Saturday, June 2, 2012

Drowning Our Troubles At The Brewery

Burnside Brewery Goddess Molly Fox
Dave called me on his new Mobile Cellular Telephone the other day while he was on a walk and I was home writing. I was at that crucial stage between picking at my hair and looking out the window--that golden moment that comes just before bailing out on getting anything written down at all. And he said he was three miles away from the Burnside Brewery. Which meant if we both started walking in that direction, we'd get there at the same time. To add to the serendipity, the Burnside Brewery--unlike other random places equidistant from both of us at that moment--serves up an India Pale Ale that'll put hair on your esophagus and then comb it all the way down. You throw that much serendipity at a girl and she'd be a plumb fool to turn it down. It would be an insult to the universe.

So off I went. It looked like it might could rain; in other words, it was a normal evening. Nothing to put on rain gear for. Walking is very helpful for my writing. In a good walk I can come up with all sorts of turns of phrase and plot points and such that are polished into brilliance later by my inability to recall them. Portland is noted for its rainfall but it isn't a very big deal. Most of the time it's like fog with punctuation. Sometimes it assembles itself into raindrops but a lot of times it's just moist enough to make an old lady's face-fur gleam like fiber optics.

We settled into a booth at the Burnside Brewery. The booths were elevated on a little platform. I've always been drawn to booths. When I was younger they seemed more canoodly. Now they just make it easier for us to hear each other. We sat on the same side to make it easier yet, and watched Saturday evening unfold outside. First Marilyn Monroe went by accompanied by a generic zombie princess. More zombies followed, interspersed with young people expressing their individuality in their arrangements of clothing that is either ripped or stripey or both. There might have been a zombie event in the vicinity or it might have just been the overflow from Voodoo Donuts on NE Davis meeting the overflow from Voodoo Donuts on SW Third. At any rate, a good time was being had by all, as required. Then came a little ripple of thunder.

Where I grew up, there was a thunderstorm every summer afternoon at four o'clock. That is either true, or it is a tidy memory-packet I've assembled for my nostalgia kit based on a single week in 1968. At any rate, it was not unusual, as it is here. Here in Portland thunder is attended with flying eyebrows of surprise, and, in a public place such as the Burnside Brewery, applause. The air thickened abruptly. Soon the polite smokers hunched under their hoodies at the far end of the parking lot began to stream ominously into the building. Then the parking lot disappeared. The sky dropped a single raindrop a mile wide. The picture window grew a vertical river, in spite of being under wide eaves. Dave and I were so entertained by the scene that it took a while to notice bobbing tables beginning to accumulate in our peripheral vision. We glanced down from our platform to observe that the diners at tables were polishing off their beers with their feet off the floor. An army of wait staff began aerobic floor-squeegeeing. Bright yellow sandwich boards reading "CAUTION: WET FLOOR" floated informatively by. The bar split in two with the bow end sticking straight up before sliding into the sea. A pair of giraffes poked inquisitive noses into the front door. I don't blame them. Noah probably didn't serve a good IPA.

We got 1.02 inches of rain in an hour.  It makes sense. We average 2.5 inches for the month of May, but it had been oddly sunny a lot of the month. We didn't have much time to make up the difference, so down it came. We're a fun-loving bunch, but we're not anarchists. Not most of us, anyway.

66 comments:

  1. Well, so much for dry humour in Portland.

    Darned inconvenient to have a flood when all you wanted to do was to go out for a quiet beer and chat with your hubby. There should be a law against that. Not against time with husband, but floods during time with husband. No floods during "canoodly" stuff. Unless you've got a canoe in brewery during the flood.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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    1. At least floods that don't reach your nostrils are entertaining. What's a "quiet beer?"

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  2. Why do I feel there is more to the story? Or maybe I just don't want your hilarious repartee to end!

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    1. We walked home and not another drop fell. I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but my timing has been superb all my life.

