Oregon Tavern Age: Box

I sat at a table in a cavernous bar in OTA country. It was a summer afternoon. I was licked after a grueling day on the construction job, eating a burrito large enough to feed a logging crew for lunch, and writing notes about a man I kept seeing parked off Highway 101 who regularly applied spray foam insulation to the exterior of his vehicle in some kind of art installation. It just kept growing, growing, bulging here, there, and everywhere. He was clearly living out of his vehicle, and thus living inside his art. I loved thinking that.

A woman at the bar shattered my fatigue and note taking. I looked up and beheld a tattooed and leggy OTA woman wearing jean shorts and a frilly top. She was holding up a phone, showing the male bartender recent social media posts from her boyfriend’s phone that she had copied while he was passed out or away. She was narrating the story with staccato bursts of profanities while eating rice and beans and drinking double Crown and cokes.

All of this was going down despite a work presentation she had to give in 45 minutes in a town 25 miles away. Apparently, the presentation would entail her demonstrating how to better clean vacation rentals to the housekeepers in her charge. She would show these lazy “fucktards” how to do it right and had taken dozens of photographs that very morning documenting how she wanted the rentals cleaned properly. She would probably leave out the part about cleaning them fueled on two double Crown and cokes for breakfast. But maybe not.

The posts revealed the boyfriend’s multiple liaisons (images included) and solicitations (emojis included) with other women. She wasn’t really upset with him over the sex part because she’d screwed someone else, too, yesterday, but wanted the boyfriend to fess up, and he couldn’t, despite the evidence. It was all fake news according to him.

I felt logy halfway through the burrito and couldn’t concentrate on the note taking as the woman ratcheted up the story with every new absurd twist and turn of her boyfriend’s depravity. I got up from the table and went up to the bar. I asked the bartender for a to-go box and the woman whipped around on the stool, stared at her crotch, stared at me, and said, “You can have my box!”

She smiled and I laughed.

Before I could answer she added, “But you should be warned about it.”

I said, “Not today, but thanks for the offer.”

She chuckled, whipped around, and slugged back the rest of her drink.

The bartender handed me the box. I walked away to load the rest of the burrito and headed for home.