“Shooting the Breeze”

Before it was turned into a “pub,” Home Tavern occupied a spot just off the highway near our old home in Portland. The area had once housed furniture factories, and clearly this was a convenient stopping off place for men to drop in after work. I say men because I only ever saw men there before it turned into a “pub.”The tavern was between our house and the large riverfront park, so I walked by its open door frequently. The small place emitted an unforgettable smell of cigarette smoke and stale beer, an odor I can still bring to mind just writing about it.

I could hear laughing, swearing, yelling and general camaraderie as I passed by. I could only guess what they were talking about, but figured it was raw, opinionated, and generally full of bull. I appreciated that they had their place to vent and relax after work, but I never had to learn their views on women, politics or the world. I didn’t figure I was missing anything.

That entire atmosphere seems to have been recreated on line. Between Facebook posts, tweets, comments to the newspapers and comments on comments, I now feel as if I have walked unwittingly into the Home Tavern. Sadly there is no one around to slap one of the writers on the back laughing at his point of view. Comments that once would have led to “let’s take this out to the street,” are now casually thrown back and forth. Most lacking is humor and a general understanding that it is all bull anyway.

Next time you get caught up in rants on line, imagine them coming from a man on his third beer loudly entertaining his friends at the Home Tavern.