Monday, July 02, 2007

Mellow Possum Three Handed Twist To Fate!

Portland , thanks to the mismanagement of it's city council, decided to go the 'tourist destination-renovation' route back in the mid-70's.
Of course, the first thing you do to turn your dying midtown core into a tourist destination is rip up all the streets in the main shopping district and put all the stores out of business. Then you make all those streets one way, no motorized vehicle throughways! And run the worlds saddest excuse for a public transit system through the middle of it all! In fact, you turn it into the central transfer hub of the entire far-flung metro system and pack it full of grouchy lost people making minimum wage and make them stand in the mud outside the closed department stores in the rain. Xerox off a few sheets that say 'Bus Stop' and staple them to some two-by-fours, call it a 'transit link' and there you have what passed for urban development Oregon-style.

Don't forget to stick a couple of hot dog carts in the middle of it all for that 'Noo Yawk' ambiance and man them with drug dealers.

It was to one of these hot dog stands that I was delivering a shipment from Hawaii. I had on my 'don't look at me; I'm a secretary' outfit and was carrying two ki's in my denim handbag, artfully hidden by a scarf and a pack of Salems.
There I stood in my denim smock dress and slingback shoes, reeking of Charlie and Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo, mildly stoned and thinking about the money I was about to get. I could have walked the ten or so blocks up to where my hot dog guy's stand was, but I was wearing high heels and couldn't be bothered. Any bus that came though would take me there, and I wasn't worried about paying the fare; since the new 'honor ticket' system had been implemented on the buses nobody paid the fare. You could , however, buy more than a ride from most of the drivers, and I was halfway hoping I'd get a cool one so I could do just that. It was beautiful: incompetence at the city level had turned it's transit system into city wide dope distribution-mobiles operating on the public dime.

I waited for my bus by the wall in front of the old courthouse, a beautiful grey stone building that dated back from the earliest pioneer days. Behind me, past the spear-tipped iron fence, a group of hippies were camped out on the lawn in quilts, selling bamboo bongs, roach clips made from hemostats and beads and jewelery twisted up out of discarded stripey electrical wiring. Next to me sat a tall Northeast guy dressed in a lavender suit and four-inch platform shoes. He gave me the hanging eyeball but was too busy to make conversation, using a credit card to clean an ounce of shake on an open album cover in his lap, letting the seeds fall to the pavement. College students passing pipes made from plumbing joins sauntered past in groups and left a trail of reek behind them.

A cop rode up on his horse and immediately a crowd gathered. Mounted policemen were another innovation intended to bring a little big-city flair to dirty old Portland. I flirted with the policemen while I petted the horses nose. Flicka stuck his head into my purse and started lipping the scarf off the dope. I rolled the scarf back around the plastic bag of bricked up ki's and the cop and I laughed. "You got a bale of hay in there or somethin?" he grinned.
The cop rode off, trailing mommies and little kids. The guy cleaning his dope smiled up at me and said 'The got those things trained like drug dogs, you know."
"Oh fuck you," I grinned.

That was my 70's.


  1. A drug horse? I don't believe it for a moment. Glad you liked my threads though... I got that purple suit at a Thrift Store for $10.00 and a BJ. Back then I was playing in a crazy band called The we was high all the time.. but Portland? Seemed like if God was going to give the world an enema he'd put the tube in right there....

  2. In my '70's there were no *shipments*, no men in Lavender suits and four inch heels, no dope munching horses.

    Just power cuts, skinheads getting into fights, Cresta pop and disgusting school meals. Where did it all go wrong?

    I probably reeked of Charlie though.

  3. re: urban development. in my hometowm of Jackson, Michigan they did the EXACT SAME THING, only instead of hotdog carts we got flower pots.

    the horse was after your cigs. they love tobacco.

  4. I am with betty , altho i would have reeked of brut or hai karate (my dad worked for pfizer so we got Hai Karate and Charlie cheap as they made the vile muck along with tcp now thats a sexy smell mmmm tcp)

  5. mr. the dog 1 and 2: i hope your taste in clothing has changed. do you still have the gold chains and the huge afro with the comb stuck in it?

    betty: oregon is where all the hippies went to start up communes so it was mellow way into the late 70's. nobody sobered up until about 1983, i think. skins never gathered much steam there. one state over in idaho is where you get beat on for being racially impure.

    CB: everyone else was stoned, i always thought maybe the horse felt left out.

    beast: hai karate is what all the guys in my high school smelled like! hai karate and ganja.

  6. beast II: Trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl??!!

  7. Poetic. I went to college with a guy who got four years in prison for growing and selling his own weed in our dorm. So sad...but I do love a good 'cop on a horse story'.

  8. Kristy11:31 PM

    Well, it's good to know that horses can perform more valuable services for human beings than they would have you believe in Enumclaw.

    Did I mention I was born in Portland? You can't make me believe anything bad about it.

  9. hendrix2:58 AM

    Think you're probably right FN horses are sociable animals so it was probably just trying to get its fair share.

  10. I have a mental picture of you as a Jackie Brown type character - I loved that film.

    Woman to Man: can you smell my Charlie?

    Man to Woman: yes I can, go home and give it a good wash

  11. Suprised bystander to man and woman : 'Thank god for that I thought it was my shoes !'

  12. :am-fix your damn blog so i can comment, puddin' pie! i've been reading it and loving it and wondering about things like, how is the boy's 'amorphous mass' and your pelvic fracture and your job and....

    kristy: did you ever see that video? it was...something.//
    the Portland of the late 70's was a WAY different place than it is today. now, it's nice. then, it was dying and dirty and everyone was stoned or on the take. once i left they saw the error of their ways and straightened their shit up.

    hendrix: hey, it smelled grass, you know? horses like grass. maybe they like menthol cigarettes too, though.

    frobi: i wish i had as much class as her!


  13. 'because theres something in the air"

    I love your stories. I believe that the 70s were such a mess because all of the 60s momentum for changing the world stopped and did a complete 180. Everybody said f*ck it!
    The last straw was when Marty and Bobby were gunned down. Obviously we weren't going to change the world, but, we sure as hell knew how to alter our noodles.

    I remember the sights and smells of those lost years. I recognized your inference to the blurry centre of it all.

    I have no doubt that Canada will fully decriminalize Mary Jane within the next 10 years ..if not just to annoy the hell out of the US drug czar's war on poor south american farmers and frat boys that is sponsored by Lobbyists from BIG Alcohol..Puh-Leeze!

    Great story. A TRIP down mem..sheesh it's right on the tip of my..memmer..oh for gawdsake..mem...

  14. Cardiff looked like shit in the 1970's but there again so did everywhere else in the UK. It's all to do with socialist government promises to build more (but on a budget)
    It was still a comparatively cool city.

  15. Drug horses, thats hilarious. I bet the cops were a lot more friendly as today too.

    I remember standing in line at the store because they had a delivery on toilett paper and at that time there was for whatever reason a shortage on toilett paper. My mom was standing behind me, so we could get two packages toilett paper. No joke!