okay, and on time. i filled out their application. i watched a dumb video on sexual harrassment. i interviewed with the exceedingly upbeat but friendly woman only to have the interviewer say to me, "well, you really don't have the qualifications they were looking for. they were really looking for someone with direct experience as a teller, but you only have experience in a credit union. so we'll call you if they go for that." she was nice and said she'd try to help me find something i would hopefully like better anyway, but i was still a little put off that i drove all that way, went through all that trouble to have her say that to me.
and thus, another week passes in portland.

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