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No room for whom?

Post by News Tribune Staff on Dec. 27, 2006 at 8:47 am | No Comments »
December 27, 2006 8:47 am

Father Seamus’ Christmas Eve homily asked St. Patrick’s parishioners if they had room in their lives for an outsider.

After Mass, I partook of a holiday tradition of a different sort: a pint at a pub with someone I love. As my wife and I sat in Doyle’s Public House toasting everything and each other over Grimbergen and McCallum, I pondered the priest’s question:

“What does it mean — ‘No room at the inn’?”

A reader here at Ed’s Diner has a beef with Doyle’s. Fair enough. I encourage thoughtful dissent. Rivitman says he and his friends get the vibe from Doyle’s that tells him they’re not Doyle’s kind of people.

I don’t know all the kinds of people who patronize Doyle’s, but some of the wild-haired guys there Christmas Eve were the kind of guys prone to dishing about a chef in town who allegedly looks like adult cinema icon Ron Jeremy. There was a 30ish couple near the window; I didn’t get a good look at him but she was adorable in her red paige-boy-flip-hair-do-thingie. Another couple, totally gray but forever young, left as we came in.

There was a lot of room in Doyle’s on that slow night. I’d just left church. My winter warmer was coming on. I thought about Rivitman. I thought about Father Seamus’ homily.

“What does it mean — ‘No room at the inn’?”

I love outsiders. We’re here for a reason. I know how Rivitman feels. I can’t say I’ve ever gotten the bum’s rush from Doyle’s, but I endure looks and attitudes elsewhere around Tacoma. The stares I got from the customers in a Lakewood bakery could have stopped a Panzer division cold. One Seattle publican with business in Tacoma looked at me so long I questioned my own motives: Was I there to eat his stew or rob the joint?

I’ve got mud on my boots and dog hair on my collar. My companions and my Carhartt’s aren’t always clean. I look pretty good dolled up and shaven. I got better table manners than my WASPy wife. Guess when my money spends better: while wearing work pants or the Italian duds hiding in my closet?

On a previous visit to Doyle’s, I got panhandled on the corner. I lied to the guy: “Sorry, man — no spare change.” I stepped into Doyle’s and my pockets went ring-jing-a-lingle. The guy had asked nice enough, but I stopped giving to panhandlers about a year ago when I gave a guy an extra order of teriyaki and he cursed at me for not giving him money for a soda.

Was I right to judge that guy’s action upon all panhandlers? Of course not. Nor do I think it’s right to give someone attitude and then take their money.

I’m not taking sides or pointing pints in Rivitman vs. Doyle’s. Father Seamus was talking about Jesus Christ, not some blue-collar barflies. But if I run into Rivitman and his friends, I wouldn’t mind buying them a round. I’m the guy at Pacific Grill drinking boilermakers in muddy boots.

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