Now understand that downtown Portland (the business district, and the area just outside of the business district where I live) is designated as belonging to "Southwest Portland" on the maps, and all the street names begin with "Southwest". But it's not properly part of Southwest Portland; the area called "Southwest Portland" is on the other side of some hills, accessible through either Barbur and Terwilliger Boulevards, or Vista Avenue. If you live downtown, you don't go around telling people that you live in "Southwest Portland", because you don't.
Despite having lived on the other side of that divide, in actual Southwest Portland (my previous residence, Shadowdale), I find the narrow straits between Downtown and Southwest Portland confusing and somewhat terrifying. Last week I'd gotten well and truly lost in that area by taking a wrong turn on Southwest Broadway, so I hoped to avoid the Southwest by starting my delivery runs in the Northeast.
Man plans, G-d laughs. Starting my run on the east side didn't save me from getting summoned to the bowels of the southwest bottleneck on my very first call, but I hung in there and completed 3 runs and made 28 dollars.
I parked by the NE Chabad and started my meter at 16h sharp. Presumably by design, Uber keeps you in the dark about your delivery destination until you've picked up the order, so you can't pick and choose. When I picked up the order (at a Subway next to a cannabis dispensary) and looked at the delivery address, I said "oh shit", but there was nothing to be done.
So I got to spend quality time with my old friend Southwest Broadway again. The delivery address was on Grant; the voice nav kept telling me unhelpfully "continue straight to stay on Southwest Broadway" and I made two or three circuits around the area before I decided to ignore the voice nav and look at the map on the phone and the street signs outside. What that told me was that I needed to make a sharp right turn and go a little ways up the hill, and sure enough my customer was standing there waiting. If I'd listened to the nav I'd still be out there driving in circles now.
According to the Uber app, that 4.31 mile trip took 37 minutes and 29 seconds to complete. What the Uber app doesn't record is the time I spent wandering the boondocks of Southwest Portland after getting shunted back along Broadway and into Portland Heights. It is the stuff of nightmares.
The stuff of nightmares.
Well, I somehow summoned the last reserves of what Mom used to call "sticktoitiveness", found my way out of the labyrinth of Portland Heights, and headed east across the Ross Island Bridge with a great sigh of relief. I guess we can pinpoint this as the moment I officially started calling East Portland "home" even though I don't live there yet.
The rest of the night was easier. I'd informally set a goal of 3 runs and 25$ in earnings per night, and I made both goals despite my adventure in the southwest hills. So I'm comfortably at home in my beloved and soon-to-be-former home and enjoying a beer or three.