I have to admit, there are things I was not expecting when I started this project. Bad weather? Sure; it’s rainy and gloomy in Portland and most people don’t want to go outside.
However, I was not counting on a snowstorm hitting the city and shutting it down for a day. The question quickly arose: how dedicated to this project am I? Pretty dedicated honestly; I intend on doing this for the next year, even if it means I have to budget for my drinks.
But. I do not dig on the idea of risking my skin in order to make a blogpost. The roads are all icy and hazardous, and Portland is not a city that really prepares for weather like this. If I was living in Spokane this wouldn’t be an issue to me, because the city prepares for winter-it has to.
In addition to the ice, there are also wind gusts, up to thirty-five miles per hour. So what’s a writer-noir-detective to do?
Fortunately the city solves this problem for me. While Portland may not prepare for winter very well, it does prepare for drinkers everywhere. So I’ve walked to the Tanker Bar, breaking out a winter coat that hasn’t seen sunlight in four years, a hood that hasn’t touched my head in two, and jeans that are not nearly thick enough to keep out the cold. With the wind chill, an extra layer on my legs would be welcome.
In Spokane, I wasn’t quite so timid when it came to the winter conditions. I had long underwear, gloves that made my hands look like gorilla paws, and a city that knew how to deal with things when the weather went into the blue on the thermostat. That doesn’t happen in Portland; everyone gets a little weird and a bit stir crazy, as though they are suddenly trapped in their houses.
In addition, when it snowed yesterday the city was covered in a quiet blanket that made everything beautiful in a way that only a city that has snow can enjoy. I frequently stopped what I was doing just to look outside to see the tumultuous wind throw pudgy snowflakes around; chaos magic in action.
The Tanker exudes a stronger commoner vibe; cigarette smoke lingers from last night, popcorn from a machine that probably had its first life in a movie theater in the 70’s. and three slow moving fans right out of the movie Casablanca. The ceiling is roundned and paneled in wood, coupled with the dim dome lights, it feels like the 1970’s but cool. I like it here. When the jukebox is on, I get to listen to Rocket from the Crypt and Pelican. When it isn’t, the lights are kept low so you can watch Monday Night Football.
And because this is Portland, so the selection of beers isn’t quite the pedantic grouping you might think it is. Ninkasi dominates my choices-three beers from them-and Widmer’s Brrr, the winter ale from them. It finishes with a pine touched spiciness, but because it’s Widmer and is a beer they’ve bottled it has the malt presence that keeps the beer from being so adventurous that non-aficionados will still enjoy the beer.
The football game is about to start, and while I enjoy the game, it’s time to go home. I can see the wind has picked up, and over my right shoulder the sky is dark, over the left it’s a deep emerald fading quickly into night.