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The Sandy Slut...
The Sandy Slut...
In Seattle, my favorite bar, long dead now, used to be a place on Broadway that was a starting point for many and an ending point for many more, though it could function just fine as a destination as well. Strong drinks, sexy people, eclectic crowds... It was a place for locals, Hill people, though not limited to any single sub-culture, and it was the starting point for many 2 AM beer runs with friends and strangers and the mid-point of many sleepless nights.
It was good.
In Portland, The Sandy Hut reminds me of this place, though only once I have met people there and made the 2 AM beer run. Usually I am not there that late, I think I have only closed the place down three times or so in the time I have lived in Portland, and two of those times were with a sexy, though platonic, female friend. When we hung out around strangers, our social life (sex life) was usually stunted because we appeared to be a couple. Less socialization with those around us, less sleepless nights...
Still, the Slut is the place that reminds me the most of my old favorite bar in many ways. The type of place where it is possible to start or refuel a long night's journey towards dawn. A place where one night hookups are an integral part of the dive mistique, regardless if it is only just an image, a myth, or a survivng memory of times past.
Though I am usually leaving by the time this place is picking up, I still like to go there from time to time, to read, have a drink and feel ten years younger for a couple hours. I am usually there too early to meet people, or if I am still there later, I am too tired to be very social, let alone to run off and play.
In too few places these days are conversations amonst strangers possible. Too many people live in compartmentalized worlds where their community is hand selected and closed to the outside. Few people want to talk with the people at the table next to them, want to share those nights with people who may be different from themselves and their pocket of simmilar friends... From what I see, the Sandy Slut is not a good place to go for people like this.
The seating usually requires sharing a table. The floorspace versus the crowd usually encourages interaction. And, from what I have seen, many people there are looking to make those 2 AM beer runs, to keep the night going until everyone is burned out and faded with the sunrise. Keeping the night's potential alive for as long as possible...
When I am there, the place is usually quiet. There have been a few times when it has been busy earlier, usually a lingering group who started with the dawn or missed the dawn completely and are still on the night before.
Unfortunately/Fortunately, I am past such marathon adventures. But it is nice to be around them from time to time, to live vicariously for an hour or two. And when it is quiet in the Slut, it is also nice to be there and to just soak in the quite literal stench of such times... It smells like the past, better behind than ahead, but there were fun times too.
And it reminds me that all things are possible.
Last night, I burned out and came home early. I wanted to stay later and to take mental notes so I could write about what I saw, but just as the crowd started building, my eyes were drooping and I realized that I still had a long drive home. I know this early fatigue is one of the reasons for my quiet life these days, and I do not resent it, but it would have been nice to stay.
At the very least, I could have written about some of the small dramas I observed. At best, I could have lived a few.
It may be weeks before I have the opportunity to stay out past bedtime again. Sometimes that is frustrating. Wild nights in the past have led to quiet friendships, since few can maintain the party pace all the time, and I have much more time available for a movie or a dinner or an early evening drink or a dinner at home than I do for Homeristic journeys through the foggy alterna-world. But the best friends are the ones who appreciate both types of excursions.
These are the people that do not exist so much in my current neck of the woods. Unfortunately, most of us run into the city when the time comes for a night out. Since, for myself, it is usually only the weekend when I can do this, it is too easy to become a lone figure lost in the crowd.
What I really miss are the early evening weeknights in my old stomping grounds, unplanned meetings at one place or another for a few before responsibly going home, and these were often the best times to meet new faces with similar interests.
The Slut, however, dosen't seem to be that type of a bar, so instead I end up just sitting and thinking of times past, with a small but contented smile on my face, which usually lies hidden behind the pages of a book.