Ok, so it. just. keeps. happening.
It can’t just be me?
I live in a ‘hood that is kind of a nexus for just about any culture or entertainment interest: dining out, theater, happy hour, shopping…bum wrestling. It has the added advantage of being centrally located in Portland, so it’s a great meeting spot for our very own bridge and tunnel crowd. That’s a literal slam, by the way; people coming in from our Eastside suburbs have to use one of seven bridges to get to the Pearl District while their Westside counterparts pass through a tunnel as they hurl themselves down highway 26 to get into town.
Actually, I was open to the possibility that it was just me up until just yesterday. You see, my original E.O.G. moment generally – or most frequently – occurred at my local watering hole, The Big Legrowlski. It has a bar that seats about six – maybe eight yoga mom body types, but really only four American normal body types. The tables are small, round and stylish, maybe 24″ across, but I’d guess 20″. They seat four uncomfortably. You’d actually think that would be enough of a clue about capacity or group size…larger groups don’t really fit here. Plus, the concrete floors allow noise to bounce the hell all over the place.
Not the figurative fat guys in their little suits. They go where they want, those little tables drag over that cement floor in an annoyingly easy and jarringly loud fashion so daisy chaining three or four of them together is NBD. Therefore, their group of 6-10 can easily just overtake a room, even if they have to huddle around one table like bums around a trash can fire until the awkwardness of their presence frees up two or three additional nearby tables.
I’m not sure if The Big Legrowlski put in the three large Persian carpets that give The Rug Room its name to enhance their Big Lebowski theme, make it harder to move the tables or just dampen the noise of the too-large groups that are going to rearrange their furniture anyway.
The point was rendered moot after yesterday.
I was out wine tasting in Hood River with my Little Buddy and her fiancé, 2.0 and complaining about this very phenomenon – they are very accommodating (or entertained) by my grumpy old man-ness. It was the Little Buddy who coined my behavior E.O.G. after seeing a skit about it on Portlandia. But there we were at AniChe, picking up our pre-ordered wine bounty from their semi-annual case sale when it hit me. There was a fat guy/little suit group in our midst. Specifically, a large group – ten-ish and growing, small dog included – at the first table off the main aisle, which also housed the charcuterie buffet for the event. Plus, they’d even brought their own snacks.
I was rather perturbed. Sure, this repurposed downtown bank building was large enough for this physically bloated and census growing group, the tables even had six chairs around them…so, welcome! But at least put yourselves on the periphery of the seating area, for god sake. Getting snackage with them between all but one table and the buffet was kind of like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
And to add insult to injury, these appeared to be my people.
We should know better. This is just a party foul of ungracious proportions. It simply isn’t done.
One of the things I love about the Pearl is that it is by and large a boutique neighborhood, not a sprawling suburb. A fishbowl, if you will. That said, most of the businesses cater to walk in clients from the surrounding blocks.
Oh, the agony of these poor Bridge and tunnel bastards who either can’t find parking or have to pay to park their vehicles in my neighborhood.
It’s almost like the universe is trying to send them a message.
Not that there aren’t some larger venue options for larger groups: Fatheads Brewery, Tilt, Holsteins (coming soon) and – I dunno – Whole Foods?
They just choose not to go there.
Back to an earlier point real quick, I wasn’t kidding about the bum wrestling. Well, it’s more of randomly occurring, strung out yelling than wrestling. Possibly even yelling at no actual person. But that, too, is part of living in the Pearl. Our Central City Co-op and Union Gospel Mission have significant holdings of old buildings scattered around the Pearl and Old Town neighborhoods from back when this zip code was nearly as destitute as their homeless clientele. I love living in an area that has a diverse socio-economic make up, keeps it real. I rarely get frustrated with the shambling, rambling and urban camping shenanigans of these folks because the vast majority of them don’t choose to be homeless, addicted or mentally unwell.
These fat guys in little suits, however, could choose appropriately-fitting venues for the size of their groups…they just fail to do so. They’re like the modern version of a bridal party in a gay bar on a Saturday night…you’re kinda out of place and it’s not all about you.
Making these fat guys in their little suits part of the problem.