I still feel bad from time to time about the directions I gave more than a year ago to the German tourists – the two middle aged couples who stopped me on the street downtown at night looking for a brewery. They wanted something casual and reasonable with good beer, nearby, and I didn’t know what to tell them. There are lots of good breweries in Portland but not in that neighborhood. I wanted them to like the place I sent them and to like my city.
The only thing I could think of within walking distance was City Sports Bar, a spot I’d been to only once before for a game – a spot that had fused in my memory with the also nearby Rock Bottom Brewery. Neither is a place I would go out of my way for. But both have beers and cheap food. It was the best I could do with what they needed.
I didn’t know the exact corner so I sent a quick text off to Google, and Google returned an address. I wrote it down for them and sent them off. But I realized two blocks later that the address Google sent me was for City Grill, not City Sports Bar. City Grill is a fancy restaurant on the top floor of an office tower. I imagined the couples going up there in their casual walking clothes, confused at why I would think this was what they wanted, out of place, and at a total loss for what to do next.
And maybe after that the City Grill maitre d’ gave them directions to just what they were looking for. Or maybe they decided to splurge, and had a fine meal looking out across the city. Or maybe they passed a pub on the way and ducked inside, and had the best night of their trip. I have no idea.
So I don’t know why it comes up in my memory from time to time, when I am passing one of those restaurants or giving directions downtown. I don’t know why I remember it at all or why that memory bothers me like a bad decision. Recently I have been trying to let go of certain pieces of the past, and it surprises me sometimes which ones will not go gently.