Portland rock royalty.
There I was last night, driving around and minding my own business in Milwaukie, a close-in Portland suburb. Mostly, this manifested as trying to figure out whether I should shut my app off so I can stop incoming rides briefly to set it to “home” mode. It was around 5 PM on a rainy Friday afternoon, so the ride bonuses in Portland were crazy.
For instance, I made almost $50 on my first three rides in the first hour on the road. You can see how those ride bonuses dropped on that last pick up outside the city core.
Yes, get me back to town, please.
Plus, that $2.50 bonus was a round trip ride to the liquor store for a guy who met me at the end of his driveway – which I love – only to mime “Do you have an extra mask?” from where he stood as I pulled up. Then, once he’s gotten one, climbs in grumbling about how “It’s not like these do anything, anyway” before careening into “The old man was killing him”, referring to Biden – neither of which I love right out of the gate in a ride. I managed to steer him into a conversational area he was better qualified to have an opinion on: sports.
I’m sure that explains why I was debating getting back toward the city. That’s when this ride came in.
Now, Zia is not a common name. I’ve known one in my entire life, a former employee here in town. I pulled the picture up to see if it was her, and, well…wrong race.
However, I thought this rider skewed age and race wise toward being the only other Zia I could think of, who I certainly didn’t know, but whose early musical career I was well aware of, the Dandy Warhols.
The Dandys are a local band with one song most people will know – Bohemian Like You – and who I’ve been lucky enough to come across a couple times back when I stumbled into music venues around town in the 90s. Zia stood out among the band because she usually could be counted on to pull her shirt up at some point during a show.
That leaves an impression, even on a late-20s gay boy.
I mentally start discarding conversational riffs based off that song – “I’ve got a great car”, “Do you like vegan food”, “Did I see some guy sleeping on the couch? Is he always there? Why’s he looking kind of ‘meh’?”
Stupid stuff. – that I’d never actually say!
More likely, I’d try to get a heads up on her current band’s upcoming gigs. She’s got several projects going on these days and one of them – Brush Prairies, I think – has been doing shows at small venues, like the Dandys used to.
Also, I could pin her down on which member owned a wine bar here in my neighborhood and where it was actually located. Rumor vaguely has it that it’s over on/around Pettygrove & 14th but the place over there I’ve seen isn’t that impressive. But it’s open hours certainly suggest it operates on a rock and roll vibe, aka: it’s open or not on a whim. More specific rumor has it that it’s a place called Le Happy.
Cute, right? It’s at Lovejoy & 16th, so about half as much closer than the other place, but…
Even if this wasn’t that bar, it’s sad. Such a cute lil joint. I hope the building doesn’t get torn down in Portland’s growth/building boom.
Anyway, in real time, I was pulling up her name on Google to get a current pic.
Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!
It was her!
I pull into this driveway that’s on the backstreet of a side street behind a school in Milwaukie. The remoteness says “privacy” while the overgrown disrepair of a once well-tended yard says “recluse”.
“Damn, Zia, I know having four band projects going has to be a lot…but get it together!”
Then a college-aged kid walks out.
“Well, that’s not Zia…”
He’s got a cute mix of nerd and emo looks going, so I also tell myself to keep my eyes on the road. 🤦🏽
We’ve got a long ride ahead of us into Portland – thank you, Lyft app! – so I start off with some small talk about what’s up.
Turns out, he took a bus into town to hang out with his friend – a female friend, not a girlfriend 😈 – but he went to the wrong house. I comment that this girl has the right kind of problems…too many houses, and he clarifies that he went to her dad’s house (ok, so it’s a “depression vibe” in the yard, not “recluse”, got it) instead of her mom’s so mom was getting him a ride to the right place.
AND IT WAS ZIA MCCABE!!!
Anyway, that was as close as my brush with rock royalty came. Well, that and maybe she was shuffling things around on the porch when I pulled up. And that I low-key know where she lives, but I’m not creepy, so that knowledge is just a little “I know stuff other people don’t” thrill.
But I still need to catch a random show of hers one of these days. Oh, and she’s a realtor, too, so that’s bad news for my realtor neighbor who lives in the building I want to eventually buy in…because I am Le Happy to be that kind of creepy.
Hey, it’s not like she wouldn’t get something out of that transaction, and The Gays are nothing if not transactional.