So once in a great while I like to head out of Chicago and share my greatness among the little people far and wide. After all, the gifts such as those I possess shouldn’t be contained within such a small area, n’est-ce pas? (that’s French for “Tasha, are you on crack again?”)
Thus, over Labor Day weekend, I decided to head out to grace the city of Portland, Oregon with my presence – to visit beloved CancerChick friend Kim, who lives there, and meet up with equally beloved CC Melinda, who was flying in from Ohio. In a fortuitous turn of events, I managed to get the very last ticket to Portland on United using my miles. Hmm, interesting. I mean really – they try to scare you on the website with the “there is ONE ticket remaining, buy now or you’re screwed!” thing – but in this case, it was true.
So off I went, whee! Kim came to pick up me and Melinda at the airport, and we head out to the parking garage, where I got the first indication that Portland exists in some weird time-space warp that is so unlike Chicago as to be scary. Or rather, it just confirmed how absolutely fucked up Chicago is.
Because we get to the garage-ticket-paying thing, and I pull out my wallet, ready to be the polite guest and pay for the stuff that our wonderful host wouldn’t incur if we hadn’t foisted ourselves on her. I figured it would be what, $26, maybe $28? You know, like in Chicago. And Kim had surely been there almost an hour.
We patiently wait for the machine to tell us the total owed.
$2. Yes, $2.
I promptly put away my wallet. “Hell, you can pay that!” I cheerfully say to Kim. I am nothing if not the most considerate of guests.
We then proceed to have one of the most amazing weekend ever, truly. I never laugh so much as when I’m with my CancerChicks. Katie joined us on Friday, and then Debbie came down from Seattle on Saturday, all of which led to us having the most amazing and brilliant conversations, replete with astonishingly wonderful ideas, like this one.
Me: Hey, we could totally do a doggy food truck here! Think about it, people would love it, especially since this is already food truck central! And we could have special things based around Kona and Lucy and Daisy.
Kim: Yeah, like….
Me, interrupting: I have it! Kurmudgeonly Kona’s Kookies! Because everyone knows me as Miss Curmudgeonly, so it would all blend seamlessly, and….what?
I noticed that Melinda is looking at me with that long-suffering “Tasha you’re insane” look on her face.
Thank god I have my friends to save me from myself.
But the truly remarkable thing happened when we went out to dinner on Saturday night. The Portobello restaurant we wanted to go to was booked, so we went to another cute place, Café Haydn or something like that, which had an outdoor seating area under a beautiful gazebo. After we ordered our drinks, I noticed that they had a lawn area to the side, with gardens in raised beds, so I got up to wander over there and take a look.
I’m walking along, noticing the nicely trellised lemon cucumbers, the lack of tomato plants (sigh), the…….wait, what? Is….is that what I think it is????
Melinda: What the heck did you find? A tomato?
Me, breathlessly: No!
I grab up the camera and run back, and lo and behold, the pattypan beauty is still there, perched on the railroad tie, like a beacon from heaven in all its glory. I swear I am not making any of this up. It’s bizarre. This lone lovely pattypan, right there at this random restaurant – when there’s not even a squash plant in sight, because I look closely.
Is it a sign? Is it one of many signs I’ve been getting, like my deciding to read the latest Outside magazine (which I never do), which names Portland as one of the top places to live? Actually, THE top one, right after Chattanooga (which, really, what the hell?)?
Would it be crazy to pack up and move to Portland in part based on a sign from a squash? Does the fact that the idea of moving from my sedate comfortable ordinary life scares me shitless mean I should just go ahead and do it? I have no idea.
We left the pattypan there, as I didn’t think it would be right to relegate it to an ordinary end, like being cut up and grilled. That seemed a bit….ignominious. Better to leave it in its exalted state, right where I found it.
Of course, no discussion about Portland would be complete without mention of Miss Lucy, Kim’s most adorable and wonderful pup. I’m happy to report that Kim runs a tight ship just as I do, ever the strict disciplinarian. Then there were the daily jaunts to Papaccino’s, the best coffee shop EVER, and the trip to Breadquarters, aka home of Prisoner Bread, and last but not least, the visit to the incredible rose garden, which wowed even me, aka someone who’s generally ambivalent about roses.
Portland – Chicago – Portland – Chicago. Hmm. I need more signs. Off to the store now to get alphabet soup – I will report back. Though I kinda feel like god or fate or whatever is out there is right now saying "Oh for chrissake, now you want words written in alphabet soup??? I gave you a fucking PATTYPAN, wasn't that enough?? You people!"
Oh, and if I do move to Portland, I need insta-friends, so please, blogosphere, send some cool people my way. M’kay, thanks.