I took the light rail early Sunday morning so I could do a bit of grocery shopping. I saw three incidents which provide a fairly representative snapshot of life in the Portland metro area:
1. As I waited for the eastbound train to arrive, I watched a lady being dropped off so she could go to the airport. She was a sturdy, white-haired gal with one of those big rolling bags with a telescoping handle. From her questions, it was clear she had never gone to the airport this way before, but she was pretty cheerful about a challenge that makes a lot of people nervous. A nice older gent with a walking stick answered her questions and saw that she boarded safely. As we headed down the line, I saw him exit and I was a bit surprised to discover that he didn’t appear to know the woman; he just wanted to help her.
2. As we approached downtown Beaverton, I saw cops standing near temporary barriers, redirecting traffic away from a closed street. As the train made the next crossing, I saw a group of runners with race numbers on their singlets, chatting and waiting patiently for the train to pass so they could continue their race.
3. As we continued to Beaverton Transit Center, I saw a man slumped in his seat, with all his possessions piled around him. He woke up long enough to vomit on himself, then curled up again.
This is the real Portlandia, people, in all its glory.