The concrete undertow of Willamette Street curls in Friendly Neighborhood residents to Turtles Bar and Grill. A simple “Seat Yourself,” sign awaits the entrance. Rhythms of chattering teeth and ambient humming throats bless the ring of tables. The audio ensemble completes itself with the safe beats of mainstream hip-hop, the kind that every nineteen year old who didn’t complete their secondary education, or equivalence of course, memorized then raged to at all their high school dances.
Turtles is an ecosystem of modern bar cuisine.
The waitress shimmered “Eugene” like the twinkle of her lip ring. Star tattoos press upon the top left of her sternum, right bellow her neck, hovering around her galaxy eyes.
The people, the essence, and the vibe of Friendly Neighborhood mused in harmony.
As the night moved on, time twisted into a sloth metronome of blurred bodies and lights. The smiles of the red-face drunkards at the bar seemed to rip their own cheeks into an unholy bliss; their eyes were squinting in hazy pleasure. Flailing hand movements articulated their tribal joy as they exploded together in laughter, arms shooting off in symmetry like a line of fireworks set off by the same trigger.
This culinary arena manifested a diverse group. A Latino family, lost in each others daily events, graciously ate their dinner as their large teenage son, who might as well play defensive end for South Eugene, devoured his prey, a cheeseburger.