It’s quiet in Portland today, due to weather that can only be described as fucking hostile.
So I’m up in the sunroom again, a glass of IPA from Protector brewing, thinking about spending the night in the city of La Havre, France nearly three decades ago.
I was traveling through Europe with a couple buddies, on my way home. From the continent we were going to catch a ferry to Ireland and after a week there, fly to London, and after a week there, I was finally going home. I had a year’s worth of luggage with me, (as did my pals) because I was wrapping up a school year in Italy and we were all just north side of broke.
Plus, the ferry started boarding at 7am, so we had to be there early and thus it was decided that we would just sleep at the dock near the ticket booth.
It was the middle of the night when I woke up because my feet were wet. Part of us was under an awning, but my legs stuck out and now I’m wet-but not soaked-and it’s the middle of the night in France, there is no one coming to help me. I am lonely and it has been a very, very long year.
I just wanted my Mom, you know?
I distinctly remember thinking This sucks, before curling up and huddling against the wall, nothing to be done about anything until the sun rose and we could get on the ferry.
The rain didn’t last long and all in all everything was fine.
But I got the barest taste for what it was like to not have a room with a bed in it and no way to access one, and I did not care for it one bit.
So last night, when the weather advisory really kicked in and the wind was howling outside like an engine possessed by the Ghost of Christmas Future, sleet pelting the windows sounding like scree sliding down the mountain, I sipped my beer and had not just a little thought and concern for my fellow citizens out there who are unsheltered.
They are unsheltered because money and that is the worst fucking reason for anything bad to exist. They suffer because money and honestly everything about that makes me angry enough to consider treason.
It is almost certainly true that someone died last night, because they could not find shelter from the weather. And that is a statement I fear will become more common in Portland as I get older.
The IPA has a guava nose, but the finish is so intensely bitter that it really weighs the beer in a negative direction. I don’t hate it, but the balance is off and that makes me want to have something else, instead of more of this.
When I pour out the last of the can, a sludgy detritus comes out-the trub that exists at the bottom of bottles of homebrew I make. I have a moment: Oh, this is why it tastes weird. Hey, even the professionals fuck it up.
Happy holidays, folks. Stay safe out there.