November 30, 2007

Asterisk shaking fist asterisk.

If you can think of a thing that people could conceivably just up and start doing on a strictly voluntary basis, it is a good bet that someone in Portland is already doing it. For instance: Breakfast on the Bridges. On the last Friday of every month, some folks set up little tables on two of the bridges and serve donated coffee and pastries to people biking to work. I discovered this last month, when my erratic bike-commuting habits and their regular coffee-serving habits coincided for the first time. I was running so catastrophically late that morning that I figured I'd better not stop, but I did some Googling and discovered that they are in fact on my bridge every month. This is AWESOME, so of course I spent the month of November planning to attend the very next one rain or shine.

Today I practically leapt out of bed, waltzed into my clothes, ventured a quick breakfast but eschewed coffee, sauntered to the garage for my bike, found it in good working condition (unlike pretty much every other time I have mentioned my bike here), and left with ages to spare. Wheee!

But the Broadway Bridge, my regular commute bridge on which I saw the breakfast folks last month, was completely devoid of people and bikes and beverages. No cheery folks calling out to me to stop and be refreshed this time. Nobody else riding, either, which is deeply weird since Broadway is normally so crowded with bike commuters that they start acting almost as rude and annoyed as the car traffic next to them. So what gave?

I Googled when I got to work (early, of course, because I hadn't gotten to stop for coffee). Just now -- this month -- they have decided to permanently change their nothern location from the Broadway Bridge to the Steel Bridge. I went sulking through the "older versions of this page" archive on their website and discovered that they updated the location all of ten days ago. I, naturally, did not check within that time.

The thought did occur to me while I crossed the strangely empty bridge that perhaps the event had been moved. I tried to, without riding off the bridge, squint at the next bridges over and look for signs of companionable breakfasting. The next one to the north is a freeway bridge with no bike lanes, so that obviously wasn't it. To the south is, in fact, the Steel Bridge, but in my coffee-less slowness I was looking at the vehicular upper deck instead of the lower pedestrian deck. So I saw nobody, so I didn't turn around and head over and join the revelers even though I had plenty of time to do so. Of course they were on the lower deck.

Portland: people doing really awesome things which Dianna keeps fucking missing, damnit, through shit luck and relatively little fault of her own.

Posted by dianna at November 30, 2007 09:24 AM

That's a shame. Any idea what the reasoning was behind shifting locations?

. . . Which is to say, "the people who completely arbitrarily decided to serve coffee and pastries to random cyclists on bridges once a month had better have a darned good reason for moving the location of their service on such short notice!"

Posted by: Zach S. at November 30, 2007 10:04 AM

That is too bad. I think the lesson we've all learned is this: If Dianna wants to get up at or before the crack of dawn and bicycle through the cold for morning deliciousness, it only works if I'm with her.

Also, I'm really sorry you've gotten back on the coffee. It quickly becomes totally impossible to function before you've had a gallon of it, neh?

Posted by: katie at November 30, 2007 10:14 AM

Dunno, really. I saw this grumpy anonymous screed in the Portland Mercury complaining about the location and referring to some unidentified breakfast-related bike crash, but if grumpy online screeds had that much power to effect change I would have altered reality quite a bit more by now. I'm disinclined to believe that that post was a major cause, but in general, the total fucking lack of internet discussion about it makes it somewhat hard to figure out why they did it. Just like it makes it somewhat hard to have breakfast, damnit.

You make a good point up there. I have decided to be angry at the internet media sources that I feel ought to have mentioned this major change to an informal Portland institution, rather than at the people who would have happily served me breakfast had I shown up where they actually were.

Posted by: Dianna at November 30, 2007 10:22 AM

Katie: actually, no. I've been making my coffee at half-strength or drinking only a heavily soymilked half-cup at a time, and my experiment last weekend with going back to tea suggested that I can still do so without going nonfunctional. I'm proud of this fact. Also, coffee is delicious.

So, now that I know what the trick is, do you want to come up here on or about December 28th and get up early so I can go have breakfast? I should warn you though that the crack of dawn here is currently about 7:30 and still getting later, so that getting up at the crack of dawn actually means oversleeping and being horribly late to work. Stupid northern latitude.

Posted by: Dianna at November 30, 2007 10:32 AM