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  3. Seems the previous owners knew what they were doing by installing elevated booths. But the key question remains... did the wait staff keep your glasses full?

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    1. And sandwiches dry. It looked like the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice scene in Fantasia in there, but those folks were ON it.

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    2. That conjures up the perfect picture.

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  4. See, I was just about to comment about how much, as a short person, I hate booths. But now I will have to rethink that, considering that the seats could probably be ripped off and used as flotation devices.

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    1. You're a genius.

      How short ARE you? I'm short, but I never noticed a problem with the booths. Except that it's harder to swing my feet.

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    2. 4'10 1/2" - I always have to tuck my feet under me in order to properly reach the table at booths.

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    3. Well, you'd have towered over my sister. I hear you on the 1/2". I have a 3/4" on my height and I can't bring myself to round up, but I'll be damned if I'll round down. Unless, of course, I DO round down.

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  5. You remember correctly, by the way. Every single weekend in the summer, Larry and I have the same conversation, with only some details changed:

    Me: Are you taking the kids to the pool (concert, whatever) tomorrow?

    Larry: The paper says chance of thunderstorms.

    Me: YES! It says that EVERY SINGLE DAY in the summer. You don't have to cancel all your plans for a late afternoon thundershower. The rest of the day, it is sunny and hot.

    Larry: Well, it SAYS it is going to rain, right here. And why are you banging your head on the table again?

    Just to lessen the pain, honey, that's all...

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    1. We can tell newbies here by the fact that they won't go hiking if it calls for rain. So you're a D.C. suburban correspondent?

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  6. That looks like an IPA I could sink my teeth into. Hearty! I heard about your rainstorm, even all the way up here by the Canadian border... but now I've really experienced it, thanks to your graphic description.

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    1. Supposedly it was .01" off tying the record for the most rain in an hour. I never even told you about the bathroom, with the smiling gent with the bucket standing in 3" of water telling me to be careful because the floor was wet.

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  7. We moved to North Bend when I was around five and a couple months. One day about a year and a half later we actually saw the sun and everyone ran screaming into their houses. If we got less than sixty inches of rain per year it was considered a drought. I was there during the Columbus day storm of 1962, wind was recorded somewhere around 140 mph before it blew the gauge away. Ah, the good old days !

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    1. Those days were before my time. Not my time on earth, but in the Pacific Northwest. But Dave sure remembers the Columbus day storm. Hey, North Bend! Isn't that the instant death zone for tsunamis, too? One road out with no elevation...

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    2. I hab done been corrected. It's South Bend that is the death zone for tsunamis. South Bend is, of course, north of North Bend.

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    3. Simon Nicol - me again...June 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

      Which reminds me that North Parade, in Oxford is actually about 300 yards south of South Parade on the Woodstock road in Oxford. (England, scene of current Jubilee stuff in seasonal drizzle.)
      FFS: WHY?
      Simple.
      During the CIvil War (ours!), the frontline crossed the said road, and the Royalists defending Charles the First had their backs to the city behind them while the Cavalier forces of Cromwell's republicanism attacked them from the north.
      The battle line was drawn, and at musket range, Cromwell had his South Parade, north of Charles' North Parade.
      'Tsimples!

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    4. You had a Civil War? I'll bet it was more civil at that. The things I learn.

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  8. We had a very dry May here. Yesterday it rained, and, as you say, tried to make up for the shortage in one day. There were photos on the news of rain water in Union Station in Toronto running like a waterfall down the steps. Part of the system had to be closed down. I don't know what they expect....you drill holes in the ground under your city and then express amazement when they fill up with water during a rainstorm????

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    1. Wow--that was an awfully wide cloud if it got all the way to Toronto!

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  9. "just moist enough to make an old lady's face-fur gleam like fiber optics"

    OMG.....I just spit coffee on the MacBook screen!

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    1. Coffee is good for MacBooks. Haven't you heard of "waking up your computer?"

