Not Portland, But Still A Great Day

Last Sunday, as we were driving up to Arlington, Phillip asked me to take Friday off. Sure, but why, I asked. Because I’m taking Friday off, he replied.

Then he had a suggestion for our day off: We could leave either Thursday evening or Friday morning, on a Bolt bus, spend a night or two in Portland, and come back on Saturday.

On Monday, my boss granted my request for a Personal Holiday. Meanwhile, Phillip looked into the Bolt schedule, and we agreed that I could bring a suitcase to work on Thursday, and we’d meet up in the International District right after work.

Monday night, I looked into booking a room at The Mark Spencer, my favorite Portland hotel. The rates were triple what I was expecting. Granted, it’s been five years since I stayed there, but it was still shocking. I searched around for hotels and motels in the city or close enough to light rail. Unless we were willing to stay in Vancouver, Washington (which would be difficult without a car), every room was beyond what we were willing to pay. It seemed to be just this weekend, though, that rooms were double or triple their usual rates. (For instance, a 2-star motel near the convention center was $195 a night this weekend, and $89 a night two weeks from now.) I don’t know why this was.

For a brief moment, we considered spending one day in Portland, leaving and returning the same day. That would be awful, we agreed, after a three hour bus ride, spending a couple of hours in Portland without seeing much, and then boarding a bus for another three hour ride.

So, we took today off, but we didn’t go to Portland.

We rode a 49 bus to the U District. We stopped into Phillip’s office long enough for him to pick up his popcorn bucket, and for me to return White Fang to the food bank shelf. Then we continued on to Sundance Cinema, where we saw Life.

Life is a terrific movie. We both loved it.

After the movie, we dropped Phillip’s popcorn bucket off at his office, then we walked over to Lake Union and had a delicious lunch at Ivar’s Salmon House.

view from Ivars

The view from our table

When the bill came, there was something I wasn’t expecting. “Tipping is not expected,” the bill said. There was a paragraph stating the Ivar’s employees are fairly compensated with wages, so there is no need to tip. I was invited to speak with the manager if I had any questions.

When my credit card receipt was brought for my signature, it had the same “Tipping is not expected” statement. Due to customer requests, it continued, I was invited to leave something extra, if I wished. I was very torn. I believe in tipping at least 20%, but if I did tip, it might send a message to the management that customers want to tip and therefore livable wages are not needed. Phillip left the decision up to me, but suggested I could leave a smaller tip, like 5 or 10 percent.

I signed the credit card receipt without leaving anything extra. I felt like a cheapskate, but realized that it was simply a paradigm shift. It’s a good thing, really, that tipping is not necessary. It will just take some getting used to.

We walked back to Roosevelt Way and caught a 49 bus home.

It wasn’t Portland, but it was still a great day.


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