It’s the last day before the papers come pouring in and it’s time to grade.
In other words, it was my last night before all came crushing in with the intent of destroying me. So it was a quick pitstop into Margaritaville before I saw this term of the dead to the end.
I woke up early, probably earlier than I should have. I was stressed out so I got very stoned the night before. Way more stoned than I normally did, one could say that it was, “bubonic chronic that made me choke, Shit, this ain’t no joke.”
Regardless, I woke up and was able to fall asleep just a little bit. The night before I had raided my neighbor’s kitchen while watching their child and ended up storing all their beer. I got out of bed, finally, and took a shower savoring a can of beer before I was ready to go.
I walked upstairs hoping to catch CV in a mood for breakfast as he implied he may be days before. He was gone, so I went ahead and made myself something healthy to eat that isn’t that interesting to talk about.
CV came downstairs just as I was finishing and asked if I wanted breakfast. The pot, the alcohol, and the general gluttony the day before the evil papers came in spoke to me, and I accepted.
CV and I had a good conversation while he made a proper breakfast. I had less than I might normally have had, as this was second breakfast, but we had a nice conversation.
I then got a call from the Rogue (who is back in town, more about him in future updates) asking if I was busy. It was a nice thing to be asked.
The Rogue showed up with a six pack of off-brand Mexican beer, this being Cinco De Mayo, and that made a nice finish to my breakfast. CV informed us that he couldn’t smoke anything in the house that day, so the Rogue and I took our hats off in respect and were off.
4306 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97217
We only passed by the Vendetta, but it’s worth talking about as the weather in Portland turns nicer. In previous years, CV and I had found the balcony to be one of the best beer gardens in Portland. There’s a slight hipster vibe to the bar in general, but it’s reliable and the bartenders are amicable. In the past, Rogue and I had preferred the bar inside for some reason. Probably the shuffleboard.
Once Rogue had gone off to the bathroom while I held down the table as things grew increasingly busy. I waited patiently and then saw a blonde, drink in hand, looking for a place to sit. I’m normally not a blonde guy (gentlemen prefer blondes, and I’m a goddamned barbarian), but she was pretty and there was an opportunity to be exploited. I invited her to sit down at our table.
And we got along nicely.
Rogue emerged from the bathroom and had a drink and played wingman for me. It worked out well as we both knew each other’s strengths by that point. The blonde seemed to be having a good time, showed genuine interest, and Rogue was doing quite well at being charming but subtly passing the ball to me each time.
But the problem occurred when the blonde cued over her friend, a desperate guy a little younger than the rest of us that was painfully in love with the blonde while she was seemingly completely unaware.
I should take a moment to talk about the “friend zone.” Despite how this series comes off sometimes, I’m in no way a pick-up artist or an MRA. When my thoughts sound like I’m being a jerk (I almost certainly am being a jerk) but it’s also because, at heart, I’m still an insecure child being chosen last for football in sixth grade. I in no way think that if you’re nice to a girl she should have to fuck you. Or that if she likes you as a friend that you deserve sex.
The friend zone is a place occupied by both men and women. It’s a place that I have spent time, and a place that I know that I have condemned girls despite pretending not to know.
It is not a pleasant place to be because you know what you’re doing isn’t working. Innately, you know that she (or he) isn’t going to actually turn around some day and say, “It was you the entire time!” I spent a good part of my twenties hoping that would happen with someone. And I would do things like try to change my personality, or showboat a talent, all while remaining her friend in hopes that this new (entirely fictional) part of myself would get her to that point. It, of course, never worked. She pretended not to know what I was doing for the sake of my dignity (probably the best thing a friend could do for me) and I continued to pine for a while. Now the entire episode is a deep well of shame to which I can always return.
So I understood FriendZone and his attempts to change the conversation on to himself and to one-up me at every turn with obvious fictional flourish. Since I had been FriendZone, I tried to be a friend to him as someone had been a friend to me; and as the blonde was a friend to him. We all pretended not to know. However, my own well of shame from the past was threatening to boil over, and so Rogue and I politely made our exits, much to the obvious joy of FriendZone. I never saw the blonde again.
Rogue and I talked about this story as we drove by the Vendetta on this day in question. I hoped FriendZone had his shore with the blonde, but I know that he didn’t. And so do you, fair reader.
Mock’s Crest Park
2206 N Skidmore Ter Portland, OR 97217
Better known as, “the Bluffs,” Mock’s Crest Park is something of a legend. Or it was a few years ago when the Rogue and I started heading over there. At the time I lived in the neighborhood with WaЯRen and it was just starting to become a big deal. It was a terribly kept secret in Portland, but always a lot of fun and generally mellow. Sitting on high bluffs you look out across the river and train yards as the sun sets, most people mellow and drinking beers between puffs of pot.
It became less cool a little while ago for reasons I’m no longer in the loop about, but this Cinco de Mayo Rogue and I returned and the Bluffs and it seemed to be getting cool again as the temperature increased.
Rogue and I sat on a log and had a few beers that we had picked up from the local Plaid. It’s unusual for me to smoke pot, but these days before the papers were precious, and I wanted to forget about the looming responsibility.
The thing about trying to forget about your own responsibility is that it’s always in the back of your head. Rogue and I sat mostly quietly smoking and sipping on cheap Mexican beer watching the young and the beautiful around us discover and enjoy the cool place that we had already seen to its cool conclusion once before.
We were only in our thirties, but without ever having had full time jobs it was hard to escape the conclusion that we had created nothing. We were already ghosts watching the young enjoy their lives. We hashed out plans to join the living in a haze of smoke and alcohol on our breath. The sun was bright and beautiful people were doing beautiful things in Portland.
But we were soon back at my house where we had beer and giant dirty martinis in plastic glasses made with poor ingredients in the dark. At that moment, at least, it’s where we belonged.
GradStudent called, wondering if I was going to go to the department party. I was not, and it was already wrapping up by that point anyway. But I said that if she wanted an after party drink, I’d go ahead and meet her.
809 Washington St, Vancouver, WA 98660
We went to Low Bar, which is a hipster bar in Vancouver. Vancouver is getting some of the Portland influence, and for someone the area hasn’t biased, it could be a cool enough place. Even acknowledging this, I could not live there. Vancouver is all about living close to the city with the idea of sometimes going into it, but never really doing it. Work is simply
I had a few good beers and we had a nice enough talk about work and whatnot. But by the time her ride came, it was time for me to go.
I sat down at my desk and declared my break over.
The call to do something with my life is seductive, and it’s easy to get lost in the present instead of seeing what’s going on in the greater scheme of things. I can feel quagmired and stuck in life, but like Friendzone, I need to look critically around me and see what I have and what I don’t have. When it comes down to it, I do have a lot more than I think. But like Friendzone, I need to see what I’m missing and why I am doing it. It’s easy to be seduced by a cult of consumption, but I want to be on the other end of it—to make things that can be consumed.