Oregon Tavern Age: Porter

I walked into an OTA joint for the first time. It was a rainy, gray Tuesday afternoon and I wanted a dark beer and some quiet joint to work on my latest Oregon Coast Christmas tale. I was supposed to stop writing them last Christmas, but here I was writing one again.

There was a strong possibility that I was the only writer in Oregon, perhaps in all of America, who was writing a Christmas tale where Carlo Rossi wine, the Vietnam War and a waterfall were instrumental to the plot.

As soon I pushed open the door, I knew I had the right place.

Six people sat at the bar. They were hitting it pretty hard and talking loudly, talking bullshit about celebrities and grudges. Luckily the joint has a far corner away from the tumult. I spied a little table near a window that over looked a street named for a former British Prime Minster who was more sophisticated and progressive 170 years ago than Britain’s current boorish and fascist Prime Minister.

I ordered a porter at the bar. Apparently two kids were drinking with their parents which struck me as incredibly odd.

I carried the porter to my table. I couldn’t hear the banality at the bar. I sipped the porter. Damn good. It tasted like a porter and not hazelnut or apricot or chocolate. Any time I drink a porter I am transported back in time to one of the most mysterious and beguiling women I have ever known. She was a porter drinker. That was it. Porter only and chased with psychedelics. She was a character in a novel living off the page in real life. I wonder where she is today. She wanted to write a book. Maybe she did.

An OTA man came over to the pinball tables near me. He played and cussed. I set up my writing things and went to work. I had a deadline. Christmas was coming and this was my gift to friends and family. Outside a woman was sitting at a picnic table drinking a shot of something and playing on her phone while rain fell.

The writing went well. I expanded the story. Whenever that happens, you know you’re on a roll. Then of course, you cut most of it out.

Thirty minutes later, I was the only customer left and I liked that feeling in a big city. I considered ordering a second porter, but, well, there was still work to do.