People who know me well know that I don’t have a spontaneous bone in my body. Well, I might but my uptight “stick-in-the-mud” nature prohibits much spontaneity. So when I got a Facebook invite to join a friend celebrating her 50th birthday, my initial reaction was “oh that’s neat. I think I’ll load the dishwasher now.” But then I thought about it.
Just how many times does a friend turn 50? (Captain Obvious, I know.) And besides, the language of the event was too charming to resist: “Crossing over the Morrison Bridge to my 50’s (this bridge in Portland is 53 yrs old!) – come and join the CANDLE VIGIL for my Forties and walk with me as I enter the 50’s! All are welcome! We are crossing the Morrison Bridge -midway I will do a reading of “Ode to Desire”, and once across on the East side, dessert for all! Anyone who would like to join in is welcome!” Sounds like a hoot, doesn’t it? So I asked Mister Soandso what he thought, and then I tweeted, “So, should I join a friend celebrating her 50th birthday? And by celebrate I mean booze and chocolate.”
Everybody who responded said pretty much the same thing: Are you crazy? Go get your keys right now.
So I got dinner ready, got all my cherubs bathed and spruced up for their Granny’s birthday celebration today, and headed out.
But first I got my rain boots.
Because here in Portland we are known for a short list of things. Beer and bridges, food carts and fine dining, and of course, coffee, putting a bird on things and rain figure prominently on that list.
Now because I’m not very experienced at being spontaneous and was running a bit behind, I thought, “here’s a good idea. I’ll park on the east side of the bridge, walk over the bridge and then walk back with Joanie. This way, I won’t miss them if I can’t find parking.” Did I mention I brought my rain boots? Also, the Morrison bridge has 4 sprawling on/off ramps on either end.
So, really, my spontaneous walk in the rain meant that first I had to traverse a whole bunch of pedestrian right of ways. These are handy little buggers, unlit and safe-havens for sleeping vagrants. But I was being spontaneous! Undaunted I continued. And about half-way across the Morrison bridge the winds picked up.
And the gusts and driving rain gusted so hard as to blow me across the sidewalk and against the railing. As in, the only thing between me and the Willamette River below. And so I was reminded why I rarely attempt this thing called spontaneity…it can kill you for god’s sake!
Needless to say, by the time I found my friend and recrossed the bridge, I was drenched. Well, twice as drenched as everybody else. Yes, we were quite the group of wet women.
Afterwards we sat steaming in the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House drinking coffee, eating fabulous desserts and laughing loudly enough that the trio playing in the corner asked us to be quiet. (While normally I would never argue with the person who wields the microphone, you would be hard-pressed to keep a group of 9 women from laughing, especially when 2 of them are comediennes.)
I can tell you this, it is good to be spontaneous if it lets you hang out with a group of wet women in their 40s. Especially if there is a tiara, bifocals, and birthday candles involved!
And Joanie Blankenship Quinn? She makes an even better 50 year old than a 49 year old. Happy Birthday Joanie!