Oregon Tavern Age: Summer Musings

I was sitting at the bar of an OTA joint in Oak Grove. A tattooed female bartender with a nose ring worked the room with her usual spice.

Some emaciated older man, but not OTA, was down the bar to my left, drinking a Bud and recounting to another man his career as a male dancer and gigolo in the 80s/90s and his appearance on the Maury Povich Show.

Across the room an OTA man was reading a fat paperback and eating a plate of fried food. Lifeless classic rock drifted through the air. Mindless sports talk played silently on television.

I had just concluded a shift volunteering at a street ministry that serves homeless men and women of Clackamas County.

One client in particular stuck in my mind, a young man, nicely dressed, neatly groomed. He had waited on hold for almost my entire two-hour shift with a homeless shelter in Vancouver. He told me desperately wanted off the streets.

The man finally got through to a staffer and was told he needed an appointment. The next available one was a week away. He’d have to get on a waiting list for a spot in the shelter and blah blah blah.

The man looked whipped, beat. He told me he was trying to be proactive, but it wasn’t working.

That is unacceptable in this crisis. The shelter should have immediately sent a car to pick him up and treat his desire to transition off the streets as the emergency it is.

I took a sip of my IPA and overheard more the former gigolo’s story…he was on the cover of Playgirl twice in the 80s…he was a flunky in the adult entertainment industry…he was in movies…



I didn’t give a shit.

It wasn’t worth listening to anymore (if it ever was) so I left the room for the smoking porch and some peace and quiet.

I guess I’ve lost my interest in hearing OTA stories, at least metro Portland ones. They are so dull in comparison with coastal tales. In fact, there is no comparison.

Give me an osprey dropping an eel from the sky and knocking out a woman in her yard over a man who said he graced the cover of Playgirl any day of the week.

But I need coastal Oregon Tavern Age country for that.