here. It isn't their fault that this evening turned out to be a fiasco.
The party was being held at a club, The Blue Monk, on SE Belmont Street in Portland. It's a great old neighborhood that has become recently hip, and on a Saturday night it was hoppin'. No place to park, except to drive into the adjacent residential neighborhood and walk a few blocks, which we did. The bars were packed and the sidewalks were full of young folks. It was a scene. The Blue Monk is a small club, with a bar and tables on the main floor and a smaller bar, tables and stage in the basement, which is where the release party was being held. We thought we had gotten there plenty early, but the place was packed and there was not a table to be had, and very little standing room. We still had more than an hour until the band was scheduled to start, so we went upstairs to get a little dinner.
It took quite awhile to even get a waiter to the table, though the upstairs area wasn't crowded, but we finally each ordered the ravioli special and Ray also ordered a salad. We still had plenty of time. We enjoyed our drinks while we waited. People around us were being served. It smelled great. It looked promising. After 45 minutes we were getting restless and the waiter came by and said because of the party downstairs they were pretty busy, but our food would be out soon. So we waited. And waited. When an hour and a half had gone by we decided we were leaving. Just as we were preparing to get up, the waiter arrived. He was sweating and nervous. I could tell he was dreading a confrontation. He apologized and said he'd like to comp us another drink and our food would be right out! By now my head was pounding and I was starving. The drinks came and we waited some more.
Have you ever been in this situation? It is almost 9:30 at night. You are starving. Your second drink is going down like acid. You are angry and your head is pounding. What you want to do is leave. No wait—what you really want to do is eat. But no, there's no food in sight. You just want to get out of there. But then you still have the problem of getting something to eat, and dammit! you came to hear Jim's band. You want to yell at the waiter, but you know it really isn't his fault. Apparently there is one guy cooking tonight. One. Then, before you can really decide, though you've been seething for more than an hour and a half, suddenly—finally— two plates of lukewarm ravioli show up at the table, accompanied by more apologies and excuses, and you cram that sh*t in as fast as you can make a fork spin. You all but lick the plate, while waving for the waiter to bring the bill. He brings—a salad. Yes, salad. At the end of the meal. "Would you like to take the salad to go?" "NO!!" "OK, sorry, again..."
Will this never end??
It did end. We finally got the bill (with salad and drinks subtracted from the total, thank you) and hurried downstairs to see if we could catch a little of Jim's band. We got down there, wriggled our way into the throng and heard the last 30 seconds of their last song. "THANKS EVERYBODY!! THANKS FOR COMING OUT TONIGHT!!" and they picked up their instruments and left the stage to wild applause.
We were a little glum as we walked through the dark residential streets toward our car. We remarked on what a balmy, pleasant evening it was, and then what a weird adventure our first CD Release Party had been. It had sounded like such a cool thing to do! By the time we got to the car we were laughing and my headache was beginning to subside. A totally grim and maddening dining experience and then we pretty much missed the party, and we vowed never again to set foot in the Blue Monk, but, hey, we're OK. And we got a CD.