Category Archives: Respite

The Respite 2

“Do you have any advice?”

This is a question I’m unaccustomed to lacking an answer for.

My friend has been looking for an apartment for five months now and been unable to find one. The strain is starting to set in, I can see it in her eyes. She’s the kind of person who should live in Portland, too: a smart activist who makes art and has a job. Another day of searching has set her low, so I have come to the Green Dragon to help ease her worries.

I am not doing a great job. It bothers me because she’s a friend and I usually do good things for my friends. Another casualty of a “recovered” economy that refuses to pay people actual money and a housing market that is batshit insane, at best. In every report I read, Portland either rivals or is worse than San Francisco-which is even worse than New York City, long the legend of difficult housing stories.

So I sit there and I listen as best I can and I wrack my brain for something that seems useful or helpful. In the end, I can only turn things around on her:

“Is there anything I can do?”

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Photo credit: my friend Miranda

She smiles and says, “Write about the beer.”

Like so many Southern Tier beers, the  Choklat Oranj has a nose that is a lot like Quik mix. There is a hint of those chocolate oranges here-it’s that kind of sugary sort-of-maybe-fruit scent. I can’t say this beer has actual orange in it, though. I detect some spicy qualities on the finish. Like a chocolate bar with a hint of coffee roast and a smidge of jalapeño. The spice hits the back of my throat:  just enough to let me know I’m not dealing with a run-of-the-mill imperial.

It’s a bracer at 10%, but we split the glass and I hold her hand for a moment in the hope that I can leech some of her troubles away, out my fingertips, into the air.

The Respite: 1

“Sometimes you need a respite from the world, because very often the world is work.” – John Scalzi.

I have been wandering with this blog for over two years now. Thematically, I’ve kept on point but looking back at the last few years of Monday posts, part of that theme has been to keep on moving. It’s been catching up with me and I’ve felt it, the weight of perpetual motion. The constant need to come up with new places and keep drifting has stopped setting me free and started to weigh on my shoulders.

So it’s time to rest. Even wayward souls need a place they can call home, even if it’s just for a little while. Plus, I’m afraid that the bartenders at Bailey’s may have forgotten my name. And it’s good to have a bar where the employees know your name. So I’ve come back to claim a table again.

29239013091_91346b5a04_cI was originally going to call this Season 4, after the season of The Wire where they dealt with politics but…that felt a little on the nose. America is in a strange, strange place right now and while I know I’m smart enough to comment on things, I’m also smart enough to know that too much politics is like too much aspirin. A little medicine will cure what ails you but too much medicine will kill you as easily as the disease.

So for now: The Respite.

I picked up a Boneyard Wit Shack Wit. It’s got a funky nose, almost farmhouse, horse blankety, with a finish that goes dry, a little like a good white wine. It’s flavorful and pretty light; a very good beer for August. Plus, it’s a nice surprise, coming from Boneyard, a brewery that I really have pinned for IPAs, at least in my head. I can’t remember seeing a different style of beer from them, so this is a surprise.

The delight in getting the new from the familiar is a bit soothing, the chance to take a risk backed up by a reputation one can rely on.