Thursday, August 2, 2012

WILL: How does it? VIOLA: I don't know. It's a mystery.

You can't necessarily believe everything you hear from people on the Portland street. For example, the lady that angrily yells "I told you I wasn't interested in you!!!" repeatedly at trees near the PSU campus protests, I believe, too much. To me, she actually seems quite interested in the trees. So there's always the chance that the older woman we met last night while walking our dogs was padding her résumé when she told us she had been a revolutionary and a famous artist in Czechoslovakia. Or maybe something was just lost in translation. She did have a thick accent.

The dogs she was walking, she told us, were not hers. Vague "people in her building" employed her to watch their dogs. She seemed good with them, so we asked her how we would contact her if we ever wanted her to watch Clyde and Austin. Did she Facebook? No, no social networks.  You'll see me around, walking dogs, she said.

We talked about her art. She had a place east of 82nd-- in the so-called "other Portland"-- where she painted. Was it a gallery? Did she display her art there? Also vague. Hypothetically, if someone wanted to buy a piece of her art, where would they go?  Oh, around.  Because she didn't like it over there east of 82nd, but it was cheaper.  So she also had a place downtown.  The causality in these scenarios was quite confusing.

Then on to politics. Are you liberal? she asked us. Yes. Everyone from Texas is liberal, she informed us.  Not really, we said.  Well, everyone she knew from Texas was. No doubt they were...

She thought Communism had been a good idea, but she didn't like dictators, so she had been some sort of revolutionary in Czechoslavakia.  Also a famous artist, but she wasn't a good businessperson.  Evidenced, I suppose, by the fact that she apparently had two businesses here in Portland, but no real way of contacting either one that wasn't rooted in the way business was done by Gandalf the Grey: just kind of showing up when there was a need.

We tried again for contact information for her dog-walking operation.  Because turning our beloved dogs over to someone who either was a Communist former revolutionary and formerly famous-in-Czechoslavakia artist and current dog-walker with bad business judgment and a spotty memory or wasn't and was imagining herself to be these things seems like just the sort of great idea for which Montana and I are known. Oh, I'll be around when you need me, she said, and we could almost hear the bells ring.  So, that's how it was.  Less than a month into our new Portland lives, and we already had a Commie Godmother.

It all just works out, somehow, she said.  And you know what?  We'd started the evening at a happy hour listening to the starter-uppers of just-getting-started startup companies and successfully-started startup companies. They were graduates of the entrepreneurship program at the college where Montana is now working. They seemed OK, and the Commie dog-walker also seemed okay.  In Portland, maybe it does all just work out, somehow.

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Upside Down on Mars by Barry J. Cochran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.