I've been spending time lately in the barren estuary that's generally referred to by Portland locals as Mall 205; a mall so utterly devoid of personality it's literally named after the nearby freeway. I walked the mall last week, and it's sort of like Eastport Plaza (a depressing place in the 1980's; even more depressing today), but with fewer people, and no stores. Large brick planter boxes intended to break up the monotony of abandonment are bereft of plants. It's dark. Probably a pretty good place to leave a body. The locale that intrigues me most, serving perhaps as Mall 205's estranged twin, is actually a couple blocks to the north; the parking lot of the MOR, which I'll pass on my way for coffee at the drive-thru Starbucks a couple blocks away. I pass from across the street, having learned early the irritating perils of choosing to walk in front of the prestigious Club 205. Each day I detect evidence of prostitution at one of many points of the customer life cycle, but I think most frequently its towards the end of the transaction. Nobody lives in this area; the four-line arteries are optimized for helping drivers accelerate as they approach the freeway, and the buildings that surround are mostly anonymous, invisible. When I catch the eye of someone as I pass, they are always surprised. I can see it in their eyes even as they evade notice. It reminds me of when I worked on MLK back in the late 80's. I was driving forklift and stopped to comment to the local prostitute that I'd not seen her for a couple of weeks, and wanted to know if she'd been down with a cold. She looked at me, shocked, and asked "you remember me?" And I said, well, yeah. You stand here every day for months and then I don't see you for a couple weeks. She burst into tears and ran. That's what the look is as I seek eye contact as I pass. At the Starbucks, again: a drive-thru, not a sit-in, there's a variety of interesting transitional characters. Young guys with angry concentration of facial hair who enjoy a fragile prestige of used German cars from the early 90's; the heavy iconic sexualized female aesthetic of the manual labor and "pink collar" class; broken middle-aged white men in Carhartts riding bikes a young teen within the affluent neighborhood just 25 blocks to the west would never touch; sullen young men cleaned up and waiting patiently to struggle through the tedium of a visit with grandma, hoping for that $20 gift; heavy-set women in hoodies, driving mini-vans with Ultimate Fighting stickers in the back window, demonstrating an outward aggressiveness serving as a behavioral echo to that which they are almost certainly subjected to at home. Between the seams and margins the hominid errata; the mentally ill and mostly-homeless, who die in the open at the rate of about three a week.