"MY NAME’S BART AND I LIKE TO WATCH SLUGS COPULATE.."
Have you every watched slugs have sex?
I’ve been in Portland two and a half years; this blog has only been around a couple months. That means I’m allowed to play a little catchup with our weekly storytime. Please bear with me…and if triple-X tales of Stumptown’s red light gastropod district are too alluring for you, it might be best to look elsewhere for cheap thrills today.
So, like I was saying, back to copulating worms (I know, they’re not really worms). When I posted about Carrie Brownstein’s very busy post-Sleater-Kinney life the other day it made me realize how lucky I was to attend the band’s "farewell" show just a few months after landing in this fair city. It’s even more momentous considering that it was me and the ladyfriend’s first official date (not counting a trip to the county fair in which I nearly puked up my funnel cake on the Zipper). First, allow me to step back, brush the dirt off my collar ala Jay Z and bask in the glow of how studly that must’ve sounded: "Hey lady, you know that last Sleater-Kinney that is totally sold-out and people are selling their firstborn of Ebay for? I’ve got a plus-one with your name written all over it."
(And other such ridiculous gesticulations of masculinity.)
I didn’t really say that. And even if my come-one really was that grotesque, I wouldn’t blame her for saying "yes." That last S-K show was a big night for Portland rock as one of our biggest, best acts was packing it in, at least for awhile. It was bittersweet working up a sweat to "Dig Me Out" and "One More Hour" knowing this might be the last time we hear them. But it was awesome, both because the ladyfriend and I were able to share a milestone moment in the city’s music history, and also because of what happened after the final chords of the final song faded into memory.
First and foremost, I met Eddie Vedder. Make fun of me if you want uber-hipsters, but Pearl Jam is still one of my favorite bands. I will fight you over this. He actually opened the show with a short two-song acoustic set. And for the rest of the night he stood by himself sidestage and watched Sleater-Kinney, dancing and singing along and (after their last song) crying. Spurred by the ladyfriend I walked over, shook his hand and gave him a prized Who lapel pin. Vedder was gracious: "No way," he said. "We have to do a fair trade." With that he handed me a monogrammed guitar pick emblazoned with the number 23…Michael Jordan’s number (the band are still big hoops fans, thus their original name: Mookie Blaylock).
I was buzzing. Great show. Great experience. Great keepsake.
It got better. On our way home, two blocks away from the Crystal Ballroom, we watched in awe as a middle aged woman stumbled out of some now-defunct corner bar. She bobbed and weaved like she was utilizing her legs for the first time. Walking seemed challenging enough, but drunk woman upped the ante by simultaneously foraging through her purse. She looked like a raccoon on roller skates. But it was when she finally found her phone that things got truly exquisite. While trying to dial a number she dipped her shoulder to swing her purse over her back, the momentum sending her ass over elbows to the concrete below.
This is just great. High human unintentional comedy, the kind you usually have to brave the great unwashed masses of Wal-Mart to see. And we were getting it for free. I like laughing at dumb people. If it were a sport I would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps.
But it would get better. Not three blocks further, next to the long parks near PSU, we saw a man defecating next to a tree. He wasn’t homeless. No, just another drunk who couldn’t quite make it to the sanctity of his own toilet. I remember looking at the nice North Face backpack leaning against the tree (it must’ve cost at least a hundred dollars) and wondering: "Do you think he gave himself enough clearance?" Also: "Hands? No hands?"
Eddie Vedder. Concrete gymnast. Park porta-potty. This can’t be topped, right?
Wrong. Which leads us back to the question I posed up top. As the ladyfriend and I hit the homestretch to my apartment, we saw what looked like two disembodied tongues hanging from a tree, roiling and coiling against each other and producing a foamy film in their wake. It took awhile to figure out but, apparently, we’d come upon some hardcore gastropod porn. Witness:
If you’ve never seen slugs do it, imagine you and a friend have climbed a tree and you’ve hocked up the slimiest, greenest, densest loogies you’re throats and snot glands could conjure. And now you’ve spit them out and the two greenish gray meteors are dripping slowly downward, oozing over branches and down the bark, until finally that join together in a pulsating orgy of mucous.
That’s what it’s like to watch slugs (hermaphroditic slugs, no less) mate. And if being absolutely hypnotized by this mollusk lambada for upwards of 20 minutes makes me a perv, then so be it.
So that’s how my first real date with the ladyfriend went. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what happened once we got home..after all, can you really top slug sex? (Answer: No, you cannot.) I’d like to say that in the last two years we’ve had dates better than that first one. But I would be lying.