"these days in portland"
Fridays are the great american go out and drink beer in your nice casual clothes nights. that is what it looks like in the flanders street pub just a hop skip and 5 blocks away from my apartment. it is thick walled with tan wood and there are gleaming steel fermenting barrels behind a glass panneled wall behind the bar. like many tiny upscale taverns in this town they brew their own beer. the bar area has just a few tall tables and a short bar so it is not a crazy crowded place. it is a sports bar and waiting area there is a television dedicated to espn and two very inconvenient dart boards centered by a tall table with two more people than it was designed to have sitting around it. none seem concerned that the darts wizzing by could run errant and become that peircing they may have been concidering so they could start down the road to deviant trendiness. no one is overly peirced here. i probably have the most holes in my ears at 9 and i too am not wearing any earrings. they encircle the table so everyone can sit in but everyone has to reach in for there porter or ale. there really is no beer here it is all given a short title to distinguish it from other common brewed beverages, much like sir paul mccarthy or sir bob geldof are distinguished from other musicians. i am not certain what to do in this environment. i do not go to bars often. especially straight ones. I am here to see the contrypolitans, a blues/rockabilly/country band whose guitarist/singer I have met. Elizibeth works at the oregonian in the homes and gardens section so she calls the firm to see if there are any interesigng homes to photograph. the band plays with a kick ass, get out of my way drive that delivers the music with a punch that makes you understand being a masochist. i am not to familiar with music so i do not have much at my disposal to compare them to but i would say that if you have heard "wrecking ball" by X then you have an idea of what they sound like. she dedicated an original song to me. something about a lonely heart. I do not belive she was saying anything. i would tell you the lyrics but they have no tapes or cds yet so i could not purchase a copy to have the words handy. i have never had anyone dedicate a song to me before. i usually do not go places where music is played. she also told the audience in the dedication that i have the greatest phone voice in portland. the base player then piped up that i must be a sex phone operator. oh those wacky missunderstandings. Elizibeth wore a blue/green plaid suit, very trim and he wore overalls and a blue tee-shirt that a bit of tattoo peeked out from the sleeve. i could not see the other guitarist, drummer or keyboardist well. i think the other guitarist had a dalmation strap. it was fun music and it seemed like the kind of music people would dance to but nobody dances in sports bars. to maximize the space the musicans play on a small square balcony above the restrooms which reminds me of the side stages for the country bear jamboree and this time the music would have fit right in.
it is sunday morning. January skies pant out flumes of grey like a race horse after a hard nights run. the cold air congeals against the dark bare wood like pallored shadows. snow lays itself long against the wall tops and stair rails like a waiting mistress, pure until touched, languid with patience. three inches of powdery fluffy snow layers the trees and churches. no cars rumble down the street and few people are walking by. silence comes on cold white feet. i want to go out and play. Niether of my roommates are up yet. i have a plan. not knowing how cold it is i toss on a pair of jeans and a thermal top for my quick jaunt outside. after i have stepped down the front stairs and onto the side walk the ruffle of an icy wind pushes me back inside for some layering. i am on the verge of wearing every article of clothing i have but then i would never be able to bend my knees and elbows so i settle on two pairs of long underwear and socks beneath my original garments. it is better. i crinch crunch my way through the snowy walkways to micky D's or mcdonalds for the hep impared. personally i like sausage mcmuffins and therefore everyone in my apartment will like them as well. using this skewed knowledge i will entice them from their hibernation with hot and tasty breakfast treats and then convince them to play in the snow with me. unfortunately MY McDONALDS (as the short lived commercial implied) is staffed by either an extremely kind or extremely despartate manager because i ordered 3 sausage mcmuffins and 3 egg mcmuffins and when i opened the bag in my kitchen i had 3 sausage biscuts and 3 egg and bacon biscuts and one egg mcmuffin. perhaps it had been a switch with another order but I was the only person there. while i might want to play in the snow i was not going to walk back to the golden arches (which this mc d does not have.) and complain for an exchange. that is not fun. luckily my roommates are not really up on their Mcdonaldland menus so they thought it was very tasty indeed. full bellies alone did not suffice to tempt them outside so plenty of begging and maniacal smiling had to be applied. I really wanted to go to the zoo to see the polar bears in a much more natural environment and to see what other animals might be out in the snow but the zoo was closed. we decided to go throw snowballs in the rose gardens in washington park which is on the way to the zoo. we spent the walk up doing our community service by swiping the snow off of the windshields of parked cars and using it to form snowballs for preliminary skirmishes before the big battle at the rose gardens. no one had gone out yet so the sidewalks were so clean and smooth it seemed abandoned until we arrived and then it seemed fun. there were two people skiing on the trails in the park and we threw snowballs past them. As though they could chase us up hill if they were angry. the park was quite wonderful with the tall conifers frosted with fans of ice and snow. the snow was quite dry and powdery so every step settled in a bit and was not very slippery. the curved cement stairways that lead up through the trees to the gardens seemed like great milky waterfalls cutting between the towering black wood. the green undersides of leaves were still visible on most shrubs and the hedgwalls in the rosegarden were like wided green sideboards topped with white runners. they are the best for hunt and doge snowball battles with each of us changing alliances to turn against the new hapless victim of the moment. our black pea coats turned checked with clinging flakes of snow and our cheeks flushed pink with adreneline and the sting of snow. the sky grew quiet and the flat crystal matrixes stopped drifting down but we yelled and charged and pelted everybody and every thing with snow. two guys in eddie bauer snow jackets were caught in the cross fire and decided to join in. then when we all headed for the half circle ampitheater there were several people down there and while the two girls joined in there 3 guy friends went to the outside of the battle ground to stay untouched. so when we all felt cold and giddy we turned against them as a pack with single minded determination. the one in the black and tan sportcoat and black turtleneck didn not seem too put out but the short blond guy in the blue padded jacket just turned sour and trudged off. the girls gathered up the other two guys and went after him. that killed the mood so the other two eddie bauer guys went off with a few half hearted snowball tosses. on the way out of the gardens there was a climbing rose archway that had faded blooms on false coaxed roses glinting presreved under a glaze of ice like folded chandielers over the white carpet below. now we were cold and wet and it was time to go home for some cocoa. but we did not have any cocoa so we had to go to the market i was whistling the girl from Ipanema and a passing woman said " you are a long way from Ipanema." that is true but it is the only tropical thing i could think of. Zupans Market is on the way down burnside from the park so we stopped in there. the produce section had slices of pineapple and strawberry to sample and crackers and salmon spread in the deli section. there was no one doleing them out so we snacked most unashameldly the pineapple was so tasty that i had to buy one. only 3 dollars but not very big. we also bought cocoa and doughnuts and thougt about a tub of salmon spread but decided against it. we were the only people in the store who looked like it had been snowing outside. this is an upscale market and everyone there had that nordstroms tailored wool look to them and had probably steped into the snow for the few short steps from their car to the market door. does having nice things make you loose your sense of adventure and crazy fun or are the refined sense of madcap antics so subdued that you never have to worry about looking like you are having a good time. well that is just a thought. we went home and put all the wet coats in the bathroom on the shelf over the heater and made cocoa and watched the dark crystal. i had never realized that you could get so wet. i know that snow is frozen water but i thought that it just fell off aftersnowball fighting.
oh well you learn something every day. whether or not you remember is another matter.
tue, 13 jan 1998
bryan leaves portland to spiel from boston
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