Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hot Basil

I've said it before, there is no good Chinese food in Oregon. However, there is a tantalizing bevy of Thai food, and a not-insubstantial assortment of Vietnamese.

On Friday, it was, that the missus gave up on the dinner decision process. I had Thai in mind myself, and called in an order to the dingy dive two exits down the freeway. i placed the order, grabbed my keys and headed for Albertson's.

The nice lady on the phone had given me 15 minutes, and there were a few necessities that I needed to acquire along the way: Beer, for instance, and Milk.

Once in line at the grocery store, I discovered that I was standing in line behind an enigma. Or, perhaps, it was a riddle. Regardless, it was a woman, and she was facing away form me. That placed me facing toward her back, and I began to make certain subconscious calculations.

I pegged her for 45, the way her neck and arm flesh was just coming loose. I figured she was a mom, probably of three, by the wear and tear revealed under her unfortunately tight-fitting flower-print blouse and sagging leans. She was with a young man who looked artificially aged by chemicals, experience or both. He was skinny, but not in any athletic way. Perhaps he was a 25 year old who looked 38. Maybe he was a youthful 35, with whom life had finally caught up.

It was hard to recon his relationship to the woman. He was too old to be her son, and too young to be her love partner. Too old, that is, until she turned around. She had the smooth and perky face of a 20 year old.

I was confused.

I stared. I admit it. I knew it was rude, but I was perplexed. apparently the Man-boy saw me staring, and felt like he needed to take action. He then slid his hand deliberately, and in plain view to me alone, across her shoulders, down her back and down to her flabby ass, where he made a flourishy swirling motion with his hand, like a magician, and firmly squeezed.

Got it. Message taken.

The left. I paid. I went out to my car.

The restaurant was not far. Four minutes, max, down the highway. My dinner was waiting for me, tucked away in the drab little corner of the bleak little strip mall. Tucked nicely between the Dollar Store and the Farm Store, Thai Express looks like it used to be a donut shop.

Once inside, though, I was whisked away to Bangkok by the smells of curry, lemon grass and garlic. What really hit me, though, was the basil. Fresh, happy basil, floating lightly along with the steam and vapors from the open kitchen.

I was hungry.

The food was waiting and I needed only to pay. The nice lady from the phone met me at the counter and handed me the check. As we swapped paper and plastic, I noticed a familiar glint from her left hand. As this was a mom and pop outfit, I wasn't surprised that she was the wedded mom to the pop in the kitchen. What did surprise me was the source of the glint.

Sure it was a ring, but this fresh-from-the boat Thai immigrant was wearing a genuine Irish Claddagh on the left ring finger, with the heart pointed appropriately toward her body. She wore the ring with purpose. It was not a haphazard fashion choice.

But... but... She was Thai, and I appeared to be the only person in the building that even remotely resembled being Irish.

Somehow it made me happy. I didn't ask her about it, but maybe next time I will.

Anyway, I grabbed my goods, and went back to my car. Then, as I sat there, fiddling with knobs and dials, I looked up through the windshield and saw, with some surprise, the same couple that had been at Albertsons 15 minutes earlier, walking out of the dollar store together.

It was too much to ponder, but I knew, it had to make its way to the Lounge.


  1. Meth ages people in a hurry. If you included the couple's grocery list, we might be able to confirm the drug use.

    Nex time bring your camera and take your subjects picture. That should really freak them out.

  2. Perhaps she was a fresh from the Irish boat immigrant

  3. Too funny! I like how Meth guy swirled his hand about on his "lady's" bottom so you'd know what's what! That's cool about the claddagh ring, too! Now I want Thai food for dinner. Maybe I'll make my fake pad thai for dinner (ie rice noodles, fish sauce, and whatever vegetables and meat I have on hand). Not as good as the real thing, though!

  4. I had Thai food last night at Keo's. It is at Kalakawa and Kuhio here in Waikiki.

    Some of the best Thai I have had anywhere.


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