"This next song is about. PROJECTION."
Raking her limp gray black twisted hair with her fingers, she said it slowly again.
"P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N. We need to spread the word."
Her poor partner, with his head bent down on the voila plucked away, disparately, as she intoned Don't Project On Me, Don't Project On Me, Don't Project On Me, shaking her hair and her rattle. I had to wonder why? Why?
I was crowded in pleasantly at a food cart hub on Alberta Street. Collectively around me, were a cheese cart advertising a vegan cheese specialty along with a sampling of vegan missionary chocolates, a mini porch brewery, that was booming, and Fiji's Indian Curry where I had procured my snackish of a dinner. A thirty-something couple sat across from me out to experience the first Last Thursday on Alberta Street. They were carefree not quite inner Portland weird but definitely not quite tourists either. If I had to guess they were more of the moved here, and kept their REI membership type. They were to be my distraction, while I sketched in my journal, cringing at the blatant abuse of a music education. I wanted to grab the mic, and smash it on stage. It's not that I don't agree with the singer. We should not project our emotions on others, but I just don't think that a song was the right medium, or her right medium. She brought out the death metal in me. The couple seemed to be enjoying it, or at least being polite about it. In fact, as I looked around everyone seemed to be be-bopping to it. I wondered did I order the wrong dish. Was there a special spice out there I needed to enjoy this plghem plucking pi-eta?
I hunkered into my plate, finding refuge in the salmon- which was fresh! I was surprised. So far fish in this town was not quite up to what I was used to, and so I focused on Portland's specialties- pork, pork, pork, beef, and dessert. Tonight though, with the smell of food carts, the wheeling-dealie, slippery slope of the Alberta Street Fair, and yes, the music, put me in the mood for salmon and picnic tables. Where was the butter and corn when I needed it? While the fish was fresh, and edible, the sauce was limp. I just couldn't taste it. I expected a burst of flavor to match the burst of mustards and oranges on my plate, but instead, I felt like I was dipping my salmon in water. So my wandering stomach, cheated. I went back to try to their veggie rolls. Outside the food cart, sat, a youngish man in a lawn chair, next to an upside white paint bucket. On a dry-erase board, laid to side in blue marker they advertised Last Thursday specials. Of course, this promised to be good, street food- need I say more? All the elements were there, paint bucket, hand written sign, smoke hovering in the air, and a smile that promised a special hot sauce (be careful, came the warning). Excited, I went back to my staked out refuge, refusing to make eye contact with the singer, less I encourage her to break the belting barrier sound record. The couple eyed me warily.
The roll was bland. BLAND, filled with rice noodles, a cabbage, a carrot, and yeah. Bland, so I whatevered a huge dollop of the special sauce on the tip. HOLY, god, I cringed, and almost dropped the roll. The couple raised their eyebrows. And I swear, I swear, his already pale blue polo shirt, turned a lighter shade of sky. As casually as he could, he put his arm protectively around the innocent chatter of his partner, whose not quite vegan-ism, spilled down in dark brown curls into a thin curved smile that teased at a laugh. I apologized with my hand, explaining, and pointing, and encouraging, with my mouth full. The sauce was sweet, and then wham, it took a shot gun to your tongue. OMG. I said, explaining in a torrent of expletives my diet, the paleo, the blog. They nodded adding tid-bits of conversation and genuinely tried to be interested in the conversation, but I had a feeling I just went all P-R-O-J-E-C-T-I-O-N on them. It was time to wrap up this session before the awkward became less endearing, and politely excuse myself, but not without a last gift from the singer, who had so generously offered to serenade my dinner-
"We have CD's. 10 dollars but if you don't have that, five is good, but hell, we believe in you, just take them, take them for free, it's all about peace, and love..." and thank fully the mic crackled out the rest before the world suffered one more pontificating patchouli hug of hers. I didn't want to turn around and see if anybody took them. I wanted my faith in humanity somewhat intact for the rest of the evening. Please, I pleaded in a silent prayer. I nodded to the couple, and left, aiming to get lost and in trouble in the gathering night crowd.
Dine with me!
In 2012, due to an inflammation in my intestine, I started the Paleo Diet. This means basically, no grains, no dairy, no processed sugar, a few odds and ends like no white potatoes, no popcorn, and keep the caffeine to a minimum- a 90/ 10 diet. Months later, I feel the best I have felt in years. In 2013, I am setting out to prove that, Yes, I can eat out in Portland and enjoy the life of a foodie. The rules are simple like the diet. I will eat my way from A - Z, and I must walk or use an alternative mode of transportation to get there. Join me. Stay Healthy. Eat Well.