I’m not an overly dramatic person.
Well, ok. Maybe I should say, when it comes to places I’m not an overly dramatic person. Being a walker, I tend to make the most of my little fishbowl. If a place makes a good cup of coffee or has a tasty tap list, I’m probably a regular.
Yet, the other day, I walked into a place that I undramatically walked out of back in January, saying that I wasn’t coming back.
It was the only time I’ve said that in quite some time. Well, to be honest, though…it wasn’t the first time I had thought thatin 2017.
The first time I thought it was walking out of a bar that is in a three-way tie for the second worst gay bar in Portland. This particularbar has one beer my palate appreciates and zero ambiance.
In my neighborhood, you’re rubbing elbows with Portland’s dirty millionaires and Portland’s plain, old dirty. In this bar, you’re trying hard to keep the plain dirty from rubbing anything of theirs anywhere near anything of yours.
It’s the closest gay bar and virtually closest bar to my place.
This place has one of those old style movie theater type popcorn poppers that serves up the good stuff for free throughout the day. I don’t ask about the cleaning schedule…I assume there isn’t one.
On the night in question, I ordered my beer, dropped my coat in front of a video gambling machine and grabbed a bowl of popcorn.
I sat down, sipped my beer, slipped in a $20 and tossed back a handful of the Kernel’s Special Recipe.
And choked as my tastebuds were assaulted by the flavor warm cardboard. Gross! I tried another handful and gaped at the traitorous bowl of obviously airpopped atrocious-ness before me.
I moved to the bar and calmly demanded an explanation, only to be told that some crackhead had run off with the popping chamber the weekend before. Frankly, I was amazed that the damn thing hadn’t been fused to its housing by about 30 years of grease and salt. But maybe the crackhead in question had some latent PCP strength.
What I do know is that I walked out of there thinking the place had lost the one thing it had going for it and that…I was never coming back again.
Nothing dramatic about that.
So, this place from the other day. Toward the end of last summer, this place I like to stop when I get off the train from work got a new cook.
Cookie was his blog name.
Anyway, Cookie is this precious type person who makes up a lot of shit about how fabulous he is. How desired he is by so many. His random porn career. Stories about his exes – more than I could keep straight…more than I suspect he could keep straight. His heroic battle with cancer.
So precious. Also, dramatic.
Anyway, he thought he had me by the balls and I enjoyed his random chatter as I swilled. I didn’t pay too much attention to what he said because it became fairly clear early on that he wasn’t keeping his shit straight.
Naturally, I was surprised when he was surprised I wouldn’t sleep with him. Sorry…cuddle. I really hope my health plan covers corrective procedures for repetitive eye roll injury. Anyway, setting that record straight, I continued my bi-weekly visits to his bar and wrote off most of what he said.
The next week he suddenly had a boyfriend.
That escalated predictably.
He started instant messaging me on Facebook at all hours of the night.
Come see me.
Men are jerks.
Work is boring.
Come see me.
How are you?
🎼🎼Which one of these things is not like the others?🎼🎼
Occasionally I would attempt to steer him away from potential mines I could see him steaming toward.
Naturally, that was a bad idea.
I went in one day and was admittedly grumpy. He walked up and started chattering at me about his boyfriend drama. Check that…ex boyfriend drama.
Yeah. He didn’t love what I had to contribute to that conversation.
Actually, he started screaming at me.
In his work place.
You don’t know me.
How long has it been since you’ve even dated?
You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Don’t tell me to keep my voice down.
Thank god his phone rang and he left to take a call.
Hey, he’s 26. I knew if I just left him to his own devices, he’d distract himself eventually.
He left to take his phone call and I used the opportunity to close out. As I was signing out, the bartender apologized to me.
“No worries, he’s 26”, I said, “but I doubt I’ll be back. Seems like a good one to steer clear of going forward.”
He starts tripping over himself; apologizing, telling me what days not to come in to avoid Cookie.
I apologize and demur, I’ve seen him here on his days off. Plus, who wants to plan my spontaneity?
So I left and didn’t give it a second thought.
I may not quit places too often, but people…people I quit, no problem. There is, after all, only so much shit, up with which I will put. I forget who said that. It makes me laugh every time I say it, though.
As I mentioned, against my better judgment, I walked back in the other day. I’d run into the other bartender I like – he also works at PDX. He asked why he hadn’t seen me lately. After telling the short version, he laughs and says, “Cookie hasn’t worked there in ages! Got fired months ago.” Then he tells me he works Wednesdays and Fridays and get my ass in there.
I drop in on Wednesday last.
He wasn’t there.
Hey man, if you don’t have popcorn, you’d better have decent people to draw me in…I’ll give it another crack this week.
If he’s there, great.
If not? I’m never going back there again.