Monday, October 13, 2008

"What'chya need ta do is git yer compost co-rrect"

We pulled into Missoula and found a room at the Bel-Aire just as the sun was going down, and headed for the Missoula Club (they call it the Mo Club), which has been around forever and has the city's best burger. I was there last year on my mom's 60th birthday:

Bill Clinton went to the Mo last time he was in town, and I had heard that Obama was there too, but our bartender said he wasn't. Anyway, it's a great spot, an absolute necessity if you're ever in Missoula.

The other one is the Oxford, around the corner and up the street. The Mo club is kind of college-centric (though not in an annoying way, because it's so old, it's an institution to the whole community), but the Ox is more of an old locals bar. They have this amazing collection of rifles above the bar, some pool tables, and a card game going by the front door.

We got into a conversation with a girl who lives off the grid with her husband out in the hills, and stops by the Ox when she's in town. She had moved from Tennessee and was telling us that because the ground is so rocky in the mountains, it took her a long time to learn to get her compost and soil mulching just right, but now she has a big garden, and they hunt, and only occasionally go to the grocery store. There was also this dude at the bar who had served two tours in Vietnam (yes – he was in the shit), had beaten what appeared to be a pretty severe meth addiction, and was now doing pretty well in construction. Another guy came by selling artwork, and we bought this little piece for $5. You can check out his website at

So anyway, it was your regular mix of local peeps and we were having a good time, until this dude with a McCain/Palin baseball cap walked in. The mulch girl said "I like your hat," and when I asked her if she was serious, she said she was not a Republican, but that she was against Obama. We all got into a conversation about it, and the Nam/meth dude got really agitated, basically telling me that saying I was for Obama was tantamount to challenging him to a duel, i.e., he was about to attempt to kick my ass. It was weird. We couldn't really reason with them, and it was strange to go from being fast friends to being at odds faster. Once we steered away from that topic we were able to smooth things out, but it was kind of annoying, so we left after awhile.

It's been weird going across the country and finding that some people you'd think would be for Obama – who would benefit from being for Obama – are stuck in a rut, believing all the same old lies and sticking with the Republicans through and through. You see it on TV and you read about it, but it's a whole other experience to sit and talk with people like that – people who can't or won't explain their views, but just know they hate Obama. So much of this country is way behind the curve, period. And I know I'm preaching to the choir, and this is maybe not even worth writing about, but here it is.

As we were leaving, Pete Davies walked by and we thanked him again for the artwork. He said it was an outlet, a way for him to put the weird things in his head down on paper. When I told him he was probably the sanest person I had talked to all night, he leaned in close, looked around the room cautiously, and quietly replied, "I'm a skitzophrenic." It was a strange night.


JMW said...

That's pretty great for five bucks.

I was jealous of this night until the political weirdness came up. It's not that I haven't spent many nights in bars with people arguing politics. But this sounds scarier than that...

Kidrobot San Francisco said...

Scary night, yikes!

I love that the most sane guy was Schizo though. And his art is amazing, especially for $5.

I have a policy, I never talk about politics, religion, or other weirdness we take for granted in the five boroughs in mixed company. Possibly from my years of growing up in the South I have learned that these things are best avoided, regardless of who your with. I just smile and nod, and try to steer the conversation to a good place.

Glad you guys made it out in one piece!