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  10. Gee, Murr...did you guys ever get home? I hate when you leave us hanging off the cliff like that.
    BTW.."fog with punctuation" is going right into my Brilliant-Things-I-Wish-I'd-Said-First notebook.

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    1. I haven't had any coffee yet, so if you say it really soon, maybe you could be first. Hey y'all, I don't know why Linda hasn't written in her blog since last year, but the post that's up there is a riot for a language lover. Keep writing, Linda.

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  11. Making this horrible weather we're having funny takes real genius. You made me wish I were there to enjoy all that exciting rain.

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    1. Reminds me. Washington D.C. was due for a tornado yesterday. Did it happen?

      I actually love this weather. Most weather. The only time you'll hear me whine (and you'll be able to hear it from there) is when it's hot and humid. Or even just hot.

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  12. We got hit with a rain like that last Saturday, just before the outdoor baseball game was to begin. Soaked to the skin. Went home, dried off, followed the game via the internet. You do have good timing.

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    1. Whaa? You got rained out but the game didn't?

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  13. So funny! :)
    BTW-if you had one of those cell phones with a keyboard you could write down your brilliant ideas on your walk. Or just take a pen and small notebook that would fit on your pocket. ;)
    I love a good thunderstorm!

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    1. Hey. I DO have one of those cell phones with a keyboard. Do I send it to myself? I'm not used to these things. I did get the brilliant idea of sending Dave a picture of something I saw on my walk so I got out my camera and took it, and then remembered I couldn't get it from my camera into my phone. Then I took it with my phone. I am not efficient.

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  14. Yikes! You're channeling the east coast again! Yesterday, the DC area got hit by a front that originally stretched from New Orleans to Detroit. Starting at 3 PM, we got pelted by numerous bands of storms: thunder, lightning, high winds complete with tornado watches, 2 inches of rain per hour!!! My rec room began to leak around 6 PM, I was up until 3 AM mopping, and listening to the neighbor's cat crying from the top of a tree next door where it was stuck. Oh, and the storms also took out my local cell tower, so I couldn't text or call anyone for help or sympathy. Definitely not my favorite way to spend a Friday night! Being marooned in a brewpub sounds like heaven by comparison...Elaine M.

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    1. By comparison? Being marooned in a good brewpub is the very definition of heaven. Glad you're okay, Elaine. Oh, just hearing "rec room"--and if you'd added "screen porch"--it sends me back to Ole Virginny.

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  15. We'd a half inch of rain this morning. I have one dog dish with straight sides that doubles as a rain gauge.

    It was wonderful to wake up to the sound of rain. An inch of rain in an hour is a bit much.

    I take it from the top photo that Molly was wearing a low cut dress with superb decolletage?

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    1. Well you're taking it a little farther than I let on, but yes, if you must know, there are (as Dave puts it) no mistakes on Molly Fox.

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  16. Can't get past the "dry humour from Portland" quip in the first comment!;-)

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    1. I was trying to get past it, dinahmow, but you're right. Can't do it.

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  17. "That is either true, or it is a tidy memory-packet I've assembled for my nostalgia kit based on a single week in 1968."

    What a great description! I know the feeling. However, since there is usually no one around to contradict me, I don't mind if my memories aren't 100% accurate.

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    1. Seriously. I really don't know what I remember, what someone else told me I should remember, what I've reconstructed from the only remaining photographs, what. I am living in the Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Which is, I guess, why rain doesn't bother me.

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  18. Yeah, it rains here, too. Tell me more about the brewery goddesses!

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    1. Maybe you're due for a visit, Jono? We've got scores.

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  19. "In a good walk I can come up with all sorts of turns of phrase and plot points and such that are polished into brilliance later by my inability to recall them." Oh how I love this...and several other extremely choice phrases in this posting! My husband even came upstairs to find out why I was laughing so hard - I must have been pretty loud for him to hear from way down there. Thanks, Murr, for the most fun I've had all day.

