Maybe this is going to make me sound insane, but I have noticed that in Portland there are these sort of paint-by-number friend groups. You see the same friend groups with the same type of people occupying the same roles, and on and on. I know this exists everywhere, but Portland isn’t very big and there aren’t a whole lot of personality types here, so it’s easier to spot this stuff.

Sometimes I wonder how they found each other in the first place. At times it feels as though someone opened up the level editor in The Sims and clicked and dragged these fully-formed friend groups onto street corners and into booths at bars and pizza places.

Anyway: There is a Friend Group Role that I notice a lot and am frequently annoyed by, and that is The Girlfriendless Bearded Guy Who Talks Too Loudly. Man, every friend group here has one of these guys. Often you’ll see two couples and then this guy is dead center and he definitely came alone. And he’s usually wearing those clear-framed glasses and a beanie or a baseball cap and he’s basically screaming at the top of his lungs about his favorite beer or like, oh god, explaining an entire episode of a TV show he watched.

When I first moved here I had the misfortune of sitting by a friend group who had one of these guys, and my brain would not obey my orders to stop listening to their conversation. My brain had my ears zero-in on a one-sided discussion this friend group was having in which The Girlfriendless Bearded Guy Who Talks Too Loudly was explaining to them what post-modern literature was.

Oh, God!!!! the end