I was to meet Elvis at the Tin Shed on
a blazing 94 degree Friday afternoon. I left work early enough so I could get
before I was to meet him at 4. I arrived at the bike shop drenched in sweat and
was happy to enjoy its air-conditioned splendor. I immediately found what I was
looking for and proceeded to the counter where I stood and waited for roughly
15 minutes while everyone who worked there pretty much ignored me. I wish I
could say this is a strange experience in Community Cycling Center Portland,
but, alas, it is not. Getting someone to
help you while shopping or eating is a miracle, and frankly, the basis of my
theory behind the success of Nordstrom’s.
As it was so hot, the lack of service did not really bother me, and I
was contented to be cool and inside, so I stood there as inconspicuously as I
could and hoped I would go without notice for a few delightfully arctic moments
longer. Eventually a young woman came out from the back room and rang up my
purchase. I headed out to my bike and realized I was only a few short steps
away from the Tin Shed, so I walked my bike down and locked it up out front,
next to a tiny tricycle which was attached to the bike rack with a U-lock.
The Tin Shed is notorious for being busy all the time, so I was relieved to find no line out front. I found a spot in the shade and had the dimple-cute waitress bring me a Bloody Mary. I sat there and waited and watched people and listened to the Prince CD being blasted over the sound system. I had planned on changing back into my work clothes from my bike clothes, but I figured it was useless at this point; I was a mess. After a while, the waitress asked if I would be ordering dinner soon. It was and Elvis was nowhere to be found. I told her that if I was still alone at , I would be ready to order food. I had begun to believe he was not going to show, but, five minutes later, Elvis swaggered in. He apparently did not realize he was late, because he made no mention of it, let alone apologize for it.
He sat down across the table from me, barely looked at me, and ordered a gin and tonic. He was very soft spoken, and between this and Prince blaring over the speaker system, I had to ask him to repeat himself every few sentences. He was a handsome and extremely fit 29 year old who grew up in rural Colorado and was having a hard time finding as he said, “People like me” to hang out with. Evidently
Portland was just a
little too liberal for Elvis. Then he asked me if I was a liberal. In my
experience this is never the beginning of a good conversation, so I just said
“I guess so” and changed the subject. It was very painful at first trying to
pull conversation out of Elvis. He was not good at making eye contact and he
mumbled quite a bit. I did get out of him that he was in school for Optometrist
Technology, which he had recently discovered did not suit him at all. He seemed
unhappy; he did not smile much nor was he very animated. He also had an
annoying habit of staring at my arms. But, the Bloody Mary was delicious and
the food I ordered was fantastic; a plate of veggies, lentils and rice called
Baby Beluga. I decided to remain cautiously optimistic. The Tin Shed is one of
those places which allows its patrons to bring their dogs in with them, so the
whole time Elvis and I were eating, there were dogs on either side of us
staring at us or our food as we ate, or trying to get in to the bus tub full of
dishes, and surprise of all surprises, were not listening to their owners
directions to “stop bothering the poor people”. I love dogs. I miss mine
terribly, but this is fuckin’ ridiculous. Yes, I realize it is my choice to sit
in a dog-friendly atmosphere to dine, but why is it that the owners of these creatures
cannot teach them to not drool in other people’s laps? Just as it is with
children, it is with dogs; if they are annoying it is the fault of the people
raising them. At least with children they understand you when you tell them to
After dinner I was at a bit of a loss; nothing very interesting had come up and I was not sure how much more I could take of this. Then, to my surprise, he actually looked at my face and asked if I wanted to do something else. I figured I had better, or this was going to be a very short and very boring blog entry. He suggested we walk up
Alberta and find a cool
place to sit and drink away from the animals. I grabbed my saddle bags and we
walked down the street. As Elvis swaggered beside me, it was obvious that he
was very aware of how he looked, and carried himself like he knew that people
were looking. It was a bit ridiculous, so I asked him if anything was wrong.
When he asked why I replied that he was carrying himself very stiffly, as if he
were in pain. He responded that he wasn’t, and I got to laugh hysterically to
myself at what a self-absorbed prick he was revealing himself to be.
Just a block down we stumbled on to Every Day Wine, a great little wine bar neither one of us had ever even heard of. We went in and sat, and started drinking. Heavily. Of course, no wine bar would be complete without a Chutes and Ladders game, so as Elvis and I sat and drank roughly three bottles of wine between us, we played. Elvis loosened up quite a bit with more alcohol in him, but unfortunately, it did not make him any less of an asshole. In fact at one point in one of the many games we played, he reached over, grabbed my hand and forcibly cracked all of my knuckles. When a guy’s first touch is some painful maneuver like knuckle cracking, rope-burning, or hair pulling, it is a red flag of monumental proportions, unless you are into the whole BDSM thing.
Into about our third or fourth game of Chutes and Ladders, my arms were feeling quite conspicuous so I asked him why the hell he kept staring at them. His incredulous response was that my arms were very buff and he could not stop looking at them. I argued a bit about this point, but then he took a photo of me with his phone and showed it to me. I didn’t know if I was more pissed off that he was right or more pissed off that I knew it was beside the point, but then he followed it up with the unbelievable, “how come you haven’t noticed my long eyelashes yet? Everybody I have ever gone out with has.” This flag is deep crimson; the back handed insult followed by the request for a ridiculous compliment. It is a classic, and is usually used by women. Run far, run fast, and if it helps, scream as you go.
After he had beaten me at several games of Chutes and Ladders, he decided to pick up the stupid-ass Trivial Pursuit cards and start asking me questions. By some strange twist of fate, I got almost every single one of them right. This was when he told me that he suspected I had been playing dumb all night as I was proving to be a genius at Trivial Pursuit. This friends, is the definition of an asshole. This is a man who cannot show up for a date on time, can barely look you in the eye but has no problem staring at some random part of your body all night, walks down the street with the presence of an arrogant one-hit-wonder rock star has-been, takes his first opportunity to touch you with a series of painful squeezes to your fingers, asks why you have not complimented him, and then, when you prove to be walking around with a brain in your head, finds a way to insult you for it. If I had had my boots on I would have kicked him in the shins.
It all went down hill from there. I know, unbelievable, but true. Suffice it to say that one of his closing comments was to inquire “what I would be writing about him in my blog that no one would be reading”.