Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clown Walks into a Bar and Orders a Varietal

I took a cab downtown after work yesterday for my bi-weekly haircut at the Bond Street Barber Shop. Mrs Elliott has been out of town for a week and the prospect of another night cooped up alone in the house in front of the TV did not appeal, so I was looking to get out and be around people. Enjoy a light repast, some wine, do a little reading. The weather had been kind all day, and the evening was lovely.

People in costume were about. While getting barbered I saw a garden gnome pass the window. Owner Jim Wilson incorrectly identified the boy as a leprechaun. Different species of small imaginary people entirely.

There are three wine bars close to the barber shop. Two have opened very recently on on Minnesota. One in the small space formerly occupied by Chocolate e Gateaux -- I've only looked through the window there, I can't tell if it's a nice place to spend an evening. The other, across the street, is where Volcano Vineyards moved to from their former location on Brooks Street. They had found it difficult running a nice wine bar next to the rowdy, drunken crowd who spilled out of the nightclub next door. And there's The Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, also on Minnesota, which suits me quite nicely.

It's spacious enough to to not feel cramped, unlike the other two shops. They always have a fine selection of wines by the glass*, there are tables for groups and a comfortable bar, The lighting is bright enough to read by, and due to sharing a lobby with the Poethouse/tbd loft, the clientele is always interesting. I've had a number of brilliant conversations with locals, street people, artists, musicians, and visitors there. Last night there was a party going on upstairs and lots of people in costume were milling around the general vicinity.

So I'm sitting with a glass of wine and a cheese plate, reading a story in a magazine when a rodeo clown walks into the bar and orders a pinot grigio. That seems like the beginning of a joke, but the beginning's all I got.

He had just come off the tail end of a rocky marriage, and being single again, the clown was out for adventure. But under his greasepaint he was a worried clown, worried that he was too old to find someone to be with.

I "tut-tutted" him, and assured him that a man in his mid-40's needn't fret about that, at least here in Bend.

Mrs Elliott has checked Bend out to see if it might be a good place for an unmarried sister to move to and came to the conclusion that she would not like to be a single woman here. The population of single, bright, and attractive females appears to be greater than that of suitable males, so the odds favor men in that regard.

Because I am not in the habit of searching for and identifying single men, I take her word for this, but she's smart and wise and knows things like that.

The fellow seemed to be an all-right guy, well-built, a self-employed artist with a strong following, so I gave him a pep talk, a little sage advice from the perspective of an older man who's made more than his share of bad relationship choices and yet somehow managed to end up married to a sweet and generous woman.

The take-home lesson was that good things can happen, even to middle-age rodeo clowns with a taste for white wine.

* Speaking of wines by the glass, one of my favorites has returned after a hiatus of a few months. It's the 2006 Chateau de Fouzilhon from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France; a dry red with great structure and a mineral finish that lingers on the tongue forever. At $12.99/bottle it's a good value. I missed it when it was gone. Melanie doesn't want her wine list to get stale, so she brought in one or two other dry reds for a while, but they didn't have nearly the character or structure of this one. I'm glad it's back.


  1. The rodeo clown would have a better chance of picking up women in bars if he ordered a more macho drink -- beer, or a robust red.

    Pinot grigio? Might as well order a Cosmo.

  2. Bi-weekly haircut? Do you squat when you pee? By the way, you might as well root for SC, every other californicator transplant here does.

  3. My dad rooted for USC. My dad was a dick.

  4. You have hair?

    Doesn't it take two (relatively) brilliant people to have a brilliant conversation? : )


  5. I do have hair. A few wispy strands on top, mainly, with some mouse-gray around the sides. Going bald with dignity is a myth. But we do what we can to keep ourselves grooms. "Anonymous" apparently has a different standard.

  6. "Doesn't it take two (relatively) brilliant people to have a brilliant conversation??"

    Now don't be slamming rodeo clowns.

  7. Anon 12:29: Why don't you grow up and stop hating everybody who happens to be from California? It's childish and makes you sound like a dumb rube.

    BTW, how often by your standards is it permissible to get a haircut and still be a "real man"? Once a month? Once a year? Never?

    "Going bald with dignity is a myth."

    More dignified to go bald than to try to cover it up with a toupee, IMO.

  8. "My dad rooted for USC. My dad was a dick."

    Hmmm. Sounds like you had "father issues." Could that have anything to do with your loathing of SoCal?

  9. I had mother issues, too. That said, my parents had the sense not to move any farther south than Santa Barbara, a town I might consider living in if I could afford it. My dear Uncle Edith lived there. In a sense, SoCal starts south of Santa Barbara to me. Others may feel differently, but this is my internal geography.


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