WELL SAID: “Stupidity mistook itself for intelligence, whereas intelligence knew its own stupidity.” — Jonathan Franzen
WELL DONE: When the technology and facilities departments moved into basement space (Room 99) below the stage at Hood River Middle School over Christmas break, they made a strange discovery in a dusty closet. The space has long served as dressing room/storage space for theater productions, and construction workers had crammed piles of drama department costumes onto the floor. Cindy Williams, facilities manager, said she and the new occupants of the space acquired a coat rack and picked up the clothing — plenty of velvet, sheen, and feathers included – and hung them up. They stand, flamboyantly, against a side wall, a happy juxtaposition to the numerous computers and other technology undergoing repairs and updates. (The tech/facilities office is temporary; they move back to Coe Facility once the renovation in that building is done this spring.)
SCARY and funny: Cartoon “Rhymes With Orange” in December showed a millennial holding a newspaper, telling a friend, “I’ve subscribed to the print version of the digital version.”
SEEN AND HEARD: Jan. 16, 38 degrees, 6:30 a.m., woman going to the newspaper box in bare feet … “This is the pool, Daddy, not an office,” a two-year-old tells her father as they arrive at Hood River Aquatic Center for a swim … May Street Hero Robotic Monkeys teammates pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book on School Board members Mark Johnson and Chrissy Reitz Jan. 17, with the old spring snake in the jar trick (see photo).
BACKRONYMS: Examples abound of assigned words for acronyms that never had them (i.e. Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help for the New Testament-inspired name for the food banks, FISH). In gyms all over Hood River County is a good new one: Hood River HOOPS. The word, long slang for basketball, gets a new five-letter backronym, courtesy of Hood River Community Ed (see photo at right). For up-and-coming basketball players, it about covers it.
Riding with Detroit Ryan
Lorre and I arrived Jan. 15 at Full Sail for dinner, pulling up behind the Meadows shuttle bus, which had dropped off a hungry and thirsty snowboarder or two. As the bus pulled away, we saw a man run from the front entrance, snowboard in hand, shouting and waving at the bus to stop — to no avail.
He ran to the corner of Seventh and Columbia, but the bus was too far away. No idea who this guy was, but we knew we had to help. We drove to the corner.
“Let’s chase him down,” I called to him through my rolled-down window. Guy hesitates for a second, then hops in, board and all. We learned his name is Ryan, and he had forgotten a Meadows shirt on the bus. “It’s only a shirt, I guess I can get it back tomorrow,” he says. But this is not about a garment, it’s about the adventure. We pursue.
At Oak Street we look east and see the bus stopping in front of Dog River. I flash my headlights, and feel certain the driver will stop. He does not, instead heads east on Oak. At Second Street we come to a stop and I am flashing my lights, figuring he MUST see us by now.
No go. He keeps going, left on Second, heading … toward the freeway? Or down to Portway where he will be easy to capture? Then he signals a left, onto 84. Ryan gets out of the car, ready to run up to the guy’s window before he turns onto the freeway, bound for — Cascade Locks? Back to West Cascade? We do not know.
“Get back in!” I tell Ryan as the light turns green and the bus driver starts toward the off-ramp. We follow him west on I-84, lights flashing, still no apparent effect. We pull up next to him, and at 60 miles an hour Lorre calls up to the driver, “where is your next stop?” At this point, we think he has the idea.
We are at that spot a half-mile west of exit 63 with a nice, wide shoulder, and I get ahead of the bus, and see in my rear-view that he is slowing, and signaling, and he pulls over. Ryan gets out, goes to the bus and retrieves the shirt.
Back on I-84 toward downtown again, Ryan says, “That was amazing. Once he was on the expressway I never would have thought we’d catch him.”
“Expressway?” I said. “You must be from back east.”
“Yes, Detroit,” he said, and when we explain the terminology for high speed vehicle routes, he tells us he had never heard the term “freeway.”
Mission accomplished, we drop Ryan back at Full Sail, and go in ourselves. At that awkward moment when the hostess asks, “Table for three?” Ryan politely indicates he’ll take a seat on his own at the bar, “but your beers are on me.” And he was good for it.
And that was the end of what Ryan described as a good three days at Meadows, all good riding.
— Kirby Neumann-Rea