Oregon Tavern Age: Degenerate Wednesday

Match Game plays silently on a screen above the bar in a southeast Portland dump. Gene, Charles, Brett and Richard are sloshed and hamming it up.

Def Leppard plays on the digital jukebox. Hard to believe they’re on the road again and gigging Portland this summer.

OTA degenerates abound, gambling, hitting the sauce hard. I am surrounded by them on a Wednesday afternoon as I put the final touches on my new children’s book about a husky and the homeless. Writing a kid’s book surrounded by degenerates: how’s that for an absurd juxtaposition!

I drink a mediocre IPA and sit toward the back taking in the joint’s crusty ambiance and eavesdrop.

One OTA woman predicts Trump will win. She just knows it. It’s the best thing for America. She also informs her OTA friends that she just left her husband of 35 years. No reason was offered.

An OTA man is losing his rent money to a slot machine and bragging about it.

Another OTA man at the bar boasts about his friend’s firearm collection.

I think another OTA woman is a kind of prostitute because she’s sort of soliciting an OTA man to join her outside for some kind of illicit activity.

A Culture Club song comes on. Is Boy George Dead?

At a far table, an OTA man is asleep.

An OTA Asian man walks in using a cane. I’ve never seen an OTA Asian man before.

A young, bearded and shoeless homeless man darts inside, places quarters on a few tables (not mine) and darts out.

A rotund OTA man asks another OTA man, a landscaper when he’s sober (or drunk), if he can come over and mow his lawn. He’ll barter for payment—weed or a blow job.

Christ almighty I miss OTA country on the Oregon Coast! There is simply no storytelling going on in these Portland dives. Do these OTAs have no stories to tell? All my reports from the places are merely observational because there is never anyone telling a good story, or even a boring one.

You have to get out into the world to have a story to tell. Are the degenerates in here not doing that anymore?

Oh to be back in the Sea Star on Free Pool Sunday!

Nothing gold can stay.

The alleged prostitute an her possible customer leave the bar. I watch a bit of Match Game and listen to a Hall and Oates song, “Kiss on My List.” I hear a hot lyric: If you insist on blowing my bliss.

I get up to leave and walk out the door. I look left. The prostitute is giving a blow job to her customer in the front seat of a battered sedan she is clearly living out of.

Now that’s not really a story someone in OTA country told, but I’ll take it.