Portland, Oregon. Between Hayden Island and the mainland. View of RR bridge.
My friend brought in the Willamette Week horoscopes today. The current writer is clever. Mine related the powers of chance to a Dr. Suess anecdote. My friend’s horoscope, Capricorn, told the story of a Chinese farmer who bought two shaggy dogs from a traveler. They were unusually aggressive. They sometimes ate his chickens. Two years later, he realized his puppies were actually Asian black bears.
She and I were sitting in the lobby. A young man -also an artist -sat on the other side of me. My friend and I were discussing dinner plans for Thursday. The artist politely ignored our business, plunking away at things on his cell phone.
“Wait!” she exclaimed, “I totally forgot -Thursday is Valentine’s Day. Don’t you already have plans?”
“Oh no,” I replied, “Thursday is fine. Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday.”
There was, as it’s known, a pregnant pause. “Are you certain?”
Yes. I and the artist affirmed. Valentine’s Day was on Wednesday.
“Well, that won’t do. I have to cancel my dinner plans for Wednesday. I said I’d have dinner with him, but I didn’t really want to and if it’s Valentine’s Day, he’ll read too much into that.”
This was serious girl talk, and while it would be impossible not to hear us, the artist steadfastly kept his eyes forward on his phone and his face straight.
“Why would you agree to have dinner with someone that you didn’t really want to have dinner with?”
“Well, I don’t know. He just kept hounding me and he lives in my building so I finally said I would.”
“On Valentine’s Day. That’s not dinner. That’s like, a big date.
The artist confirmed that this would most likely be a fellow’s perception, while being more successful than I was at remaining serious.
“I know! That’s what I’m talking about. I’m going to have to cancel -stop it! Are you laughing at me? No, you laughing at me!”
“No, no I -I’m not! I just -ok, yes I am. But I’m not. It’s just…you just found out your dogs were bears!”
The artist finally lost his composure.