Travel notes 4/01/02

Politics of the Ballot
Every time I come to Portland people try to get me to sign ballot measure petitions. Ballot initiatives are really a west coast thing. It makes people think they are close to democracy. There are lots of issues with petition drives. One of the big issues is that people are paid to gather signatures. They are usually paid per signature.

I told the one guy that I do not like ballot measures. I think it gives the lawmakers an excuse to be lazy. Instead of lawmakers taking on tough issues and making good laws. They let the tough ideas go to the ballot. We get poorly written, ambiguous, easy to overturn laws. I think that the ballot measures should be more restrictive. It sounds so un-democratic when I say this, but it is a better from of government.

Jugglers in the streets

I told a Juggler that I think all people who learn how to juggle do it because they are starved to attention. He agreed with a little bit and then proceeded to tell me that it was not true. He tried to compare Juggling to playing a musical instrument. He told me that Boffo the Clown is the greatest juggle in the world but he only juggled in private. He was a street performer, so I gave him a dollar for giving him a hard time.

We talked for a while. He tried to teach me how to juggle. I warned him that I have hands of stone. I only played sports where I was not allowed to touch the ball. I quickly showed him that I did not have the skills it takes to juggle. We had a good laugh. It has been a while since I have just started a conversation with someone on the street like that. I should try it more often.

Watching the public

Later that day I was sitting in Pioneer Courthouse Square. I was wondering if I would see the juggler again. I know that he was just traveling though Portland. I did not see him. It was interesting to see the people sitting there. I always seem women here that I want to try to talk to, but I can never do it. I can never get up the nerve to do this. I wonder how I would feel if someone at random approached me. I would be a little scared and un-nerved.

Drinks with Doug

I had drinks with Doug today. Doug was one the the best guys I met when I was living in Portland. We met at a book signing at Powells. Doug and I used to talk for hours about all kinds of things. We like each other because we both have a view about the world. Doug talked about school, baseball, teaching and Portland. He wants to be a playwright. It is one of those career choices I do not understand. I am so far away from that world. My guess is that he really loves it.

If I lived in Portland I would see Doug all the time. I know I could get him away from the house to have drinks from time to time. I miss having someone like Doug in my life. I never worked with him. He was someone I could talk to things about. He was not involved with the things I wanted to get away from. I have met few people that have as sharp of a mind as Doug. I think that we will have these check in sessions ever couple of years.

Random Roads

  • They call Pioneer Courthouse Square ‘Portland’s Living Room’. What does that mean?
  • Had lunch at the Bagdad today
  • Bagdad is a pivotal place in my history of Portland
  • I am thinking about ending my vacation early
  • Powells on Hawthorne is one of the places I miss most about Portland.
  • Had drinks at the Ram's Head.
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