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    1. Oh you're entirely welcome! Although when I read things like "most fun I've had all day" I do find myself wishing, on your behalf, that it was earlier in the day.

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  20. Ah, this was fine, Murr. I loved the image of the non-boothians lifting their feet and carrying on drinking. The old lady face hair fibre optics was superb too, although as I'm edging ever closer to that reality, I winced a bit.

    That rain drop must have been a continent wide: we got a hefty deluge yesterday too--hallelujah, cried the gardeners and farmers. We hadn't had rain to speak of for over a month so the earth just drank it in like your pale ale and the trees waved their arms in ecstasy--except, as mbj/D noted, for Toronto 2 hours southwest of us where commuters were forced to roll up their pant legs and complain loudly on CBC news.

    It is raining again tonight. Life is good.

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    1. Two hours southwest? Are you on the north pole?

      (Have I ever mentioned I'm geographically challenged?)

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    2. Oh heck, nowhere near it. At the start of the Canadian Shield though. There is a lot of Ontario; I'm tucked in the south central part, in one of the lake districts.

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  21. "It looked like the Mickey Mouse Sorcerer's Apprentice scene in Fantasia in there, but those folks were ON it."
    That should have been part of the blog! Such a scene to picture in your mind!

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    1. I tinkered with adding a video of that scene at the end, but I'm just glad you remember it.

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  22. The bulk of the 1.02" fell in about 35 minutes, a deluge that would have had me dancing with excitement were I watching it – but I was ensconced in a movie theater, watching a film I'd have gladly traded the thunderstorm for.

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  23. Hey Murr! I must confess I'm not much of a drinker, but I'd walk a mile or more for a decent dark mild. Got anything like that there? Dammit, now I'm all thirsty. Perhaps I'll thumb a lift from an ark? Indigo x

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    1. Um. A dark mild what now? If the ark passes you by, hop a unicorn.

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  24. Hi! I think thunder, India Pale Ale and Molly the Goddess make excellent plot points. No need to write them down, it almost writes its own story.

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    1. It's the Posterator:
      Embarrassing childhood moment. Otter poop. Republicans. GO.

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  25. MMmmmmm. IPA.
    I'm liking Dig right now, but it may have as much to do with the funky red sneakers and shovel on the label. Did I just admit that out loud?
    Still, yummmmm...beeeeeer.

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    1. Well, I *thought* it was an IPA. Turns out it's just a PA. That's what you get for judging a beer by it's label.
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-HR6cYeJq6yA/TsQZO1MUrTI/AAAAAAAAFGI/mdrK579UIks/s1600/nbb-dig.jpg

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    2. Ack! It's all about the red sneakers and the shovel. New Belgium?Spring Seasonal? Sounds wheaty, not hoppy. But I'm glad you're hoppy with it.

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  26. We love booths for the same reason - easier to carrier on a conversation when we're not having to repeat everything 3 and 4 times. Ha.
    Great blog!

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    1. I won't say we don't still have to repeat everything three or four times. I could say it, but I won't.

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  27. I remember on my one visit to the USA and Canada being caught in a thunderstorm. The van I was in had to stop. The whole sky became a network of lightning flashes. The amount of water that fell at once was unbelievable. Since then (the 1970s) we have begun to get more storms like this here in the UK - but without the spectacular lightning so far. Trouble is, our infrastructure is not geared up for it yet.

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    1. What infrastructure? Pull to the side of the road and keep the rubber side down! I imagine we'll all get everyone else's weather before long.

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    2. It's just that no-one built houses here with floods in mind. There are whole estates built on flood plains that are nigh-on uninsurable now, as they keep getting flooded. (Fortunately we are well out of trouble here).

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    3. Sounds like Florida. The whole state is a foot tall. I don't know how they're working it.

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  28. Oh, and thanks for visiting my blog! :)

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