Oregon Tavern Age: Wimbledon

Sun scorched OTA country. Everyone prayed for rain except the Chambers of Commerce. They hate rain because rain doesn’t sell. They can’t market it although it is our most precious commodity.

Wimbledon played silently on television in a far dark corner. No one was watching but me. Love those grass courts and the funky bounces. Love that zero in tennis is love.

I was surprised the joint was showing the tournament. I wondered if anyone in here had ever played tennis. Tennis was dead in America and I don’t see it ever resurrecting as the nation’s one number recreational pastime, like it in the 70s. We’ve changed too much. We can’t shuffle side to side for ten minutes, let alone an hour. We could never keep track of the score in our heads, either.

The hustle and bustle of modern popular Oregon threw up a din outside.

I waited for someone and I suspected that someone wouldn’t show up.

An ad for a new Marvel movie came on. Will the superhero movie juggernaut ever run aground? I finally understand why Westerns dominated the mainstream American cultural landscape in the 50s and and early 60s. We wanted exactly the same thing from entertainment.

An OTA man limped across the room, then stopped and took a hit off an inhaler. I assumed it was for asthma.

Venus Williams’ match began. She lost the first point on a forehand long. A few minutes later, her opponent broke Venus’ serve.

Men talked about living on boats, but not by choice. I think they were crew members on the nearby homeless fleet.

I looked around: everyone seem invalided in some form. There was a surfeit of OTA weirdos, which is a rarity, like seeing a compassionate Republican in Congress.

It occurred to me that OTA country seemed destined for the dustbin of Oregon history. I doubt it will last another decade.

Venus went down 3-0.

I thought about the last match of my high school tennis career, at the state tournament. I choked. The pressure and the stage crushed me. It remains the only time I choked in my life.

The bartender whipped up jello-shots for the breakfast special.

I thought back to 1986 and how I patronized the first brew pubs in Oregon, in Portland. They were the genesis of the craft beer movement in the state and kind of funky and disheveled in their appearance. They had pool tables and jukeboxes and no kids were allowed. Nothing but the Grateful Dead played on mixed tapes. I see now it was the beginning of the end for OTA country. I wonder if I’ll be around to write its final obituary.

That someone never showed up.