At first the music of David Liebe Hardt makes me laugh. I imagine I’m at a party, no, a gala. Tuxedos tapered around men who look like Tom Ford and extravagant dresses draped from women who look like Olivia Wilde. Caterers hustle around and shine glasses. My drink is always brimming. When they refill your glass, you are given the opportunity to look one of these caterers dead in the face. And that’s exactly what they are: dead in the face. It’s an industry of pulled back hair, smooth faces and starched shirts. From ten feet away everyone looks ten years younger than they are. The closer you get to one of them, you realize that they are in fact older and far more miserable looking than you first imagined. Twenty bucks an hour did not buy that caterer’s happiness, but what do I care? I’m a guest. I toast my good fortune.
I make my way to the dj stand. It appears he’s snuck off to have an Amstel Light or possibly to take a piss in the two minutes and thirty seconds he’s allotted himself. I deftly scroll through his playlist. No one notices I’m up there because everyone is too busy talking shit and complaining about the food to realize I’ve commandeered the only thing that all of them are forced to listen to. I’ve found it! David Liebe Hart’s “I am an artist and creator.” This is a very, very, very bad song, but it’s of course great for that very reason. It’s perfect. I set it up so it’ll come on next. I step down and make my way to the balcony. On my jaunt, I’m stopped three times by caterers who want to fill my glass. All three times I stop.
I hear the song come on, but it’s all wrong. It’s funny, but I’m not laughing. It’s the right song, it’s the right atmosphere, but it’s not clicking the manner in which it’s supposed to. It’s still white noise. No one’s noticed, but me and maybe the dj who I can only assume, is now having his way with one of these dejected thirty-somethings caterers in the kitchen’s walk-in freezer or maybe he’s just having a cigarette. I don’t know the man. I don’t even know if said dj is a man. I’m getting lightheaded. I grab the railing. I promise to rally. I try and breathe, but instead cough out smog. My lungs reject the only air that’s available. I slump to the floor. The song is still playing.
I wake up on a linoleum floor. A girl, probably twenty-five years old, with dark brown hair and a nose like a parrot keeps asking me if I’m okay. I notice she has a few choice freckles on her nose.
“Where am I?” I ask.
I shake my head. “I know that!”
She looks around, “oh yeah, you’re in a bathroom.”
“I realize that too!”
“Relax, asshole.” She carefully pushes herself up from me. She’s prettier now. Actually, she’s gorgeous. Her arms are toned, but still feminine. She’s probably a weekend warrior on her $4,500 Cannondale. It’s paying off.
“Right,” She turns and makes her way to the door.
“Where am I?”
“I thought you knew…” She flings open the door. It’s the tux and botox crowd. I hate rich Oregonians. They’re so fucking healthy and fit. I hear it’s worse in Colorado. The problem, I surmise as I stand up, is all this health isn’t fucking healthy. There’s no balance to it. Occasionally, a person needs eat something drenched in pork fat, stay up all drinking liquor and then wake up a few hours later and rush off to work. Your breakfast is a black coffee and you don’t give a shit if the coffee beans are Free Trade.
I don’t like the women in Oregon. They don’t overexpose themselves to the elements. They’re conscious about their bodies in a way that doesn’t work to your benefit. I look in the mirror. There are bags under my eyes, my skin looks a little dehydrated. I splash some water on my face and pat myself dry with a paper towel. Good as new. I’m the picture of fucking health.
I once dated one of these overly self-conscious Oregonians. She never slept with me. Finally, after taking her out to dinner for the third time, I asked. “What’s the deal?”
“I would’ve slept with you before dinner, but now I’m full and I feel fat. I don’t feel like having sex.”
That pretty much sums up Oregon for me. Tomorrow I’m getting on a plane and going back to Las Vegas. Nobody is healthy in Vegas. Vegas, now that’s a nice town to live in. A lot of people don’t believe that, but those people live in Oregon. I don’t have any issues with the town itself. As for the people? They’re great. You want to know why they’re great? None of them are trying to run marathons and no one has a tomato garden. People in Vegas are perfectly content with dying of a cocktail of cirrhosis and lung cancer at the spritely age of fifty-three, leaving behind nothing except a paid off condo twenty miles off The Strip. Vegas, now that’s a fine town.
I give myself one last look in the mirror. “I am the –“ I put my hand over my mouth and rush to a stall. I barely make it in time to spew shrimp tapas into that ceramic haven. Fucking Oregon…
-The Neapolitan Mastiff