Cats, Kids, and Complaining

The past couple of weeks has been a crazed maelstrom of emotion, sickness, and little time for reflection on what has transpired. Lil’ Mama the Cat had to be put to sleep, and it left us crushed. With the meows and pitter pats of paws on the hardwood floors gone, the silence became deafening. We found Hoppy MacGuyver the next day on Craigslist, and now we embark on a new adventure of dealing with a kitten who keeps pissing in the bed. (Otherwise, he’s a handsome and fun kitten, with a ton of personality).

The horrible weather we’ve been subject to, as well as an interaction with a sick child, left me run down and ill myself. My niece giving me a head cold could be some kind of cosmic payback on all my ranting about where children should and should not be allowed. A mysterious article regarding a soda bar for children was left taped to my locker at work, with a note saying “This is the place for you, Love, Seattle.” I love kids. I’m totally into hanging out with my nieces. I even went to Chuck E. Cheese the other day for a niece’s birthday party. I was amazed that the children in there were substantially more behaved than the kids I ranted about who frequent the Portland bar scene with their abysmal parents.

My mom and dad finally came into the bar to see me this week, and they disagreed with me on the children in bars thing, too. They reminded me that my grandfather took me to bars when I was a kid, which is indeed true. However, if I started acting up (which I did not often do around him) he’d make me wait out in the car until he was done. That is the option that is no longer allowed. That and belt whipping them.

Here in Portland there are so many choices in bars and restaurants to go to. In every nuance of every style, choice is available. And yet no one is satisfied. People want to bend everything to their will. If a bar chooses to not allow children, the parents get enraged. If a bar chooses to not take credit cards, plastic lovers start Hulking out. Play the wrong music, which is all music to some, and the next customer is Temper Tantrum Turtle!

Are you going to a bar’s patio to drink wine and smoke cigarettes with your dog? Sure, why not. Just be sure that is what the place is all about. Most bars with patios DO allow smoking on them. Many places allow dogs on their patios, too. Just not all of them. You’d think there would be more choking on all the Haterade swilled around here.

Every bar I have ever worked at people have complained about the music. You just can’t win in that department. Before the Lucky Labrador went to satellite radio, we were allowed, as staff, to play our own CD’s. No matter what was played, people would complain. Play jazz, and people would scream that the horns are too loud! Play surf music and angry customers would demand reggae. At the Green Dragon, we played MP3 players and CDs. I’d get someone stoked with what was playing and they’d ask about it, so they could buy the record themselves, and seconds later someone would complain that it was too loud and they couldn’t talk to their friends at the table. Back in the early nineties, I worked at a bar with a jukebox and people would complain about other customers’ selections!

If your food allergies, pet needs, child needs, anger over what beverages are available, or musical requirements are so strict as to cause your night to be ruined because the establishment has not met these impossible necessities of yours, you either need to start your own joint or make your home into your bar. This bar is going to play loud sludge metal and that bar is going to play 70’s rock. That’s just how it is. Don’t pout because you didn’t get to hear whatever you think the place should be playing. There is another bar out there playing your song. There is a better, nicer, and hotter bartender than I, pouring there, too. Look around you, it’s there.

I’m going to try to keep doing what I do, and working for those who stick to their guns and run the places they own as they see fit. These places will either succeed tremendously, or fail, depending on whether there are enough like minded people. By caving into every whim of the public, bars would be boring strip mall slots, stuffed with homogeneous robots. There are already tons of places like that in the world, and they’re not the bars I like to go to. Then again, I like loud dub music, prefer to pay for my drinks in cash, don’t go to bars with kids, and generally drink with my pets at home, instead of out.



  • P. Fruit Trees
    P. Fruit Trees
    Fri Jun 4, 2010 1:50 PM

    Nice shot of you and the new kid on the block (ala, Hoppy MacGuyver). I myself have a tabby named Dante (as in Dante’s Inferno) and he is every bit as driven to cause anxiety.

    • Dudley
      Fri Jun 4, 2010 4:40 PM

      Good article Chris. I assume the illness was brought on by your visit to Chuck-E-Rat? I agree that barkeeps should give leeway to their employees to play their own music (within certain limitations). I recall a certain afternoon spent outside the Hawthorn Lucky Lab. The music had to come from a CD compilation of car chase scene tunes. It was torture. Since I was the only person outside, I asked the bartender if he would change it to something mellower. He looked at me like I was crazy/jerk/from mars. He changed it and all was once again well in my universe.

      Hope all is well in PDX. I’m still trying to figure out our new city: Seattle.

      • zak rotello
        zak rotello
        Fri Jun 4, 2010 7:12 PM

        Chris! I’ve been keeping an eye on the blog. Keep it up man, I miss you PDXers.

        • Anonymous
          Fri Jun 4, 2010 8:29 PM

          Tell it like it is brother, can I get a witness. Good blog King C.

          • hotwing_1
            Sun Jun 6, 2010 4:08 PM

            There may be a better bartender in Beervana, though I doubt it. Cheers.