Yesterday was my birthday. The entire family was gone but me for the weekend, so I had to figure out what to do with myself. After contemplating a beer at 9:30 am, I decided against it, and sat around reading. Then, when afternoon hit, I realized I had never been downtown to take photos of kayakers. Kayaking isn’t something that particularly interests me, but they’re there with their kayaks (all three used correctly, word), and taking pictures of them seems like the thing to do when you have a decent camera with a wide array of lenses. So I headed out and found myself a parking spot.
Walking around at the river is a pretty unique experience. There are guys sleeping against trees, kids swimming, people walking, dogs swimming, of course kayakers, and the inevitable dude using his shirt as a sponge for his weekly bath. Now, I’m not normally one to blast away at people less fortunate, really, but this guy was a treat. I would have shot a few photos of him, but he was about 20 feet away and I had my long lens on the camera, so I wouldn’t have gotten anything all that useful to give perspective. But I definitely watched him. Oh, and by taking his picture, believe me, I would have been inviting him to come over and explain some conspiracy or another. Because that’s what he did.
After bathing, he was standing around on the walking path above the river, as opposed to the one below the river, and screaming at some couple that was sitting just where he had been sponging himself off. I say screaming because I’m pretty sure he was screaming. Nothing subtle about him at all. They were just sitting there, enjoying the river, and he was screaming. The funny thing is, I don’t even think they knew he was there. They just went about their enjoyment of the river, and he continued his screaming. Then he disappeared. I mention that because I was hoping he’d start walking away and I’d have the proper distance to take a good photo of the chap, but when I heard the screaming stop, he was nowhere in sight. He had been yelling about how the cops and the city were in cahoots to run him out of there. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they’d want to do such a thing.
I did happen to get some photos of the kayakers. The five or so guys down there weren’t all that exciting. They’d just kind of drift into the little drop point where the water got fast and occasionally spin around once, then bail out. One guy appeared to have gotten stuck upside down for a few seconds, but he was fine. I took the liberty of snapping a photo of him finally coming out of the water and titling it, “Roll Dude, Roll.” That’s funny to me. But the kayakers quickly became a bit boring. Then, I realized, after several of my photos kept making this place appear on my camera viewer, that I was right near the Sierra Tap House. Done deal. I got up, walked around a bit more, so I could feel like I did something, and headed in the place.
The Tap House is pretty cool. It’s basically just a bar – no food, no jerking around, just drinks and pretzels. There is some outdoor seating right along the building, and the bartender, Natalie, said they’d just been approved to have tables right along the edge of the river. That’ll for sure be the most coveted spot all summer. Excellent brick walls, and a cozy little set of rooms make the place pretty relaxing. So I sat down, ordered a beer and chilled. Then, something weird happened.
My neighbors walked in. They’re this older couple, with kids my age, I learned, that live across the street and are selling their place. We’ve lived in our house for almost four years and never met these cats. Frankly, they scare me. The guy wears short-ass old O.P. style shorts and never, ever wears a shirt. The lady always appears wacked. I’ve run into them while trick-or-treating before, but never introduced myself. I’m like that. But we made acquaintance and talked for a bit. Luckily, they had to catch a movie so eventually they left. They’re moving to Portland. Their daughter lives there (man, again!).
But while I was talking to them, another fool walked in. He works there, if you call anythng he does work. Dude’s name is Zelalem, but everyone calls him Zee. I met Zee in about 1999 when he began working for me at the bank. At that time, his dreads were short and sort of stuck up and everywhere. Now, they’re about down to his ass. I felt all cool because I hired a real african guy with dereads no less to work in a bank. Zee isn’t really african, but his parents are. We talked a bit, and without Zee I would have bailed after that first beer. But I decided to hang out, so I moved to the bar and had a great time. The staff, besides Zee, was pretty cool. We chatted and people came in who were plenty drunk already. That always entertains me. It was like 3:00 and fools were RIPPED. Some cops came in to have waters, and I hazed them. That’s always fun, like when you’re in a bar for the first time in your life with cops, and you’re not scared they’re going to haul your ass off for being underage. I stayed at the tap house for a while, and even got a shot of Patron from Zee and his co-workers for my birthday. Thanks, guys. But eventually, I had to get back to my book and relaxing with everyone away.
The birthday was pretty sweet overall. I got to hang out and pretty much do nothing for two nights and one day. Christy and The Girl are home now. The Boy is in Florida with his grandma for the week. If only he knew that it was a three hour difference, then maybe he’d stop waking me up all early on my birthday and crap.