A Short Eulogy From An Outsider

“I know this room, I’ve walked this floor.” – Leonard Cohen

The first time I ever walked into Someday Lounge was August 26th, 2011. It was two days past my 21st birthday, and I had been invited downtown to have a drink with one of my best friends. I immediately felt welcome in the best possible way.

The second time I ever walked into Someday Lounge was upon returning from the very first trip my wife and I had ever taken together. We went to Seattle for a show, and upon returning, we stopped in to have a drink with a couple of friends. It was late September, and the weather was getting cold, but not enough to put a damper on the beauty of the day. We had both had an exceedingly long trip home, but being in that space helped soothe us perfectly.

 

The third time I ever walked into Someday Lounge was not really a walk-in at all. I went to see Athens, GA band The Olivia Tremor Control, a member of the Elephant 6, and who were inextricably linked with Neutral Milk Hotel, one of the bands I connect with the most in this world. I wasn’t able to catch much of the performance because the show was at-capacity, but the love and intimacy that the long room offered seemed to waft outwards, enough that I didn’t care that I could barely see the band that was playing.

The last time I ever walked into Someday Lounge, it was silent and dark. It was the afternoon of the very last day of business, and even though the lifespan of that room was nearly at its end, it was still desperate to cling to life. The disco ball had been left on and continued to pirouette in the darkness, clearly letting everyone know that things weren’t over yet. Those friends of mine sat at the top floor of the room, and talked about music, and talked about every last memory. I sat quietly listening them reminisce about everything they’d seen and experienced there, and I realized that I had never given myself the chance to forge that same bond with it. When called upon to talk about my memories, I realized that mine could easily be encapsulated, like I’ve done here. There were other times I was there, but the stand-out memories had yet to even gain mass. When I said this, my friend told me, “Even if you miss this place a little bit, it’ll be enough.” There was a lot of love in that room, even with it being so empty.

Portland has seen a lot of venues come and go, each with a rich history and a beating heart of its own. The people who inhabited that space were its beating heart, and even if it didn’t beat for very long, it could never be said that there was any weakness to it. Almost every single person I call a friend knew that, and connected with it in an unbeatable way. I feel like a small part of me left with it, and I am an outsider. I cannot even begin to understand how those people feel. There are a thousand bars and concert venues in this city, but there is only a very finite number that truly feel like Portland. More than I mourn the fact that I didn’t spend enough time there, I mourn the fact that that number is one less now.

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