Saturday, October 05, 2013


In Which I Lose My Virginity at Denny's In Portland

Oh bless you. The ten of you who are still reading. You've been reading and hoping, just waiting for this post, haven't you?

And it's not going to be nearly as titillating as you'd like.

I guess about five years ago -- whenever the first Sock Summit was -- I decided that I'd be all brave and do the cross-border vending thingie. Being a vendor in general is hard. Doing shows, standing on concrete and dealing with people for ten hours in a row? It's utter hell. But I love it, even if I have to take ibuprofen and ice my bad knee for hours afterwards.

My friend Barb Brown from Wild Geese Fibres and I decided to do this together. My car was dead at the time, so my father picked me up and drove me out to Abbotsford at half-past-sparrowfart where I met up with Barb. We loaded my crap into her car and drove and drove and drove for fucking ever and finally got to Portland. We booked into a pretty nice place, I think it was called La Quinta or something. Anyhow, we settled in and then the next day we did setup which in itself is hellish.

The next day we vended like hell all day. It was my first time out in public after having had my major crash and burn and I had cut off all of my hair, was skinnier than hell and was seriously shaky about being out but I just did it. It was horrifying being out in public. I was so glad I did it, though. I'm known for being a bit of a pottymouth, and there was this older lady who came up to my booth. She was using a walker and was in a nice pink suit. She told me that she was a widow, and she read my blog all the time and she'd come to the show specifically hoping to meet me. I apologized for being a pottymouth and she said no, that's why she liked reading my blog; because I just sang out whatever I needed to say. It made my day. It truly made my life. I needed to hear that sort of thing, so hard.

By the end of the day we were both completely punchy. Most vendors, unless they are sane, work their booths alone and are lucky if they get time for a bathroom break. We don't usually eat much. We need keepers. Alas, keepers cost money and these things don't usually make us enough money to hire a keeper, so unless we remember to bring a granola bar or two, we end the day in total exhaustion. We went back to the hotel room and I said ok, I'm in Portland and my favourite brewery in the world is here. I adore Widmer's and I refuse to leave Portland without getting some Hefewiezen. So we linked arms and marched down the street singing. Yes, singing. I was singing "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK, I drink all night and I knit all day. I put on ladies clothing, suspenders and a bra, and then put on mittens, made out of alpaCAH!"

It was sort of mad. People gave us a wide berth.

We finally got back to the hotel, with the beer, and we realized that we had to eat or die, so we went to Denny's. We were reading the menu, which isn't like the Denny's here. Everything had the option to have grits on the side. Being Canadian, we had never had grits. We asked the server what grits were like and how one ate them, and the server said "I will bring you a sample". So we got a bowl of grits. We tried it with salt and it was DISGUSTING. And then we tried it with pepper and it was DISGUSTING. And then we tried it with butter. Still DISGUSTING. Then I think we tried it with cheese and likely with honey and jam and ketchup and who knows what the hell. It was all disgusting. But before we knew it we'd eaten the entire thing. We likely would have eaten the tablecloth at that point, had there been one. Fortunately our food that we had ordered showed up at about that point.

Barb said "what a nice young man." I said "what young man?" She said "our waiter, he's lovely, he looks a lot like my nephew." I said "Um. Our waiter has breasts and he is named Beth, according to his name tag." She was sort of gobsmacked.

And then there was much hilarity and eating of food.

When we went back to our hotel we went out to have a smoke and the nice young couple from Ontario who had come all that way with their yarn (and I wish I could remember the name of their company because their stuff is good and I'd like to link them but I'll do it later) were sitting by the pool. I announced to them that I had just lost my grits virginity. The husband of that duo said "but there are so many to lose, there will be more" and I said that no. That was my one last one to lose, and I had been saving it for a special occasion. I was just sorry it had been so awful, and that it had been at Denny's.

There. And now you know.

See, grits are not meant to be eaten alone, no matter what condiments you top them with. You should eat them steaming hot on a plate with fried eggs and ham, and mix 'em all together. Then, they are lovely. I mean it. A little cheese is nice, too.
What a great memory you have! I have forgotten most of my Sock Summit details.

Thanks for the story.
Thanks! I've been waiting to hear for a long time! :) I live in northern Ohio and never had grits until I was in my thirties. Then someone had to tell me they were made out of corn. Well, if you know what they're made out of they aren't too terrible. I'm still dying to try potene. Poteine? Whatever you guys call fries with gravy.

PS. Thanks for coming back!

Beth in Ohio
It's odd that they had grits with everything because we are not a grits eating place. Chances are they came out of a box so aren't the grits that Southern Americans are used to eating. I'm assuming that. I don't like them either but I've never had real grits.

Now give me a really decent corned beef hash and I'm yours forever.
There are worse things to eat ... have you had Lutefisk? lol
Ohhhh thank you! Have been waiting for ages to hear this! Grits huh? I would have never guessed.
I a sorry to have missed your singing. Not sorry to have missed the grits.

Thanks still for all the fond memories from that Sock Summit.
I didn't know we had grits on our Denny's menus (I live in Portland), I've only had grits in the South.

Maybe we do them wrong here?

I think we have salmon with everything. Salmon and beer or coffee. I'm pretty sure we do those well.
Grits in the Pacific Northwest? That's just weird. I'm not sure Denny's in the Northeast would have grits. And I'm not going to go in search of a Denny's to find out.

They were probably instant grits, which I have been told are an abomination.
I am still a grits-virgin, and likely to remain so all my days. If they're made of corn then DEFINITELY. During my last pregnancy my eyes were opened to the horror that is corn, and it and all its products must die in a fire. Or in the compost, or whatever. Imma not eat 'em.
Grits? Yuk. Yukko. Ugh. I think you have to grow up in the South to actually like them. Normal human beings have the same reaction as you.

Love your version of the Lumberjack Song -- I'll have to sing it to the rest of Monty Python-loving family!
Any time you want to come sing in the Seattle-area, let me know. We'll serenade and promenade.

Glad you're back.

And Abbotsford? LOVE Abbotsford. Especially Birkeland Bros. wool.
Hey, bunny, nice to see you're back. I was thinking about you last weekend, about the year you dyed your hair red for your birthday. Had a birthday last weekend that left me contemplating drastic measures. Was seriously considering Asian blonde for a few minutes. Chose something less immediate but even scarier than hair dye.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?