Sunday, March 12, 2006

I didn't shave my head for this

Sometimes I'm a little slow. It took me a good 10 or 15 minutes to realize I had walked, quite literally, into some sort of gathering of modern-day Nazi skinhead Aryan assholes.

To put it mildly it was not the place I wanted to be.

It certainly wasn't where I thought I would find myself earlier in the evening.

I had driven to Portland to have dinner with my daughter, her mother and her mother's lesbian partner. We had a nice evening and a lovely meal, but shortly after my daughter abandoned the adults for the sanctuary of her bedroom, I figured it was time to go.

I've been craving a night out at a club for a while, so I decided to stop off at a bar for a drink or two before heading back to Salem. I decided to go to this bar I've visited before, not too far from where my daughter lives. I've had one nice time there, and a couple of bad experiences since, so I decided to give the place one more chance.

For the record, it is a strip club, a seedy little place that has been pretty lame the last couple of times I stopped there. On my last couple of stops there, the place had been virtually empty and hardly any dancers, so after about 3 sets, you've seen all the T&A the bar had to offer.

But Saturday night was different. The place was packed when I walked in. The place has a small bar and no cocktail waitresses, so it took a while to squeeze my way in at the bar to get something to drink. After I got a beer I went and sat down at one of the stages. There are three stages in this bar, but every time I've been in there before, which is probably 3 or 4 times, only one stage was in operation. So I sat at that stage.

But no women were dancing, except for the one woman giving a guy a lap dance in the corner. There were some women in the bar who appeared to be the dancers, including one sitting on the edge of the stage where I had sat down. But after a song or two, I realized no one was coming to dance at this stage. But about that time I noticed a dancer getting up on another stage around the corner. So I grabbed my beer and moved to the other stage.

I was one of 3 guys sitting anywhere near the edge of the stage. The rest of the men in the place, and several women, were gathering in clusters around the bar, talking. I had seen a few guys stumbling around, obviously very drunk.

There was a weird vibe in the place but I couldn't quite put my finger on what was happening. At one point I asked the dancer on the stage why all the guys in the place weren't up at the stage giving her money. She said something like "I've been wondering the same thing."

Soon her dance ended and another dancer came on stage. The next dancer was either in her mid to late 40s, or had lived a very hard life, and perhaps both. At one point she made a comment to me, as one of the few guys still at the stage that some guys off to my right were drunk. I said something inspired like, "Yea, it looks like it." To which she said something like "You should have seen it earlier when they were all here."

That stuck me as an odd comment, and I wondered what she ment by "they."

About that time a female patron, with tattoos covering her bare arms, from wrist to shoulder, started yelling at one of the male patrons. I couldn't quite make out what the argument was about, but all I heard was a lot of "Fuck you" this and "fuck you" that. Pretty soon the arguing pair, standing not 10 feet from where I'm sitting, starts attracting attention from some of the other people in the bar. There were gathering a crowd.

I turn to my left and see a guy wearing a black T-shirt standing pretty much right next to me. There is some sort of odd design on it with a guy's face and some writing. I don't know what inspired me to read the guy's shirt, but it had to be more interesting than the dancer on stage, who I swear looked like she would more travel in my mother's circle of friends than take off her clothes for a living. I realized there was a name written on the shirt.

Rudolf Hess.

I couldn't make out what else was on the shirt, but the name rang a bell.

Rudolf Hess.

Then I looked at the face in the drawing on the shirt and realized where I knew that name and face from.

Rudolf Hess, for anyone who may have slept through early and mid 20th century history in school, or slept through the 1930s and '40s, was the man who became Deputy Fuhrer in Nazi Germany.

Suddenly I saw the men surrounding me in the bar with a new clarity. They were all white men, which is not particularly unusual in a bar in Portland. Most of men in the bar, of which there were probably 30 to50, where wearing black T-shirts or some other similar dark clothing. Their heads were all shaved or nearly shaved and many of them were sported an assortment of tattoos on their arms and necks.

Yes, I had somehow managed to wander into some sort of neo-Nazi, white supremacist skinhead gathering.

I felt my pulse start to race and decided that this was my cue to beat a hasty retreat.

I got out into the parking lot and looked around for some sign that what I thought I saw was in fact real. I notice that a few of the cars in the parking lot were sporting California plates, which is unusual in Portland, but most of the cars had Oregon plates. Great, I thought, it's a fucking skinhead convention.

I looked for some obvious bumper stickers or something to prove I wasn't crazy, but nothing else immediately affirmed my suspicious. The car next to me has some sort of sticker in the back window that said WAR, but that didn't mean anything to me at the moment. It wasn't a glaringly obvious sign, like a swastika or something, which was what I most hoped, and yet dreaded, to see.

I was starting to back out when I realized someone in an SUV had parked a little too closely behind me, and I could not easily pull out of my parking spot. I wanted out of that parking lot in the worst way, but did not want to be too hasty in my departure and rip off the back bumper of some Neo-Nazi's Ford Explorer.

So, after jokeying around, pulling forward and back several time into the parking spot my truck had occupied, I finally was able to get out of my parking space and make my exit.

But all the way back to Salem, my pulse and blood pressure would never quite return to normal.

Oh, by the way, when I got home and started working on this post, I decided to do a quick Web search to see if there was some sort of Neo-Nazi gathering in Portland this weekend. One of the first things that popped up in my search for "Aryan Portland gathering" was a listing for information from the Anti-Defamation League on legendary white supremacist Tom Metzger and the White Aryan Resistance.

So I guess I know know what that WAR sticker was all about.

Hmm, I wonder what they would think about my Blame it on Mexico and Oregon: Come for the natural beauty... posts?


GRT said...

The just-departed storm dropped the snow lever to about 4,000 feet again. P.S. is once again a post card picture perfect place.

(Aryans are unhappy people. Alas)

Mr. Viddy said...

I was a little concerned about the fact that you even thought it was a wise idea to go to a bar, have a few drinks and then drive back to Salem in the first place. Drinking and driving are a bad combo.

The G-man said...

GRT, you crack me up.

And Mr. Viddy, you make an excellent point. Maybe the Aryans saved me from my own poor judgment.

California Dreamin' said...

I agree,,, those white supremists people are big A-holes,,, or maybe not ALL of them are. Maybe I don't agree. Maybe they're just too stupid, ummm errr, ignorant, to the difference between supremecy and the NATURAL inclination of all living things to be amongst what is familiar. Shit,,, I didn't mean to say all that... I just meant to say... that whole bad-boy image sure can make me meeeee-oooooow. I bet I could bring one to his knees. :) How supreme am I????

The G-man said...

OK Dreamin', now you are creeping me out a little, or maybe a lot.

California Dreamin' said...

Sorry, just in a silly mood today. Maybe I should not wear my mood on your blog. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Feel free to trash it if it offends. No worries, be happy.

Blogger said...

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