I sat at a table far, far, away from the bar, where two OTA men sat and watched meaningless sports on television.
In walked three kids in hip urban attire. They ordered IPAs and repaired to the outdoor area to talk about god knows what.
This was a new joint to me. It had somehow weathered the Pandemic and it made me wonder how many had not, particularly on the Oregon Coast where my fascination with OTA life began. I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of OTA country, how late-stage Trump killed all the great storytelling because the storytellers were drunk on Trump hate and anger and talked of nothing else. Then of course, the virus hit, and closed the joints, and then when they returned, the talk was all of virus hoaxes and totalitarianism. Talk about boring! Here and there a story emerged, but they were rare. I fear they are about to go extinct.
Would Portland-area OTA joints pick up the story slack with the demise of coastal Oregon OTA?
In several visits since the virus rules loosened up, they had not. Dead, deader than a Republican Senator’s soul.
Okay, so this Rose City joint still had its fake flocked Christmas tree lit up (a few feet away) and it was late February, but I couldn’t generate any more than a sentence about that.
I did meet Rhonda the striking blonde bartender in the leopard-print top and face mask (sadly no pillbox hat or there would have been a story!) and she gave me the dope on the joint and its survival.
A man wearing gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt entered with a black poodle. He ordered a beer and wanted to play the slots machines but Rhonda nixed that and the man protested it was a service dog and he was within his rights to drink beer and gamble with his dog (named Blaine) at his side. Rhonda didn’t budge and the man and Blaine headed outside to a picnic table.
As I sat near the Christmas tree, I wondered if this really was the end of my OTA writing. Even writing this piece felt forced and fatiguing.
Was it really the end of an era? All eras end. That’s their very nature. But if it truly is the end, does a participant truly recognize the end during the moment? It may have already passed for OTA and this is all mere obituary stuff.