Friday, February 04, 2005

4 February 2005

Talk of the Town
This is my day for time off, and I'll be heading into Portland to see friends and to conduct what small business I have. Back on duty this evening to report on the waters. It's been two weeks since I've seen anyone I don't take care of, work for, or buy things from (I napped the afternoon away last week) - my exercise periods might be an exception if I wasn't always in a rush to get back. "Hello, I must be going." - that's my current tagline.

Fat Friday
I had almost forgotten that Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, until I saw guys with beads at 3pm on Stark Street, two blocks of which pass as a locus of gay club life in PDX. Brought back a few strands, but I didn't have to do anything - or show anything - to get them; standards have been lowered. I think it's all those Girls Gone Wild vids, personally.

But I can't stay out late enough (without special and very much in-advance arrangements) to play like that. The last transportation to my neighborhood from a suburban transit center leaves at 10:30pm, and according to a Service Rep from the transit system, who was taking a survey on my way in today, that may be rolled back to 7:30pm in June, unless ridership raises holy hell. Granted that I'd like to be out of this gig by then, but that kind of cutback would make doing this job almost impossible. My patient can't be left alone for much more than an hour at a time, and even now it is a stretch to get to her pharmacy and back within that window. A car, you say? I'm not paid enough to maintain one. Rx's by mail? Too many controlled substances on her list.

This is how rising fuel prices and straitened state and local budgets are being felt, folks. The route I ride isn't losing population, it's undergoing an exurban explosion of housing and commercial development. What used to be lightly travelled country roads are now jammed, and need widening for - yeah - all those SUVs. The Portland metropolitan area has, in most respects, a terrific system of bus and light-rail public transportation, but it's being starved in the competition for dollars in the Ownership Society. All thanks, Dear Leader!.

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