Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Little High

Yup. I said it. But, folks, this is definitely a "high on life" kind of high, not the chemically induced kind. I started the day with an interview and coffee in Outer Southeast. That was all fine. Nothing much to report. Then, I went to my first pole class in three weeks. It was just an Intermediate I class, but it was so fun to be back on the pole and I always marvel at how many women are in the stripping industry here in Portland. In Colorado, stripping is kind of treated like a woman's dirty little secret. In Portland, women are strippers and they're loud and proud about it. I find it liberating.
Then, I was hungry so I decided to hit up a happy hour somewhere. That wasn't terribly successful, but as I was tooling around Burnside looking for a place to eat (and imbibe, of course), I found the Doug Fir. Doug Fir is a lounge that is attached to the Jupiter Hotel. I walked in the restaurant and immediately the bartender, Josh, commented on my smile. He said "You have a wonderful smile. There is something so genuine about it." I get this a lot in Portland. I mean, I've heard it periodically throughout my life, but since moving here, I hear it on a pretty regular basis. I don't know if being genuine is an extremely important quality to Portlanders or if I'm just that happy here that it somehow comes through in my smile.
Anyway, I ordered a New Belgium Sunshine Wheat (the beers were disappointingly dominated by IPAs so I had to stay true to my home state in this case) and what I will call a Grown Up Mac and Cheese (gruyere cheese and bread crumbles. It was a beautiful thing!) I was reading a book and these two women (one my mom's age or older and the other in her mid-thirties) asked me what I was reading. I explained that it was Ursula Hegi and that my friend Anna bought it for me because I was moving to Portland and she thought I had to read Ursula Hegi in the Pacific Northwest (Anna was right, by the way). The older woman mentioned that she had lived in Oregon her whole life and never realized until recently how many great writers live in Portland. This long-haired, scruffy-looking guy who's probably 24 years old tops looks over at her and says "And cartoonists. There's this amazing cartoonist named _______________ (I don't remember his name) that lives in Portland. He's so talented." And, as happens way too often here, the older lady cries "That's my cousin! We're best friends." I've read about this phenomenon that seems exclusive to Portland. The Degrees of Separation game happens constantly here. Your bartender probably went to high school with your boss and the chick you met at a show last night is definitely sleeping with your roommate's best friend. It's inevitable here. Also, it's an everyday occurrence to witness people my mother and grandmother's age conversing with 20-something hipsters with ironic facial hair (and they actually have a lot in common!) So, I was treated to a wacky tale of this cartoonist-cousin's drug-laced public readings and naughty behavior. Awesome. Just awesome. Then,this set of characters decide to make a mass exodus, and I'm alone at the bar with my new buddy, Josh. Zola Jesus wails over the speakers and he wails with her. I decide to insert my one iota of musical credibility in a town of indie rock buffs by saying "Did you know she studied opera? That's why she can wail!" Josh, my new bartender friend, says "Omigod, the lead singer for the Tune-Yards, now she can wail. It gives me goosebumps." I stared at him vacantly, as I'd never heard of the Tune-Yards. See? I got one little fact in and then I was tapped out. Pathetic. Josh busts out his phone and plays the song for me and it is life-changing. He was right. Goosebumps. I scooped up my phone and instantly made a playlist of them on Spotify (Don't worry. I'm including the video. This band should be enjoyed by all.) I meet a lot of people here, as I've mentioned, because people are just disgustingly nice. However, I was instantly at ease with Josh-the-bartender-who-was-a-perfect-stranger. That's a little less common. It was like he was an old friend that I hadn't reconnected with in a few years. We're chatting about music and what he's going to do that night (evidently, it's Soul Night at The Devil's Lounge, a-SHOCKER-strip club. Soul Night is where they play exclusively Motown and soul music. Nice. Stripping for the musically conscious.)and how beer and I are in a relationship, but it's complicated (I'd love to tell that story, but it gets convoluted and you probably wouldn't enjoy it as much as we did). At a certain point in the conversation, the assistant manager of the Doug Fir asks Josh if he knows anyone who's looking for a job because they have a line cook, dishwasher, and one other position open. I blurted "I'm looking for a job! But I don't have any restaurant experience. I'm willing to start as a dishwasher." (No judgement. I don't care what job I do, as long as it keeps me in Portland. That's the priority for me.) Josh was sure to chime in and say "She's super friendly." She gave me her card and asked me to e-mail my resume to her. Bar stories, great music and fun company, and a possible job?! Good day, man. So, I go to leave and decide at the last minute to do something uncharacteristic for me, but commonplace in Portland. I said "Hey Josh, when do you work? I really enjoyed your company and would like to be in it again." Apparently, I can enjoy it Monday through Friday. I can't wait! Tune-Yards- Powa Tomorrow I'm headed to the IPRC for a First Friday concert and to hopefully see my crush.

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