So last night, my wife and some of her band of renegades decided to go to the "Last Thursday" event on Alberta Street in northeast Portland. Somehow they twisted my arm with their feminine charm and convinced me to go with them; I wasn't totally alone though, Yoshi (my little wire-haired fox terrier) was a requested guest, so he came along too.
It was kind of surreal going to this street and seeing all the artsy white people walking around, playing music, looking at art, and acting civilized on Alberta Street. You see, I was raised just off Alberta, and my entire childhood, even up until I moved out of my parents house, Alberta was a terrible slum of a street. There was Crip house there, so some sh*t went down. There were some skinheads around. I can distinctly remember several gang shooting just a block from my house. I'm not trying to romanticize or glorify the dangerous neighborhood in which I was reared; it was often frightening, and I couldn't wait to get out of the crappy neighborhood, as it was.
It was about 7 or 8 years ago, and I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would actually walk on NE Alberta by my own free will. When I was a kid, I had always assumed that if I were to ever do any walking down Alberta, it would be because I was being kidnapped by some drug dealers or pimps or drug-dealing pimps, or I was being sold in to white slavery, which was a lucrative business in Portland just 80 years ago.
Some highlights of the night:
-being asked by a scary clown with a sad face if I'd ever been hit in the head with a hammer. The more I thought about it, the more this made me mad. Was he trying to pick a fight? What kind of clown makes a clown-living by intimidating people?
-when Yoshi pooped across the street from a restaurant and 3 of us all pretended to clean it up.
-when some vegan activists tried to give Yoshi a vegan dog treat and he absolutely refused to eat it. Like, it didn't last 1/2 second in his mouth. My dog Yoshi isn't some fruity vegan.
-the one of the only African Americans we saw the entire night had a gun, but that was way down at 17th.
-Yoshi saw some paintings and sniffed them, interestedly. I told the guy selling them that Yoshi was about to make them into post-modern art.