En route home from the PNWHC, stretch of 99 on my way home-
(My visit to the conference was wonderful. I arrived late on purpose, too late as it turned out. I only made it in because someone who knew me was at the door.
‘Registration ended at 8!’ She said.
Sorry about that.
‘You’re lucky I know you,’ she cheerfully scolded me, ‘otherwise you might not get in.’
Thank you, I said, I’m sorry I was so late.
And there were good beers and bad beers and everyone was excited to talk to one another about how they did what they did. I kept my pours short, my drinks to a minimum and thanked everyone before I got on I-5 to go home. All was well, the OMSI exit to the bridge, the loop were I can see the businesses beneath the bridge, a brief dose of vertigo when I recognize that I am not on the ground, I have two more turns to get to 99 where I am no longer on the floating skyways and after the lights and into my final path home)
-I see the figure on my right. Hooded in black, stooped over, either from the weight of time or life or both, headlights hitting the sneakers which bounce back a white glow and
“Oh my goodness!”
I seem to swear less when I am sadly aghast.
“Oh my goodness!”
This person is walking on the shoulder under the Ross Island bridge, next to traffic moving at 50 miles per hour (minimum!) and they are alone.
And I don’t know what to do. I want to help. I don’t know if I can help.
I can’t help. Pulling over here would put me and whomever is behind me at risk. Everything is going so fast, the possibility of creating a fuckup from which I cannot recover is so great that stopping to help here is too dangerous.
So I keep going. And I worry. I feel burdened; here it is, a situation where I could’ve done more and I didn’t. I don’t know how to make that choice-something I’m still pretty sure was right-feel good.
A lego clicks in me: This is why I wanted to be a superhero. Because I could have the chance to save people without risking other lives.
So we come to get a Pono IPA. There’s not much nose on it but I don’t blame the beer for that. The pour didn’t allow for any head on the beer; how can you get any aroma if it isn’t given a chance to exist?
The beer itself hits the pineapple notes hard, sweetly so at first, then with the tartness near the end. The finishing bitterness is pretty sharp, reminiscent of pineapple cut too close to the rind. That acrid-ish bite that tells you you shouldn’t go any further.
I suppose this is coming from that NE style of IPAs-in the dim light it looks awfully durn purdy, like diffused shower glass you can drink. But I also feel like I am drinking alcoholic fruit and if I really wanted to do that, I could and I think I could find something a little better.
As I finish my trip home, I pass by a hooded couple: one in gray, one in blue. The blue one has orange Uggs on, they hold hands as they migrate to the East and I am glad that they, at least, have each other.