Since beginning of this blog, I have always made the effort to spill my thoughts and guts onto the typeface screen on a semi-regular basis. More often than not, if a few days were to have passed without writing, it became a point of stress for me, forcing the catharsis of pounding keys and coffee.
Yes, readers, it has been almost a month since my last post. Time just seemed to have gotten away from me there for a while. Focusing so heavily on the little things day in and day out, you develop this sort of tunnel vision for life. You focus enough to make it through the work day, decide on what's for dinner to satiate rumbling guts and try to salvage enough energy to finish the night off with a couple of beers. All the while, mind you, spent under a financial strain of money being spent before you even get paid. It's a sort of overdrive pace involving too much coffee and not enough sleep. It keeps you lean and hungry, peeled and cored.
With the way our lives have been lived lately, Robin and I have stumbled sleepily upon a different plane of existence. We work ourselves to the bone and the reward is getting to spend the afternoons and nights wrapped up in each other, burning away the days with cigarettes and cans of cheap beer. Sleepy kisses and sunlight reflecting off the the television screen become the perfect compliment to the discussions of religion, god, horror movies and music we wile away the evenings with. These nights are ours, removed from the outside world and the stress-inducing stupidity of other human beings.
There are the moments, though, when we drag our weary bodies off of the couch and spend some well-earned time with those closest to us. As with everything else in our quiet lives, these gatherings become a celebration of excess. Sleep becomes a last priority while we pamper ourselves with food and drink.
A while back, a friend of ours from California came to visit. It had been quite a while since we had seen Heather Number Two and we were all very anxious to see her. The first night we all gathered together, Mike's band Faster Housecat (formerly known in this blog as Stone Cold Dreamers), had a show booked at a local dive bar called Katie O'Briens. This was the first official venue show for the band and the third of their career. We got a hold of as many friends as possible to garner support for our friends in the band. Everyone came out of the woodwork that night. Matty, fresh out of surgery was there with Frankie, as well as other friends and companions. It was the first we had seen of them in a while.
It was good to be back in the arms of our friends, especially with $2.50 cans of Tecate being passed across the bar into our thirsty hands. We passed the hours with conversations and drinks, anxiously awaiting the band's set. For a first show at a real venue, the band totally nailed it. It was good to be soaked in their music and a few cans of beer. Afterwards, none of us were ready to call it a night just yet. Bathed in the soft light of the bar's patio, we continued our conversations and beer-drinking. It got to be that time, though, when calling it a night simply had to happen. It was one a.m. and I needed to be up for work in less than four hours.
Robin and I made it safely home, still slightly anxious from the band and the honest-to-goodness companionship we had within our grasp for the whole night. Three hours of sleep later, I was back on my feet for work. The next night we were reunited with Mike and Heather for another Rad Saturday. Running on overdrive yet again, I spent the night with drinks, music, friends and Robin. Another evening wound up going late into the night. Luckily, I didn't have to punch the clock at the break of dawn.
After heading home, I crawled into bed with Robin. I woke up the next morning at 6 a.m. to Robin in the kitchen asking "Why are you sleeping out here??". Shaking the sleep from my eyes, I looked at my surroundings. Yes, I was definitely on the couch. I had absolutely no recollection as to why I was there, I responded just as confusedly to her question with a "...I have no idea...". I'm sure there's some reasonable explanation as to why I was on the couch, but I am going to go with the more logical excuse that someone had put something in my drink, Because I felt like total shit. I didn't drink nearly enough to be as hungover as I was.
Half-hungover for my shift at work, the day was kind of a blur. It was Heather Number Two's last night in town, so plans were made for dinner and drinks that night at some random bar. Dealing with the inane traffic downtown because of Pride Fest, Robin and I finally found parking a few blocks away from Rock Bottom Brewery. We found our group of friends, ordered drinks and kickstarted the evening. Sleepy as I was, I felt good. The night was destined to stretch late into the evening yet again. In support of Pride Fest, someone offered up the idea to go to C.C. Slaughter's, the biggest and bestest gay bar in town known for cheap drinks and general acceptance of everybody.
On our way there, we landed smack in the middle of PDX's yearly Naked Bike Ride. The first summer we were in town, Robin and I happened to be at a show downtown. Unbeknownst to us, we were right on the corner where the bike ride was to take place. All of the sudden, a seemingly million naked guys on bikes began riding past. It was a sausage fest in every sense of the term. It was funny, albeit slightly gross. This year's bike ride, however, had just as many girls as guys. Which means I was allowed to stare at all the boobs without getting in trouble. It was a blast to see so many people free and comfortable parading down the street completely in the nude. That takes more balls than I'll ever have.
Afterwards, we made our way to C.C.'s and, for the first time in my life, I waited in line to get into the club. It was a slightly strange feeling. I got a text from Heather around 11:30pm asking what we were doing. I told her we were downtown and unable to hang out. She told us she was going to drop Mike off to meet up with us. Apparently she had had enough of Drunk Mike, so she pawned him off on us. I would take him home later. After getting to the front of the line, Mike still wasn't there. I waited in view of the bouncers for him to show up. Upon his arrival, I told the doorman "He's with me" and we made our way into the club. Chalk up another first for me. I felt like a V.I.P. of some sort.
It was my first time at a gay bar, and the experience was a total blast. Because of Pride Fest, it was a slightly bit more of a flamboyant atmosphere than it normally would be. I saw the merit in all of it, though. The place was full of energy, gay and straight. The pounding music and the unadulterated freedom was almost tangible. I was in a place where I had no reason to judge anyone and, in turn, was completely exempt from being judged on looks myself. It was such an open and accepting environment it was contagious. Hell, I even had fun half-dancing to techno music.
While waiting in line to order beers, Robin found a Jagermeister wife-beater on the floor that Mike almost too quickly put on and began dancing. A gay couple in front of us got such a kick out of it that they bought a round of Jager for the three of us. Egh. I don't ever drink the shit, but I wasn't going to disrespect their kind offer. After the shots, Mike, in honor of the almighty Dillinger Four, ordered the two of us Doublewhiskeycokenoices. It was my first one in years, but given the circumstances of the evening, it was the perfect drink.
As much as I would have loved to stay there all night drinking and socializing with close friends and random people, it became time to say our goodbyes after Mike got kicked out of the bar (for reasons still unknown to us). After getting slightly lost in the clusterfuck of one-ways and closed-off streets downtown, we found our way back to our side of town. Mike had been passed out in the car since I began driving. I took him home and relinquished him into Heather's care. By the time Robin and I got home, I was still reeling from the excitement of the night, and it took me a while to actually fall asleep. I crashed out for two hours and was back up for work.
That Sunday night, completely worn out from the past weekend and a little shaky on my feet, we began a new tradition. Robin, Mike and Heather are all obsessed with a god-awful television show that will go unnamed in this blog. That night was the season premiere and, although I can't stand the vapidity of the idiotic show, we all got together to watch it and cookout. Thus began the weekly routine of cooking out on Sunday nights and watching said show. It's the perfect way to spend Sunday nights. It's always a low-key gathering and it gives us all a chance to recharge our batteries before getting back to the drudgery of early morning shifts at work.
Robin and I's daily routines work for us quite well. Without expectations for anyone most of the week, it's been quite an adventure to become closer to Mike and Heather. They share the same ideals and passions as us, they work as hard as us and like to play just as hard.
Although Robin and I have plans to leave Portland after she finishes school, it's friends like them that make us completely happy to have ended up here in the Pacific Northwest. It's a kind of camaraderie that is authentic, without any stigmas or judgement. Except when I'm making fun of their precious "television show" full of rednecks and inbred morons.