Sunday, August 23, 2009


It was a beautiful evening, a long-lost college friend was having a housewarming party, and I even coaxed my wonderful husband home from work early to go out. We stayed late, and were whisking home through the slightly-chilly evening when... terrible things happened.

I smelled it first. Urine, certainly, but being a pregnant woman riding through urban spaces, that isn't unusual.

But then, coming down off the west side of the Broadway Bridge, there was something wet on the road. Which I didn't connect with the increasingly powerful urine smell until...

SPLASH! I don't know what this stuff was. Septic spill? Leaky portapotty? It was more urine than urine; thick, putrid stuff. And I didn't have my fenders on.

We hurried home, my sundress-and-sandals outfit suddenly seeming like the worst idea I'd possibly ever had. Clothes into the laundry, me into the shower, bikes onto the porch. Dave did the bike-cleaning duty (he was riding with both fenders and pants, so the trauma was less). Once showered and laundered, I called the city pollution line to let them know there was... stuff... on the road.

I love riding my bike because it makes me feel connected to my city. But tonight Portland, I discovered just how close is too close. That's a connection I just don't need.

If you need it: Portland Pollution Reporting Line, 24 Hours: 503-823-7180

1 comment:

Richard said...

I thought everybody in Portland used fenders.

My bet is the Leaky portapotty theory.